Feeding sheep for a fiber producing
enterprise is not an easy task. Sheep have an uncanny way
of getting a lot of hay into their wool, which can cause the
shepherd hours of "picking" to get the VM (vegetable
matter) out of the wool before it is sold or processed. We
have found that a box feeder which is large enough to
accomodate a square bale of hay works well. If you add a
roof to it, the hay will stay dry in rain and snow.

There are many benefits to using this style of feeder:
1) Hay savings - the sheep eat the entire bale, with barely
any loss of hay;
2) Time savings in terms of chores - just keep the feeders
filled and depending on how many feeders to sheep and the
size of the bale, you no longer have to go out and "feed the
sheep" daily;
3) Time savings in terms of CLEAN wool - I can skirt an
entire fleece in about 10 minutes. Contrast that to working
tediously on fleeces I've bought in from other farms that are
full of VM, and can take hours to pick through - it's
amazing how clean the sheep stay using these feeders;
4) Healthier sheep - they are no longer dragging their hay on
the ground, and eating contaminated food and the hay is
truly FREE CHOICE. With full feeders, sheep can "graze"
the hay when they are hungry. The style of the feeder
mimics their natural grazing, by eating "down" and the
slower eaters can graze all day, no longer losing out to the
faster, more aggressive eaters;
5) Money savings - the sheep are consuming almost the
entire bale, instead of wasting upwards of 50% by pulling it
on the ground.

Anybody with simple carpentry tools and skills can design
and build a simple box feeder.
Addendum: While we have really liked bale box
style hay feeders, we found that horned sheep
(particularly lambs) could get their horns caught
in the small "holes" of the grates. So we had to
stop using the grates on top of the bales. This
does lead to more wasted hay, as the sheep pull
it out easier. It's not bad for polled sheep, or
older sheep with larger snouts and horns, but it
did become problematic when horns were getting