DIY NO SPILL CHICKEN FEEDER

It’s 7 o’clock, or close to it, on a warm summer morning.  I’m still in bed, awake, but trying to fall back asleep again.   Everything is quiet and motionless, with just the faintest sounds of the neighbourhood coming to life.  A car door closing as someone gets ready to drive to work, sparrows chirping from a tree in the distance.

Just as the heaviness of sleep presses my body deeper into the bed, there is an earth shattering shriek that comes screaming out of the backyard.

Scream.

SCREAM

S  C  R  E  A  M

SCREAM

BUCKOCK!

The moment I was about to fall asleep again the stupid, screamy chickens decide to ruin my peaceful morning rest. Just my luck. Where’s a leprechaun holding a rabbit’s foot when you need one?

I’m not sure if you speak chicken or not but loosely translated that means, “Hey! Stupid!”. Chickens are quite ignorant. And pushy.

So I hop out of bed and pad down the stairs and out the back door to let the chickens out into their run for the day. My guess is they were bored and wanted to shake their tail feathers around a bit. You know. Have a little fun. Scratch at some straw, roll around in some dirt, maybe poop a little. A real party.

But when I got down to the coop I realized the chickens had no food. In their feeder. There was plenty thrown on the ground, but nothing left in their feeder.

That’s because chickens are pigs. And if you’ve ever gone charging at a pig with a bun and a butcher knife, you know they, in turn, can be chickens.

My chickens have had this problem from day one. They THROW their food everywhere. They stick their pecky little beaks into the grain and just start flinging and chucking everything out of the feeder.

I used to give them organic grain but for some reason that particular food REALLY threw them into a food throwing frenzy. So I switched back to  organic pellet chicken feed hoping it would slow down the daily food fights.

It did not. Exhibit “A”.

Chicken Feeder 6

I even put a pan under their feeder to catch a lot of what they flung. Sometimes they’d eat out of that pan, but once it hit the floor of the coop they wanted nothing to do with their food. So it was a HUGE waste. I was having to go up to the feed store twice as often as I should have.

So when a reader (I can’t remember who exactly but I DO thank her) suggested I try this homemade PVC feeder I figured I’d give it a shot. A girl needs her beauty rest and it wasn’t going to happen until this food situation was figured out.

Basically I made a long tube that gets filled with feed. That runs to another small, upward facing tube. The angle and length of the feeding tube prevents the chickens from being able to partake in the food fling.

Wanna do it too? Here’s how …

 

materials-1

 

You literally just shove the pieces together. I didn’t even glue them.

 

I keep one feeder outside the coop during the day and one inside. At night I bring the outside feeder into the coop to prevent raccoons and other critters from getting into it. One day when I’m at Home Depot, I’ll remember to buy 2 extra caps for the outside feeder. I’ll just put a cap on the top and one on the mouth of the feeder at night and leave it outside.

The caps will keep both rain and vermin out. Unless that vermin has hands and opposable thumbs. Like a leprechaun. If a leprechaun finds my feeder I’m shit outta luck.

(update: I finally found out where the original feeder for this came from … Thanks to Mike’s Instructable.  )

(Second Update:  To stop the feed from dropping down to the bottom of the feeder use this little hack I came up with last summer.  Just add a mason jar sealer in between the bottom piece and the feeding tube. For years I used a flimsy yogurt container lid because … well I have no idea why. Because I was stupid I guess, lol.)

chicken-feeder-7

 

chicken-feeder1

Just take the bottom piece of the tube off (the part that sits on the ground).

chicken-feeder-2

Find an old seal from a mason jar.

chicken-feeder-3

Put it on the top of tube.  A standard (not wide mouth) sealer fits the top of a 3″ plastic pipe PERFECTLY.

 

chicken-feeder-4

 

See?

 

chicken-feeder-5

Now just reassemble the feeder again.

chicken-feeder-6

long-pin-feeder

Ready to roll.  Or feed the chickens.  And squirrels and chipmunks and birds … and of course leprechauns.

181 Comments

  1. good going. nothing, and I mean nothing should interfere with sleep. except for Idris Elba, of course.

  2. Marti says:

    Great job! Very simple. Very doable. And less mess. The more I see your chickens, the more I want some. They seem like they’ve be fun pets and since I think all pets, plants, trees and everything else on a farm should produce, they’re exactly what I want… more and more.

    But since I don’t particularly like eggs, this leads me to think I’m basically having homicidal thoughts about Norma, Cuddles and Cheez Whiz.

  3. AnnW says:

    You are Too Funny. We missed you. Because of you, I have a Chickens! Board on Pinterest, even though I can never have chickens. Ann

  4. Karen says:

    LOL! Indeed. I love Daniel Craig but I really would LOVE to see Idris play Bond. ~ karen!

  5. Karen says:

    NO!! ~ karen

  6. Karen says:

    LOL! That’s pretty funny. ~ k

  7. cathy says:

    K—I think a raccoon might be able to remove the lid (top) from your feeder. I’ve heard they can pry open trash can lids. But I’m a city kid with no first hand knowledge so take this with a grain of feed.
    Your birds are so gorgeous!!

  8. carey says:

    So funny, I used scatter my girls’ feed on the ground so they’d be sure to get the pebbles they need for digestion. Glad the fix was cheap and easy. Always the best kind!

  9. SK Farm Girl says:

    Would this work for potato chips and humans?

  10. Karen says:

    Don’t be ridiculous. It would work with chocolate covered almonds though. ~ karen!

  11. Hazel says:

    My chickens won’t eat layers pellets off the floor either. They’ll eat the barley that the ducks spill though- I send them in to clear up.

    This looks like the perfect solution- a couple of these should reduce my feed bill a lot, thanks!

  12. Tina says:

    That’s quite clever! I wonder if something similar would work for my cat-pigs who shove the kibble out of the bowl* and refuse to eat it once it’s on the floor.

    * I’m quite sure that I would make the same mess if I had to eat with no opposable thumbs.

  13. Rondina says:

    And they line up and wait their turn. This is genius.

  14. Bonnie G. says:

    …I don’t have chickens but my day has been made anyway! Possibly it could work with husband and cereal.

  15. Natika says:

    @ cathy – Racoons definitely don’t stay out of cities, so being a city girl means nothing. You’ve just been lucky you haven’t stumbled across some. They’re bigger, badder and better at opening things in cities. I’m not convinced the caps will work, but I hope they do for Karen’s sake!

  16. Sue says:

    Awesome idea!! I’m going to put one together this weekend. I’m all about not wasting so much feed!!

  17. Shannon Floyd says:

    I am totally making this today! My chickens have recently begun to shun their spent food as well, even though treats thrown outside on the ground are totally fair game and they fight for them! Inside the coop under the feed tray-no way-they won’t do it!! Although, I am lucky that their coop is far enough from my house I can’t hear their complaints!

  18. I have to pin this! Totally going to make it for my chicken coop that is nearly done. Still have to build a roost and an outdoor pen but I will be in business for chicken daycare very soon!

  19. Kimberley says:

    GENIUS. I’m making one tomorrow. Or two. Oh my goodness, THANK YOU for sharing this.

  20. nicole says:

    love this! you never stop impressing me, karen. 🙂
    Thank you for what you do.

  21. Carolyn says:

    You are funny.. I will have to forward this one to my husband so he can make us one. well, not for us but the dumb ass chickens. lol
    what did you do to get your chickens fluffy. ours looks like skinny and lack of some feathers. Love todays blog. Thank You Karen … you always brighten my day. I wish I lived closer.

  22. Ev says:

    Kind of wondered if rain/snow would be a problem here. If the feed gets wet and ferments, etc, the girls would soon be ill. There must be a roof over your feeders. You are too wily and brilliant for this to be a problem–what was I thinking? Sorry….

  23. Karen says:

    The caps will work. 🙂 They fit on much tighter than a garbage can lid. The pieces fit together so tightly, I didn’t need glue to put the feeder together! ~ karen!

  24. Karen says:

    LOL. Such a brilliant idea. ~ karen!

  25. Karen says:

    Carolyn – I know you’re not going to believe me but … YOU can make one! All you have to do is go to the hardware store and buy a piece of 3″ plastic pipe. They’ll probably even cut it to length for you in the store. I think it’d be much more fun to have your husband come home and you have completed the job. It was be especially FUN if you arent’ particularly handy, LOL. He’d be stunned. ~ karen!

  26. Maryanne says:

    Karen, you seem to be able to “fix” everything!
    Could you come move to the US and fix our economy issues. 🙂

  27. jamie says:

    Brilliant!

  28. CBuffy says:

    Love your feeder! However I DO ferment my feed. On purpose. It’s quick, it’s EASY, they LOVE it. They used to waste SO much feed – now it looks like they licked their trough clean. (And they nearly knock me down when they see me coming with their bucket…) Oh. And it cut my feed bill by 1/3. (I have 60 chickens and feed less than my neighbor who has 100…) Get two stacking buckets (I use 5 gallon “paint buckets” – who doesn’t have a gazillion of those babies laying around?) Fill the bottom one with water and a “glug” of unpasturized apple cider vinegar. Drill some holes in the bottom and lower sides of the other bucket and stack it in the bottom bucket. The liquid should now come in the top bucket. Scoop in enough feed for one feeding. Stir. Leave it be for 24 hours (giving a quick stir when you walk by…) It should be lightly foamy looking and smell like fresh saurkraut. (yum) I have a chain above mine so I can “hang” the top bucket to let it drain. Takes about 15 minutes – long enough to get my other chores done. Then dump into a separate bucket, drop the holey bucket back in the base, add a little water and scoops of feed. You only need more ACV if you start over… After the initial ferment, it only needs to sit for 12 hours. (Of course, I live in Florida – you might need two sets of buckets and let each soak for 24 hours…) Originally I did it with one bucket and a colander, but I got more chickens and this is WAY easier.

  29. Brie says:

    They have a waterer that is made from pvc pipe as well! You don’t have to fill it nearly as often- you might as well go ahead a make one so you can have a matching set!

  30. Karen says:

    I wondered about doing a waterer! ~ k

  31. Carolyn says:

    I think I’ll give it a try.. It’s such a neat idea..
    Thank You. When ever I give them seed they are in it, or knocked the whole pan over. They stand there bitching at me for some thing else to eat. And yes !! they are spoiled. my fault, I work around food so I bring home left overs. You’d think they would be fat as a cat by now, but no … they look scruny….

  32. Karen says:

    Good! Let me know if you do it! ~ karen

  33. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Nice..that must save you a bundle of food..And never underestimate the power of Raccoons..I have stood at the door and watched them get into the garbage cans with locking lids!!

  34. Pat says:

    Practical, stylish and elegant in a chicken coopish way! You are just so darn clever. Nancy Blue Moon is right, though. Never underestimate those raccoons.

  35. Mary Werner says:

    I left my cockateel in his/her cage inside our screened in back porch on a lovely warm summer night. Racoons can find the cat door, squirm inside, OPEN the bird cage latched tight door, and make off with a much loved pet with no problem. My fault completely and after 5 years, still blame myself for Peaches untimely demise. Racoons also can eat/scratch through a tent and bring their children to sit around the table set up inside and happily dine upon MY freaking surprise birthday cake, not willing to stop until the last possible moment before we could get to them. If they were any slower I would have been able to take their picture but they move very fast and didn’t approve of “wanted dead of alive” posters.

  36. Ella says:

    My chickens are pigs too. They aren’t happy until they’re rolling around in a mess! I might build this one! That’ll make the 4th feeder I’ve tried. 4th times a charm!

  37. Susan U says:

    I really like your feeder. Your feeder is quite aesthetically pleasing. Mine is not so. This is why I read your blog. How do you keep your feed from getting wet when it rains? Wet feed is gross. I fashioned my feeder from a 35 pound cat litter bucket and a an aluminum paint tray that I hang from the roof of a miniature shed I built to protect all from the elements. I put chicken wire over the paint tray. Voila – no spilled feed, the things hold a lot of feed (like about 35 pounds), and it does not get wet.

    Also, my chickies have finally started to reward me for my months of labor and love. We have eggs. Which my son hates compared to store-bought eggs. Do you want an eight year old to fix?

  38. Ann says:

    I am going to try to do this fermentation thing. It sounds like it could be pretty healthy for the chickens. My only concern, and this comes with all my feeding, is that I can only get plain vanilla chicken/rabbit feeds at the feed store. All are now GMO according to the owner. And it would cost him 4 to 5 times more to even find small amounts of organic non-GMO feeds if they were available at all. That is just sad and it breaks my heart that we are at the mercy of large AG-business and can’t completely take control of what we and our animals can eat.

  39. Brenda says:

    You could always drill a hole through the lid/tubes and stick some sort of cotter pin through to hold the lid on. If the raccoon can take the pin out AND remove the lid, he probably deserves a snack.

  40. Patti says:

    Sorry, Maryanne – I don’t think us Canadians would let her leave!

  41. Karen says:

    Ann – At my feed store they carry a feed made in my province by Homestead Organics. No idea if they ship to the states or not. It’s close to twice the cost of regular feed, but definitely not 4-5x as much. Since chicken feed is so cheap, even twice the price is pretty inexpensive. ~ karen!

  42. Jenny says:

    I had a raccoon this year. They really, really like those big iced honey buns you can buy from the gas station. That’s how we finally caught him. Anyway, your other readers are right… don’t underestimate a raccoon. They are sneaky, wicked smart and have opposable thumbs.

  43. Ann says:

    Karen, maybe my feed issues are worse here cause we are pretty far away from the main grain growing centers in the US. Plus I think our countries laws and AG subsidies are different from those in Canada. I have searched high and low for better quality feeds and the best I could do was 3X higher in price. Plus you had to buy it in bulk, 100lb increments which would make it hard to store. And they did not do any pelletized foods for rabbits. I am not giving up tho. And meanwhile, the chickens free range as much as possible which helps cut down on how much purchased food they eat. And the rabbits eat a lot of greens that I know are chemical free.

  44. Toronto Boy says:

    Neato! I am wondering if this could be applied to a small bird cage. I own zebra finches and have been looking to solve the age old question of how to keep the bird cage and surrounding area clean. Seed shells on the ground becomes a little bit of a nuissance when you have to sweep them up daily!

  45. Karen says:

    LOL. I’m not sure why everyone thinks I’m not familiar with the devious nature of the raccoon. I am. But I also know if I can barely remove the cap from these pipes, a raccoon won’t be able to. Raccoons are crafty but not necessarily strong. ~ karen

  46. Karen says:

    I’m sure it would work great for a finch. You’d just have to use tiny pipe. Might take a few tries to get the correct size and proportions. ~ karen!

  47. Linda Morgan says:

    As a city chicken owner (2 gold sex-linked hens), Britney and Beyonce, I am enjoying your chicken blogs a lot. Mine sleep inside on top of my once beautiful and expensive china cabinet. I used to display my frog cookie jars, and the Amazon managed to chew through the top so they can admire the purple crystal. I found a broken egg up there. I get 1 lovely brown egg in their insulated dog house every day, which means I have a slacker. They are very tame, and Beyonce thinks I am her rooster. If I don’t let them in, they sleep on the other duplex tenant’s bedroom window sill. Also, they watch Katie every afternoon. They became fans when they were still in the house as ckicks.

  48. Auntiepatch says:

    Genius! Pure genius!

  49. Leonie Henham says:

    Love your posts. We here in Aus also have same issues with feeding both chickens and ducks. Bought online chook Etta and chook feeder. The feeder just Has a shaped storm cover over the opening. You may have different critters to contend with to us…. But it works the large pvc watered also works for the ducks. (who are notorious for fouling the drinking water. It has a couple of itty bitty troughs attatched with floats. Best thing we have bought. Both are supplying 7 hens and two pekin ducks for 5-6 days.

  50. Theresa says:

    Love the names of your chickens, Linda Morgan!!! LOL

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)

  • About Karen

  • About Karen

  • My Latest Videos

Pin35K
Share2K
Email
The Art of Doing Stuff