Accessible Hay Feeder From Pallets: 11-Step Simple Guide

A horse eating from a hay feeder from pallets.
Having a hay feeder can help minimize feed wastage.

If you have livestock, or if you’re considering adding them to your homestead build a hay feeder from pallets. This will be very helpful in controlling feed wastage. Ready-to-use units are being sold commercially but those are really expensive. Some will set you back $600.

Fortunately, you can make your own hay feeder for very little cost. You can DIY it for a couple of hours using wood pallets. If you have pallets at home, that’s good. If you don’t have them, you can easily get some for free. The DIY pallet hay feeder has basic building plans that are easy to follow.

Why spend $600 for a hay feeder when you can build one for almost zero cost?
Why spend $600 for a hay feeder when you can build one for almost zero cost?

Here’s a special tip though: choose your pallets carefully. Make sure you have those HT-stamped ones as they were heat treated. Stay away from pallets that have undergone Methyl Bromide fumigation because they pose health risks.

Building a Hay Feeder from Pallets


  • Pallets
  • Screws


  • Circular saw
  • Hammer
  • Electric drill


Step 1: Prepare Your Pallets

First, inspect your pallets to ensure they’re in good condition and free from chemical treatments. Look for the HT (Heat Treated) stamp, which means they’re safe for use around animals. You might need two or more pallets depending on the feeder size you want to build.

Step 2: Design Your Feeder

Decide on the dimensions of your hay feeder. A standard size could be about 4 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 3 feet high, but you can adjust this based on your needs and the number of livestock.

Step 3: Disassemble Pallets

Using the circular saw and hammer, carefully disassemble your pallets. You’ll need to remove the nails or screws that hold the pallets together to get the individual boards. Be cautious to avoid damaging the wood.

Step 4: Cut the Wood to Size

Once you have your boards, use the circular saw to cut them to the desired lengths according to your design. You’ll need pieces for the sides, bottom, and if desired, a roof for the feeder.

Step 5: Assemble the Base

Start by laying out the pieces for the base of the feeder. Use the electric drill to securely screw the boards together, ensuring the base is solid and even.

Step 6: Attach the Sides

With the base assembled, start attaching the side panels. Position them vertically around the base and secure them with screws. Ensure the sides are tightly fixed to withstand the pressure of the hay and the animals feeding from it.

Step 7: Create the Feeding Slots

For the front panel, you might want to create slots or a barrier allowing the livestock to access the hay without pulling it all out. Cut additional boards to size and space them out evenly along the front, securing them with screws.

Step 8: Secure the Back Panel

Attach the back panel in the same manner as the sides, ensuring it’s securely fastened to the base and the side panels for added stability.

Step 9: Add a Roof (Optional)

If you’re placing the feeder outdoors, consider adding a roof to protect the hay from rain. Cut additional pallet boards to size and attach them to the top of the feeder, ensuring adequate overhang on all sides.

Step 10: Finishing Touches

Inspect your hay feeder for any sharp edges or loose screws. You may want to sand down rough areas to protect your livestock from injuries. If desired, you can also paint or stain the feeder to extend its life and improve its appearance.

Step 11: Position the Feeder

Place your completed hay feeder in a convenient and accessible location for your livestock. Fill it with hay, and observe how your animals interact with it, making any necessary adjustments.

Benefits of Hay Feeder from Pallets

Using a hay feeder from pallets offers a range of benefits for livestock owners looking for an efficient, cost-effective feeding solution. This approach minimizes waste and promotes a more sustainable and eco-friendly farming practice. Here are the key advantages of opting for a hay feeder from pallets.

Cost Savings

The cost savings associated with constructing a hay feeder from pallets cannot be overstated. The financial burden of purchasing commercial feeders can quickly accumulate for livestock owners, often reaching hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for high-quality, durable options. 

In contrast, pallets, the foundational material for this DIY hay feeder, can often be acquired at little to no cost. Many businesses are willing to give away used pallets for free, as disposing of them otherwise can be a hassle and an expense they prefer to avoid.

This repurposing of pallets into a hay feeder not only diverts waste from landfills but also translates into substantial cost savings for the farmer. The only expenses incurred in this project might come from additional supplies such as screws, nails, or protective finishes for the wood. However, these costs are minimal compared to the price of a new feeder.

Moreover, the DIY aspect of building a hay feeder from pallets allows for a custom fit to specific needs without the premium cost. Whether it’s adjusting the size to accommodate more animals or modifying the design to fit a particular space, the flexibility offered by a self-made feeder is a cost-effective advantage. This approach not only ensures that livestock owners can provide for their animals efficiently but also fosters a more sustainable and economically viable farming operation.

In essence, the decision to build a hay feeder from pallets is a financially savvy choice that benefits both the environment and the farmer’s bottom line, making it an appealing option for those in the agricultural community.

Minimized Hay Waste

Minimizing hay waste is a crucial concern for livestock owners, and a hay feeder from pallets addresses this issue effectively. Hay is a primary component of livestock nutrition, and its wastage can lead to increased feeding costs and potentially impact the health and well-being of the animals. A feeder constructed from pallets is designed to keep hay contained and off the ground, directly contributing to reducing waste in several ways.

Firstly, when hay is left on the ground without containment, it’s vulnerable to being soiled by animals. Livestock may step on it, urinate, or defecate on it, making the hay unpalatable and leading to significant waste. A hay feeder from pallets elevates the feed, keeping it clean and ensuring that a higher percentage of the provided hay is consumed.

Secondly, hay that is not protected can be easily trampled. Animals, in their enthusiasm to feed, may walk over portions of the hay, compressing it into the ground where it becomes less accessible and often ignored in favor of more easily reachable feed. 

This behavior can result in a considerable amount of hay wasted each feeding cycle. Using a pallet hay feeder, the hay is contained and presented in a manner that discourages trampling, ensuring more of it goes towards nourishment.

Lastly, outdoor feeding areas are often subject to the whims of the weather. Wind can scatter hay, while rain can spoil it, making it unfit for consumption. By employing a hay feeder from pallets, the hay is shielded from these elements to a degree, especially if the feeder is designed with a cover or placed in a sheltered area. This protection helps to ensure that the feed remains fresh, clean, and appealing to the livestock, regardless of weather conditions.

Environmental Benefits

The environmental benefits of constructing a hay feeder from pallets are significant and contribute positively to the broader goal of sustainable farming. In an era where environmental consciousness is paramount, repurposing materials not only makes sense from a financial perspective but also from an ecological standpoint. Here’s how building a hay feeder from pallets plays a role in environmental sustainability.

Every hay feeder built from repurposed pallets means a decreased demand for new raw materials. The production of new wood products involves logging, which can lead to deforestation, habitat destruction, and increased carbon emissions from the machinery used in the logging and transportation processes. By using pallets that would otherwise be discarded, you directly contribute to reducing these environmental impacts.

Wood pallets are a common by-product of many industries and can often end up in landfills if not repurposed. By transforming these pallets into hay feeders, you’re diverting waste from landfills, a significant source of methane—a potent greenhouse gas. Moreover, reducing landfill waste helps conserve land and reduces the pollution associated with waste decomposition.

Building a hay feeder from pallets is a practical example of sustainable practices in action. It demonstrates how resources can be efficiently used and reused, setting a positive example for the community. This can inspire others to adopt similar sustainable practices in farming or other aspects of daily life.

Repurposing pallets into hay feeders requires less energy than producing new feeding solutions. The energy used in dismantling, cutting, and assembling pallets into a new form is minimal compared to the energy consumed in harvesting, processing, and manufacturing new materials. This energy conservation further reduces the carbon footprint of maintaining livestock, aligning with goals for more energy-efficient farming operations.

By reducing the need for new wood, repurposing pallets indirectly contributes to the preservation of forests. Forests are vital ecosystems that support a wide range of biodiversity. Protecting these areas by minimizing unnecessary logging helps maintain habitat for countless species and preserves the ecological balance.

Durability and Customization

The durability and customization potential of using pallets to construct a hay feeder are among the key benefits of this DIY approach. Pallets are engineered to support substantial weight and endure the rigors of transport and storage, making them inherently suitable for repurposing into structures that require strength and longevity, such as hay feeders. 

Pallets are typically made from hardwood or a sturdy softwood that can withstand the elements and the weight of heavy loads. This inherent durability means that a hay feeder crafted from pallets is well-equipped to handle the physical demands of daily use by livestock. 

Whether subjected to the weight of the hay, the force exerted by animals feeding, or the outdoor elements, a pallet-built hay feeder can remain functional and reliable for years. This resilience ensures that livestock owners can rely on their DIY feeders just as much as, if not more than, commercial options.

One of the most appealing aspects of constructing a hay feeder from pallets is the ability to tailor the design to precisely fit the unique requirements of your livestock and the specific configurations of your farm or barn. Unlike one-size-fits-all commercial feeders, a DIY pallet feeder can be customized in size, height, and capacity. 

For example, if you have smaller animals, you can design the feeder to be lower to the ground for easy access. Alternatively, the feeder can be made taller and sturdier for larger livestock. This flexibility allows for a more efficient feeding process and better accommodation of your animals’ needs.

Farm space is often at a premium, and the ability to customize the size and shape of your hay feeder means you can make the most of the available area. Whether you need a compact feeder that fits neatly into a specific corner or a larger, more robust unit that serves multiple animals simultaneously, pallets can be cut and assembled to any specification. This adaptability ensures that the feeder integrates seamlessly into your farm’s layout without wasting precious space.

Beyond functional customization, building a hay feeder from pallets also opens up a world of creative design possibilities. You can paint or stain the wood to match the aesthetic of your barn or farm buildings, add decorative elements that reflect your style, or incorporate features like roofs or covers to protect the hay from the elements.

Easy to Build and Maintain

Creating a hay feeder from pallets is renowned for its accessibility and ease, making it an appealing project for individuals at various skill levels. This simplicity is a significant advantage, ensuring that building and maintaining such a feeder does not become a cumbersome task.

Assembling a hay feeder from pallets is straightforward, primarily because the materials required are minimal and the tools needed are commonly found in most household toolboxes. With just a circular saw, hammer, electric drill, and a few other basic tools, you can transform pallets into a functional hay feeder. 

The design of the feeder can be as simple or complex as you choose, but even the most basic designs provide the necessary functionality to feed livestock efficiently. This ease of construction encourages more farmers and livestock owners to undertake this project, offering a practical solution to feeding needs without requiring specialized skills or equipment.

Once constructed, a hay feeder from pallets requires minimal maintenance. The durability of the pallet wood ensures that the feeder withstands the daily wear and tear of feeding livestock. 

However, should any part of the feeder become worn or damaged, the simplicity of its design allows for easy repairs. Individual boards can be quickly replaced using the same basic tools used in the feeder’s construction, and any loose nails or screws can be tightened or replaced as needed. This ease of maintenance ensures that the feeder remains in good working condition for years, providing a reliable feeding solution.

The design of a hay feeder from pallets is inherently flexible, allowing for adjustments and modifications to be made easily. Whether adapting the feeder to accommodate more animals, adjusting its height for different livestock sizes, or adding features like a roof or sides to protect the hay from the weather, modifications can be made with minimal effort. 

This adaptability not only extends the life of the feeder but also enhances its functionality, making it a versatile tool in livestock feeding management.

In addition to being easy to build and maintain, creating a hay feeder from pallets also offers environmental benefits. Repurposing pallets for a hay feeder reduces waste and the demand for new raw materials, aligning with sustainable farming practices. This aspect further adds to the appeal of constructing a hay feeder from pallets, as it supports a more eco-friendly approach to farm management.

A hay feeder from pallets offers livestock owners a practical and sustainable solution. It embodies cost-effectiveness, environmental responsibility, and functionality, making it an ideal choice for improving livestock feeding practices.

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FAQ on Building a Hay Feeder from Pallets

Is it safe to use any pallet to build a hay feeder?

Not all pallets are safe for use in projects like hay feeders. Look for pallets marked with “HT,” which means they have been heat-treated, not chemically treated. Avoid pallets marked with “MB,” indicating they have been treated with Methyl Bromide, a harmful chemical.

How many pallets do I need to build a hay feeder?

The number of pallets required depends on the size of the hay feeder you plan to build. Typically, 2-4 pallets are sufficient for a standard-sized feeder.

Can I build a hay feeder without power tools?

While power tools like a circular saw and an electric drill make the job easier and faster, you can use hand tools. However, it will require more time and physical effort.

How long does it take to build a hay feeder from pallets?

The time it takes can vary based on your skill level and the complexity of the design. Generally, you can build a simple hay feeder in a few hours.

Do I need any special skills to build a hay feeder from pallets?

No special skills are required, but basic woodworking knowledge and familiarity with the tools you’ll be using are helpful. The project is suitable for DIY beginners and experts alike.

How do I make my hay feeder last longer?

Protecting the wood with a suitable outdoor paint or stain can help extend the life of your hay feeder. Additionally, placing the feeder under a shelter or roof can protect it from the elements.

Can I customize the size of my hay feeder?

Absolutely! One of the benefits of building your own hay feeder from pallets is the ability to customize its size and design to fit your specific needs and space requirements.

What should I do if my pallet wood is rough or splintery?

Sanding the wood before assembly can smooth out rough edges and reduce the risk of splinters for both you and your livestock. It’s a good idea to sand all surfaces that will come into contact with the animals.

Is it necessary to add a roof to the hay feeder?

Adding a roof is optional and depends on where you plan to place the hay feeder from pallets. A roof can protect the hay from rain and snow, making it a good idea for outdoor feeders.


Constructing a hay feeder from pallets is an economical and environmentally friendly project and a practical solution for any livestock owner looking to reduce feed wastage and ensure their animals have constant access to clean hay. This DIY project is accessible to anyone with basic tools and materials, and it offers the flexibility to customize the feeder to your specific needs and preferences.

Still looking for green ways to feed your livestock? Check out our livestock fodder growing system project!



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