The Horse Drawn Hay Tedder

By Fred Graham

The hay tedder itself can be an essential part of the hay arsenal.  When hay is gone over with a tedder, it will cure very quickly after the hay is freshly cut. The wheels, frame and forks are made of high grade steel and would last a lifetime.

The fork shaft is operated by a chain which runs over a sprocket keyed to the main axle, so the drive is positive.  Each fork is equipped with a spring mechanism in case they hit an obstruction like roots or rocks etc., and this would minimize breakage.  By having the drive system in the centre of the frame rather than the wheels, it would keep hay from getting tangled in the gears’ mechanism.

The height of the forks can be controlled by a lever within easy reach of the driver, and the seat can be adjusted and secured at different heights to suit tall or short operators.

The hay tedder has been around since the mid-1800s.  A write-up beside an illustration appears in the Sears Roebuck & Co. catalogue of 1897. It is priced at $21, which was quite expensive in its day. I obtained an eight-fork Tedder locally and spent the winter of 2016 disassembling  it, removing the rust, welding some broken pieces, and priming and painting it. The results were better than I expected, considering the poor condition it was in initially.  It is displayed on our two-acre property all summer, along with other implements and some restored tractors.

The manufacturer of my hay tedder is unknown, as it doesn’t appear to have any names, symbols or numbers on the machine parts. It was very enjoyable restoring it and I can’t wait to start on another next implement, perhaps a 3-bottom disk plow which I am hoping to find.





Information obtained from:
1. American Farm Implements,  C.H. Wendel
2. Sears Roebuck & Co.
3. Sky Horse Publishing Inc., New York
4. Cockshutt Implements, Catalogue 1912,  Brantford, Ontario

Where did the name “tedder” come from?
It comes from the word “ted” which is a verb used to describe the turning over and spreading out of straw, grass or hay so that it will dry.

Fred Graham’s beautifully restored Horse-Drawn Hay Tedder is displayed with other antique implements and tractors  on his property in Trent Hills, Northumberland County

7 Replies to “The Horse Drawn Hay Tedder”

  1. Bill Powers says:

    I just bought a tedder very much like the one pictured. I have converted it to be pulled by a small tractor. I am having trouble getting it to work. It doesn’t appear to smoothly contact the ground. As a result, it doesn’t kick the hay up into the air. I’ve tried bending the tines, adjusting the various heights of the draw bar and the adjusting lever. All to no avail. I wish I could see close up one in action.

  2. philip Bellois says:

    Love the info, We had a hay-tedder olwas thought it was a hay kicker. Now it all comes together thank you. I will be getting the old teeder in the spring to restore and to put with my john deere model L 1941.

  3. Aileen D Scott says:

    I would like to know how much these hay kickers cost to buy unrestored?

    1. Peter Rukstela says:

      I have one in working condition; could use a nice paint job. $150. 00 and you take it away.

      1. Chris Kendall says:

        I’m looking for a hay tedder. Do you still have yours for sale or know who might have one for sale?
        C. Kendall

  4. Carole McCarthy says:

    Hi – we have an old horse drawn hay kicker from my grandfather. It is about 1940s. It is all rusted and frozen in place. We would like to get it going again, however don’t know how to start. How to free it up from the rust? How does it operate?? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Carole PS we are in upstate NY

  5. My name is Ted and I always thought it was called a hey tether not a Tedder and now I know why it is called what it is. I couldn’t find it the answer from any Farmers around.
    I didn’t know how to reply directly with the gentleman who’s having trouble with the rakes touching the ground I’m thinking smaller Wheels. If he hasn’t already tried that. I don’t know if it currently has spoke wheels which could be put back on chances are there still and you would be able to replicate a wheel of a more modern fashion to work. And then you could return it back to its original shape to store it or show it.

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