How do you move round bales of hay when don’t own a tractor?
Easy… make a pallet sled!
First I selected a sturdy pine pallet and then found some lengths of 100mm (4″) poly pipe I had lying around. If you don’t have that size pipe you could try using some of a smaller diameter but the bigger the better.
I cut the pipe so it would be level with the back of the pallet (needs to stand on end for tipping the bales on), and with the other ends extending 3-500mm out from the front.
With the side of the pallet that has the larger gaps facing up, I screwed the poly pipe to the underside which had the boards closer together. This method allowed easier access for the drill between the boards. I used approximately 5 x 60mm wood screws for each pipe, screwing through the pallet boards and one side of the poly pipe while leaving the underside of the pipe smooth so it slides without catching.
After that, I turned the sled over and with it held off the ground by saw horses, I had help to apply a gas flame to the pipe, about half way along the extended ends, while I held a stick inside the pipe to bend it with. When the pipe got hot enough all around, I was able to bend it upwards so the sled runners would not dig into the ground. I then cooled the hot pipe with cold water so it set in shape.
Next I fastened a rope around two points on the front of the pallet, and made it a good length to form a knot and a triangle for towing (about 2m from the vehicle).
To tip the round bale onto the sled,I put a long rope around the bale about half way down the flat side, and drove forward slowly. It helps to have someone to hold the sled up or you can poke a spike in the bale and put the sled’s tow rope around that to hold it up.
Sometimes the bale lands towards the back of the sled but with a bit of rocking it can be moved far enough forward to be balanced.
Then you are all set to tow your round bale out to where it needs to be fed. I use my 4WD and go very slowly in low range first gear so the bale doesn’t tip over on uneven or sloping ground.
I leave the bale on the sled so I can secure a Haysaver net over it to stop my horses spreading and wasting the hay. It also keeps the hay off wet ground until the horses eat out one side and it falls over!
I’ve been using two sleds for a couple of months now and they have worked so well for such a quick and cheap thing to build. In fact it cost me nothing as the pallets were free, I found the rope on the beach, and got the poly pipe from the recycling dump!
Of course you could also use the pallet sled for moving any other heavy items that will fit on it. Happy constructing.