The base is actually a wooden sled with runners made of treated 2x6. Everything else is rough-cut hemlock.
If you just wanted a small work sled to pull behind a horse or lawn tractor you could stop right here. (Note Tessa in the background, She and Emma got to hang out on the lawn this afternoon, much to their delight and Tanner's consternation. He spent the whole time repeatedly trying to get my attention to tell me that the horse's weren't where they belonged.)
We decided to leave one inch spaces between the boards of the sidewalls to allow for airflow. We also left a 1\4" gap between all the boards on the bottom to allow rain to drain out.
Since all special treats need to be enjoyed in moderation, the girls eventually had to leave the Spring grass. And since their version of helpfulness also needs moderation, it was incarceration time for them. (Note relaxed, happy Border Collie)
I wonder what sort of bribes might be required to get past the inspectors this time. Emma is going to be a particularly tough sell, there is nothing she hates more than being locked up. Makes her soooo mad...
The key ingredient....
I left the ends of the side posts high in case we need to come back later and add something to keep the horses from pulling the lid out. It has some heft to it and not much for a horse to get a hold of so we decided to try it as is for now. If it works, I'll go back and cut the ends flush with the top of the feeder.
We had a hard time finding the right grate for the top and finally settled on this welded wire fencing with 1x2" squares. Product testing will show whether or not it will work well. We used my favorite star-drive screws so the lid will be easy to take apart and replace the grating if necessary.
Ready for inspection...Hopefully Riding Buddy's inspectors won't be too hard to buy off.
The total cost of materials was about $40-50 and the whole thing can be dragged around by brute force or pulled with a sub-compact tractor, maybe even a large lawn tractor. The total dimensions are 2'x4' and 27 inches high, which is a good size for average horses. For minis, goats or sheep, the sidewalls could be made shorter. This design has the added benefit that when not being used to feed hay, it could easily be used as a work sled to haul stuff around your farm, either with real horsepower or the mechanical type. With only a very minor adaptation, the side walls could be made detachable so the whole thing could revert to being a flat sled if needed. Versatility is a great thing.
This was an easy and fun project and would be a great place to start if anyone is interested in tackling an easy, useful, carpentry project.
NOTE: we did this project on Sat. afternoon and I wrote this post that evening. Later, I got an email from Riding Buddy letting me know that the squares on the grate are too small and did not pass inspection. We are going to try some vinyl lattice with larger openings and more flexibility. We had our doubts about the welded wire, but thought it was worth a try. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I'll post a picture of the new, improved lid once we find the right material. Any suggestions are welcome.