Sand colic is a serious condition that can lead to a horse's death. The condition arises when a horse consumes sand. To help prevent sand colic as well as prevent food waste, feed your horses in a trough that keeps hay or grain off the ground. A long-lasting homemade trough feeder will help keep nonfood substances out of your horse's system.
Place a plastic 55-gallon drum, on its side, on a workbench or other flat surface. Measure inward 5 inches from the barrel's top and bottom with a measuring tape and mark the spots with a permanent marker. Stretch the measuring tape up from each mark, perpendicular to the barrel's length along the curve of the barrel, about 20 inches. Mark each spot. Connect the four marks with a permanent marker to form a rectangle.
Cut along the marker lines with a jigsaw to cut out the opening. Remove the cut piece and sand along all four edges with 150-grit sandpaper to remove any loose plastic and soften the edges.
Drill holes in the side of the barrel opposite the opening, using a drill with a 1/4-inch bit. Stagger the holes in two rows about 6 inches apart. This forms drainage holes for rain to evacuate the feeder.
Drill two holes on each side of the feeder's curved backside, one above the other, near the top on each side of the feeder opposite the opening. Space the holes about 1 inch farther apart than the posts on which you intend to attach the feeder.
Squirt a few tablespoons of mild dish soap into the opening of the barrel. Turn a garden hose on and spray water inside the barrel. Wash the inside of the barrel with a washcloth and rinse it well with water. Pour the excess water out and let the barrel dry completely.
Cut two 1-foot pieces of 16-gauge galvanized wire with wire cutters. Bend each piece in half and insert the two ends into the two holes in the rear on each side of the barrel. Pull the loose ends tightly through the feeder so they protrude at the rear.
Lift the barrel to approximately the height of your horse's chest onto a fence or stall gate. Wrap the two wire ends around each other on the horizontal fence rail on one end and twist the wire tightly with pliers. Attach the second side to the fence rail in the same manner. Cut off excess wire, grasp the wire knot with pliers and turn it inward to the rear of the barrel.
- Most feed stores carry 55-gallon plastic barrels for feed storage.
- Galvanized wire doesn't rust, making it a long-lasting material.
- Do not use plastic barrels that have previously contained toxic substances. The fluids can absorb into the plastic and be lethal to your horse.
- Check the drainage holes in the feeder bottom each time you add hay or grain to it. If the drain holes get clogged, wet feed can mold and cause severe stomach upset to your horse.
Mary Lougee has been writing for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree with a major in Management and a double minor in accounting and computer science. She loves writing about careers for busy families as well as family oriented planning, meals and activities for all ages.