DIY No Spill Chicken Feeder.

There’s a misconception that chickens attract mice and rats. Chickens don’t – but their spilled feed does.  Make a no spill chicken feeder with PVC pipe and a few connectors to reduce your risk of rats. And therefore the need to self medicate.

 

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!

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.

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”.

This is a classic chicken feeder which I love based only and entirely on the look of it.

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.

PLUS – rats.  I don’t want rats because I simply don’t have enough time in my day to devote the hours of therapy I’d need to undergo if I got them.  I didn’t have any yet but with feed around like this I was likely to attract not only rats, but mice, raccoons, skunks, deer, swans, geese, birds, and possibly lawn bowlers. I don’t know that lawn bowlers like chicken feed but I have heard they’re a bit odd.

So I made myself a homemade PVC feeder. 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 …

Making a DIY Chicken Feeder

You can make this no spill feeder in no time at all with supplies from your local hardware store. You don’t need to glue it or anything. Just put it together like Lego and within minutes you’re done.

materials-1

 

Materials

3′ of 3″ PVC pipe

1, “Y” connector

1 end cap

 

Putting it Together

  1. Cut a 26″ – 27″ length of PVC pipe.
  2. Cut the remaining pipe into a 6″ and a 3″ length
  3. Attach the long piece of pipe to one end of the “Y” connector and the 6″ length of pipe to the opposite end.
  4. Attach the 3″ piece of pipe to the portion of the “Y” connector that is sticking out at an angle.
  5. Add the cap to the very bottom of the feeder.
  6. Fill with feed.

 

How it Works

Gravity and the weight of the feed allow it to drop to the bottom of the feeder where the chickens peck at it from the opening. 

It’s big enough for them to feed from but not so big that they can whip their little heads around throwing feed everywhere.

This feeder forces the chickens to be civilized in their table manners.

If you keep your feeder outside you have to cap the top opening and the feeding tube opening so rain doesn’t get in. If it does, the feed will go mouldy.

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.

(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.)

Making it Even Better

chicken-feeder-7

Remove the bottom 6″ piece of pipe from the PVC elbow.

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.

I switched out this DIY feeder a few years ago with a treadle feeder. The chickens step on it and that opens up door to allow the chickens to feed.  That means the feed is closed off entirely unless a chicken is stepping on it.

It’s worked fantastic but something has figured out how to push itself into the flap, eat all the food and then exit. So I’ll be dragging out my original DIY feeder today hoping that whatever figured out how to outsmart the treadle feeder won’t figure out the PVC feeder.

At least not for a while. Not until I get some beauty rest.

→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←

 

DIY No Spill Chicken Feeder.

205 Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!!

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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!

      • 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.

      • Karen says:

        I have no idea what you normally pay for feed, but there’s this place. http://handhsoyfreenongmofeed.com/mail-order/ (they just left a comment on a different post, LOL) ~ karen

      • Ann says:

        Karen-

        I checked it out. Theres, with postage, is $75.00 for 50lbs. And that is their sale price, LOL. Right now I get the basic feed store stuff for $15.00 for 50lbs.

        So I guess I will keep searching. And trying more and more to grow what we need ourselves. Of course with 17 chickens and 7 guineas plus whatever rabbits we have on hand, it will take a lot to grow enough!

    • giggles says:

      Hi Buffy, I tried the fermenting with my regular chicken feed that comes in pellets and the hens wouldn’t even come near it. What is the grain you are feeding? I love the idea of the fermented food as my chicks are so darn picky and spill and the birds get their food. Please respond to me as I really want to do this. thanks. giggles

    • Evelyn Elliott says:

      Don’t know if you’re still out there but here goes. Loved the idea of fermenting chicken feed and would like to know what formula you use in the mix. Thanks ever.

      • Collette says:

        It’s pretty simple, really. But I live in Florida, so you might have to make some adjustments, especially in the winter. (Still 85 here today…) Every morning we “hang” the top bucket and drain it well(ish), feed the girls, add fresh water to the bottom bucket, put the top bucket back in allowing it to fill with water and then add the dry non-GMO grain blend we use. Cover it all with another inverted bucket (EVERYBODY loves the fermented feed from the dogs to the barn cats to mice and raccoons, etc etc etc) and let it soak for the day. 12 hours later when we feed again we just repeat the process. (You might need 2 bucket systems so you get a full 24 hour soak if it’s colder where you are…) Hope that helps! The feed we use is from Highland in Ohio, we bring it in by the truckload and a bunch of us split the cost.

    • harri says:

      Would like to try this … what kind of feed do you use for this – corn/pellets? Thanks.

      • Collette says:

        NOT pellets – we use a non-GMO organic feed from Hyland Feed out of Ohio. Pellets won’t ferment, they just turn to a nasty mush.

      • Karen says:

        Hi Collette. Sorry to interject, but saying pellets won’t ferment isn’t accurate. Pellets (both organic if you can find them, or non-organic) ferment perfectly. They do indeed turn mushy, much like oatmeal, but it’s still fermented and good for the chickens. :) ~ karen!

      • Paula says:

        Sounds like a new chicken project. We enlarged the coop today to 9′ x 12′ inside our barn because I got 2 more chickens yesterday :)

  7. jamie says:

    Brilliant!

    • Gina says:

      My chicken ate and it went everywhere was empty in one day alover the ground. What did I do wrong

      • Karen says:

        Hi Gina. I’d have to see a picture of your setup to see what might have gone wrong. My guess is the tube that the chicken puts its neck into was the wrong length, but that’s just a guess. ~ karen!

  8. Maryanne says:

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

  9. 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….

  10. 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.

    • 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!

      • 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….

      • Karen says:

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

      • Langela says:

        They could possibly be eating too many scraps/snacks and getting full, therefore not eating enough of their feed which has all their needed protein. They’re like kids that way. Just a thought.

      • E valyn says:

        This could be a real problem, especially if they are eating too much bread. It keeps them from getting the nutrition they need.

  11. nicole says:

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

  12. Kimberley says:

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

  13. Feral Turtle says:

    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!

  14. 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!

  15. Sue says:

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

  16. Bonnie G. says:

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

  17. Rondina says:

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

  18. 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.

    • Deb says:

      I actually think I’ve seen a self-feeder like this for “domestic” animals in pet stores (domestic referring to dogs and cats and maybe hampsters).

      Karen–This is genius. I’m impressed. Again. Before the self-feeder, did your chickens wait their turn to eat? Do they have a “pecking order?” I couldn’t help myself.

  19. 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!

    • Janelle says:

      We made one that is double sided. The chickens waste less, but my ducks still practically bury their heads in there and make a mess. Anyone have suggestions for a feeder for both?

  20. SK Farm Girl says:

    Would this work for potato chips and humans?

  21. 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!

    • Ray says:

      Wonderful idea, Thanks. Do you fill the feeder from the top or the open part on the bottom

      • Karen says:

        Hi Ray. I fill the feeder from the top. If it just needs topping up I just pour in a scoop or two. If it needs filling, then I pick the whole thing up, take it over to where I keep my feed, fill it up entirely, and then walk it back to it’s permanent position. ~ karen!

      • Roger says:

        I made one of these PVC pipe feeders, however the food will not move down the pipe. What did I do wrong?

  22. 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!!

    • 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!

      • 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!

      • 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.

      • Tina B says:

        If they do get the lid off, it would be a simple fix. Drill a small hole thru the cap and pipe and secure it with wire.

      • Tina B says:

        Hmm maybe that was already suggested lol

    • Mark says:

      yes they can, but they will first remove the lid off your chickens….if you know what I mean.

  23. 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

  24. 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.

  25. Mondo Fowler says:

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

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