I 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.
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
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.
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