I don't care whether you feed your chickens in pan-style chicken feeders, large range-tank chicken feeders, small barrel-type chicken feeders or open trough chicken feeders – at the end of the day you lose feed to the weather, wild birds and rodents. If you raise lots of birds, you will waste pounds of feed very week with unsealed chicken feeders – unless you use the new to North America, Grandpa’s Feeders chicken feeder.
The Grandpa’s Feeders chicken feeder consists of a beautifully constructed metal container with a lever-operated weather-tight lid that controls access to the feed. You might be wondering just how a lidded chicken feeder can allow your flock to feed, while keeping mice, rats, sparrows, starlings and the weather out. The magic is coiled up in the spring-loaded lid, which is opened when your chickens step up to the platform-like perch. That’s right, the weight of even one Bantam hen on the perch is sufficient to lift the feeder’s lid, which gives her access to the clean feed inside.
Because of its unique design, the Grandpa’s Feeders chicken feeders deny access to wild birds and rodents up to about 13-ounces (that’s a pretty good sized adult rat) with the smaller model and 31 ounces with the larger unit. Obviously, these feeders are not designed for use with small chicks, but they work very well with adolescent and adult birds. Because of their storage capacity, you can fill your Grandpa’s Feeders chicken feeder and forget it for more than a week (depending on how many hens you have).
When introducing the Grandpa’s Feeders to your birds, you will want to give them a bit of a training session. You can prop the lid open initially and/or sprinkle a little feed on the perch platform (step plate) and lid. You will be surprised at how quickly the birds learn the trick. Grandpa’s Feeders chicken feeders are not goat-proof or sheep-proof so if you allow your hens to range with larger grazing animals you will need to find a way to isolate the chicken feeder. Portable electric fence (conductor high enough to allow chickens to pass) or any manner of portable creep pen can be used to keep your Grandpa’s Feeders chicken feeder safe from marauding lambs and kids.
Though they aren’t cheap to buy, the Grandpa’s Feeders chicken feeders are built to last. No more UV rotted plastic or corroded metal troughs – with Grandpa’s Feeders you will save money on feeder repair and replacement and you will save money on feed. Your hens will thank you too because they won’t need to sort through the rat droppings for morsels of grain, or make due with rain-soaked moldy or fermented feed.
Grandpa’s Feeders chicken feeders have been in continuous use for nearly 15 years in New Zealand with most original feeders still in place. Grandpa’s Feeders entered the Australian market in 2007 and they’re now available in North America. I have fed my share of mice, rats and starlings over the years, using all manner of chicken feeders. All that waste is now a thing of the past.
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.