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DIY Chicken Feeder

A Wanna Be PioneerI don't know about your chickens, but ours were wasting a lot of food. We had one of those galvanized hanging feeders. It wasn't hanging, but it was up off the ground on blocks. We even had a clay pot turned upside down inside the feeder to take up some excess space and cut down on the amount of feed in there. When it rained on it, the feed was ruined. So we kept a piece of wood across the top to try and keep the entire bucket of food from getting wet.

galvanized feeder

Our chickens will not eat feed after it has been scattered on the ground. Really? They eat bugs, for heaven's sake. And mice. But, oh no, not perfectly good feed that has touched the ground. Let’s just suffice it to say, for so many reasons, that feeder wasn’t working for us.

There are lots of ideas for feeders online. We used one as a model, but quickly figured out we needed to make adjustments and modifications to suit our setup and needs. You will probably want to do that too. But maybe this will be a good starting point for you.

Here's what we did:

We used all 3-inch PVC pipe and fittings for our feeders. Each feeder cost us about $20. The parts list for one feeder, with prices from our local home improvement store, includes one of each of the following:

Cap socket, $4.15
3-inch piece of pipe (see pipe price below)
Wye connector - $5.89
2 1/2-foot piece of pipe (5-foot pipe - $11.21 – enough to make two feeders)
Threaded female adapter - $3.54
Clean out plug - $1.77

PVC bottom and wye 

threaded adapter and cleanout plug

whole feeder

new feeder in action

Starting at the bottom we put it together like this: cap socket on the 3-inch piece of pipe, wye connector to the other end of the 3-inch pipe (the cap and wye connector should pretty much butt up next to each other on that 3-inch piece of pipe), the 2 1/2-foot piece of pipe goes on top of the wye, then the slip end of the threaded female adapter on top of the pipe, and finally the clean out plug screws in to the adapter.

There's is no real need to glue the pieces. They fit pretty snugly and the contents are not under pressure. The 2 1/2-foot piece of pipe can be as long or as short as you like, depending on your needs and where you are installing the feeder.

To install the feeder, we put a 2-by-4 against the wall behind the feeder so the top wouldn’t be right up against the wall. This little bit of spacing seems to make it easier to pour the feed into the opening. Then we used metal pipe hanging strap to secure the feeders to the outside wall of our coop. We built two and put them under the “patio cover” (see it here) we recently built on the north side of the coop. Even in our record 7.93 inches of rain in one day last month, the feeders and the food stayed dry.

With this feeder, we are using pellet food instead of crumbles. We tried pellets before in the old feeder and still had the same problem. But in this feeder, pellets have worked great.

The only issue we have encountered is the "dust" from the feed will accumulate in the bottom. But these feeders are so easy to clean out. Also, sometimes the food gets just a little packed and doesn't fill the wye fully. So occasionally we just reach in there and kind of rake the feed from the pipe into the wye. No big deal. And now that we know we have cut our feed bill in half ... yes, you read that correctly, in half ... it's a small price to pay.

Until next time, worms rock, bees rule and chickens are my Zen.

Pasture Deficit Disorder – Because Life in a Pasture is the Only Cure

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6/16/2015 10:19:48 AM

Thanks for your feedback Lance. The picture of the galvanized feeder is just a picture to show an example of a galvanized feeder and how we kept a piece of siding on top to attempt to keep the rain out. It was not on the ground while in use. You are so right, I can only imagine how many more issues we would have had if we had it on the ground. And as you speculated, we don't have as many chickens as you, but we have a good sized flock and have never had issues with fighting over access and they've never run out of food with the new feeders we use. I was confounded by the fact that our chickens didn't eat spilled food...guess they're just spoiled girls. ha ha ha. And yes, the whole premise of cutting our feed bill is that now don't have the waste we used to have. This is just an example of something that worked for us and might work for others, or might not. One thing I've learned about raising animals (or kids for that matter), there is no one-size-fits-all solution for anything! :)

6/14/2015 9:41:14 AM

I don't think they have many chickens. Even with two of those,my 35 chickens would go through that pretty fast and they would fight over access. You ought to see mine at the feeding trough at times. I would argue the point that they cut they food bill in half because of reduced waste. I'm noticing that they have the same breed of chicken as I do. My chickens eat the spilled food off of the ground all of the time. Since I feed in just one spot it is easy for me to see how much waste there is. I notice basically NONE. With all of the feed that I have given them, I would have a mountain of waste under my hanging feeder. I think I do know what the problem is, though. Their feeder was sitting on the GROUND. Big mistake! The RODENTS are eating the chickens food at night is why they have so much waste. If they looked real careful around the feeder they would have seen the rodent droppings. All they did with the pipe is move the feeder up from the ground so the rodents cannot get in it. My feeder is mounted fairly high so rodents cannot even jump into.