My Hay Barrels

April 7, 2019

I have been using hay barrelS for quite a few years now and every so often someone will ask me about them, like today. Which was ironic because I made a new one today and took photos while doing so. Rather than linking to my old post about making them, here is a fresh new one.

But first, some info on my hay barrels.

It keeps the hay up off the ground (no hay pee piles here) and dry. Win and win.

It fits about a bale, depending on the size of the bale and the net and how low the net is attached to the barrel.

This is an easy project that does not need to be exact. I do not measure anything and just ball park and eyeball my way along.

Some of the steps can be done in different orders. So don’t over think it. Just do it.

Ingredients:

1 barrel – I usually manage to get barrels for free randomly. But even paid for they are cheap. Check Craig’s list and the recycling center near you.

1 large hay net – I prefer a slow feed type of hay net. Small nets will not work properly because the hay will not fall into them efficiently. I also use ones that have been busted up a bit and I no longer use in my trailer. I zip tie up any minor holes.

20+ zip ties – I prefer smaller ones for the barrel/net part and thicker ones for the lid. But I have used different sizes in different sizes.

Rope – a couple yards depending on how far it needs to hang.

A snap of whatever type.

A saw

A drill

Instructions:

The first step is to cut the bottom off the barrel. Throw away the end.

Next is to mark the lid. See the photo two below for the basic design.

I have found it is way easier to drill the holes into this section before cutting it out. You will need to drill 4-6 holes along the lid side and matching holes along the barrel part.

Now cut out the lid.

Drill 16+/- holes around the barrel. You will want these about a foot from the bottom of the barrel. It does not need to be exact.

You will then drill a matching set of holes about 1-2 inches above or below the other set of holes.

The final drilling is to attach the rope. I have done this a few different ways. I’ve put in screw eyes to hook the rope to. But the easier design, which is also my preferred design is to drill one large hole on one side about 1/2 foot from the top. And then two holes on the opposite side about a half foot from the top.

Next I like to attach the net. This is done with zip ties at the bottom of the barrel. Attach one end. It helps to make it even to then attach the opposite side of the hay net opening to the opposite side of the barrel bottom. Then the two other sides. So four corners. Then fill in the others as evenly as possible. Again this is not rocket science, it doesn’t need to be perfect, just get it done.

Next attach the lid. This is done with zip ties and essentially is putting the lid part of the barrel back into its original place.

Continue by attaching the long rope to the single large hole towards the top. I pop it through and tie a knot on the inside.

On the opposite side of the barrel at the top you will attach one end of a rope the same way as above. Then, making the rope short, attach the other end the same way so you have a small loop on the outside.

Snip off the ends of the zip ties.

Drag the barrel to its destined hanging location and throw the long rope over the branch, pole, beam, rail, etc that it will be hanging from. Hoist the barrel up so that the net is a foot or so off the ground. Attach the snap to the loop and then tie the long rope to the snap, fixing it so the barrel hangs easily at the height you want it.

*You want to try and have the net off the ground when full. But also low enough that you can load hay in the lid. For me this is a close science.

*I suggest leaving a good yard or two or even three of the long rope after the snap. Although the barrel doesn’t need to come down often, on the rare occasion it does I have found I am a bit vertically challenged with getting the rope back over the branch (beam, pole, rail, etc). Just trust me.

*I recommend cleaning the barrel well, and selecting food grade barrels if possible. I also recommend hosing the barrel out after cutting it so you remove any plastic particles and dust before putting hay into it.

*When I am filling my barrels I usually push the lip up and through the hanging ropes and that holds it open for me.

Here is a photo of one of my older hay barrels already holding hay

Thank you to my awesome husband Rich for helping me.

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