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.

185 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. 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.

    • Mark says:

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

  5. 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!

  6. SK Farm Girl says:

    Would this work for potato chips and humans?

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. Rondina says:

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

  10. Bonnie G. says:

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

  11. Sue says:

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

  12. 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!

  13. 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. Kimberley says:

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

  15. nicole says:

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

  16. 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….

  17. 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….

  18. Maryanne says:

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

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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!

  22. 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!!

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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!

  26. 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?

  27. 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.

    • 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

      • Langela says:

        Oh we realize you are familiar with the devious nature of raccoons. We are trying to get you to realize you are not as strong as you think you are. Are you really trying to get us to believe that you are stronger than a raccoon? Pfft, that’s just silly! 🙂

    • Guy says:

      To keep the raccoons out of your feeders you can add a ABS fitting on the end with a screw out plug ( more commonly known as a clean out plug). This would work for both the top and bottom of the feeder. This way you won’t have to bring your feeders in at night just screw the caps on.

  28. 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!

    • 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!

      • Toronto Boy says:

        It will have to go on my to-do list! First I’ll have to finish building a bird cage for the little guys! Thanks again for posting the idea!

  29. 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.

  30. Auntiepatch says:

    Genius! Pure genius!

  31. 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.

    • Leslie says:

      I’d love to have specifics about the magic duck waterer. I’m desperate for a solution …

      • When we had ducks growing up, we gave up giving them water in the coop. Everything got just too soggy. They had their food inside, but water was just a pail outside that was changed twice a day. No one seemed to suffer for having food and water separated, and their shavings (and probably even the coop floor) lasted much longer.

  32. Theresa says:

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

  33. Leslie says:

    I keep trying to draft a rant about how useless store-bought chicken feeders are, but I am so peeved about it I am totally inarticulate on the subject.

    We have a lot of chickens, so I sat and watched the flock beak 90 lbs of crumbles onto the floor one morning, completely emptying 3 large feeders. I could have burned the money and saved myself a lot of clean-up sweat. Then I made several PVC feeders … a different design to yours … which cost less than one of the store-bought feeders. Problem. Solved.

    Wassup with commercial chicken feeders that they can’t keep the chicken feed off the floor? Are they made by the same company that sells the feed? I want answers.

  34. Pam says:

    Great idea! I don’t have chickens but am thinking how I could use this same idea for a bird feeder. Hmmm…

  35. Michael says:

    Great little feeder! I think I’ll make a shorter version with 4″ pipe for my ferrets.

  36. Becky says:

    Question. The feed goes all the way to the bottom? How do the chickens get it out of the bottom?

    How did you attach it to the side of your coop? I made something similar to this, but not nearly as beautiful as yours, and they yank it off the wall.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Becky – I stuffed a tee shirt in the bottom of the feeder so the feed doesn’t go all the way down. You could cut a piece of plastic to fit, but the tee shirt was easier. When the chickens eat all their food I just dump the dregs from the bottom out. It actually sits right on the floor, so all I have to do is twist some wire around the tube and the coops hardware cloth. When I want to refill the feeder I just untwist the tie and lug it over to the feed bag. ~ karen!

  37. Leonie Henham says:

    Karen, thankyou for reply. I led you astray a bit on name of feeder.(mobile word check doing it’s own thing) It is
    WETTA CHOOK and DINE A CHOOK. I still need to squirt water into the tiny cups of the drinker occasionally but the ducks cannot get there bills in to swim so it does stay cleaner. The watered is a piece of vox pipe capped top and bottom with tiny drinking troughs screwed into them. (red with yellow float) I know you can buy the little drinkers on line. We bought ours made up. I still have a bucket for the ducks to wash but it leaves clean water for the hens.:-)

  38. Toronto Boy says:

    Update! I was at my local Home Depot today and decided to build one of these feeders for my little zebra finches. I managed to find a smaller version of the “elbow piping” featured in the above picture. I also managed to find a “screw piping to fit at the bottom of it in order to keep the seeds inside the feeder. It was slightly loose but I used a piece of paper towel which I tucked between the “elbow” and “screw” piping. The paper towel also served dual purpose of not only dumping the seed shells but also to quickly wipe down the feeder itself. Thanks for the great idea Karen!

  39. Adele says:

    I need to do this, my chooks make such a mess, and since their food bowl is on a pallet, lots of it ends up under the pallet and is wasted.. or used to fatten up mice, one of which was caught by a feisty Rhode Island Red yesterday morning and eaten! It was so funny, I just happened to look out the window at the right moment to see her holding up a mouse by its tail and all the other hens pecking at it!

    • Karen says:

      LOL! omg! My chickens would run from a mouse. Or befriend it. They’ve befriended all the sparrows and chipmunks. They all scratch around the straw at the same time. ~ karen!

  40. giggles says:

    Karen I would like to ask CBuffy just what type of feed she is using. Our chicken feed comes in pellets or crumbles, I use pellets. Made her fermenting recipe and my chickens wouldn’t even go near it!
    I was so disappointed. Wonder if Buffy is using some sort of grain mixture? can you find out for me? Love your website. giggles

    • Karen says:

      Hi Giggles – Just go to where CBuffy’s comment is and click reply to her original comment. That way you’ll be leaving a comment on her reply and she’ll be notified of it! then you two can converse! 🙂 ~ karen!

  41. giggles says:

    Oh forgot to mention that I am interested in getting a pipe feeder too, good idea! giggles

  42. Shauna says:

    How much feed fits in the pipe would you say? You have 4 chickens correct? How often do you find yourself re-filling the pipe?

    • Karen says:

      Not often, LOL. I haven’t kept track but I would guess I fill it once every two weeks. (keep in mind I have two of them) ~ karen!

  43. Barbie says:

    …..am I going to have to get me some chickens? OH MANNNN!!! Every chicky post you do moves me closer to getting some….after all shouldn’t “Kate Coury’s Farmhouse have chickens? What farm has no chickens? huh? What farm? I’m ashamed of myself! lol

  44. Heather says:

    How brilliant! We just hang the regular feeder about 6 inches off the ground but this looks so much tidier!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Heather! The reason I can’t use a regular feeder is the chickens throw their feed out of it with their beaks. I lose a LOT of feed that way. With this feeder they can’t do that. 🙂 ~ karen!

  45. I have modified this design slightly so that there is 12″ of 2″ pipe sitting beneath feeder (threaded over a rebar bounded into the ground) and then the feeder is tied to the rebar and sits on the 12″length of pipe. I find that this has completely resolved my problem of rats getting into my feeder. When I had it just attached to the mesh, the rats would climb it and then get into the feeder.

  46. Jody Cooper says:

    Hey u guys, here’s an new idea for ya, I like you had a big waste problem with chicken feed on the floor of the coop. I found the Large PVC idea online and set out to design my feeder LOL. I have very spoiled birds and impatient also they won’t wait to eat 1 at a time so, I found a corner litter pan for a rabbit or ferrite (under$5.00 at petco) it has built in holes for hanging on wire cage , you suspend it about 9-12 inches off the ground , set 4 inch PVC inside the corner litter pan there is a lip about 1 1/2″ from the bottom , I used a drill To pre- drill a couple of holes to attach the PVC and plastic corner litter pan together with a couple of zip ties, fill at top and cover with a 4″ cap gravity takes care of feeding and waste no more. 3-5 birds have feeding room . YEAH!!!!Yep I did the water this way also but used the Y 4″ PVC . Wow what a difference this has made. I also did 2 small ones mounted to a T post with 2″ PVC tubes and 3″ caps at bottom for feeding grit, and oyster shell.

    • Kathy Cordell says:

      Jody, I can’t quite picture it from your description. Could you possibly post, or send me a photo of it?

      • Erica says:

        I am a visual person as well and can’t seem to figure this one out. A picture would be great :).

        Karen I love your idea!

  47. Thanks for the super easy DIY chicken feeder! I just finished assembling it today and popped it in my coop this afternoon. We shall see if my chooks take to the new feeder and hopefully we’ll waste a lot less feed in the process!! I just posted about my chooks and the new feeder on my blog if you wanted to check out pics of your inspiration and my handy work! 🙂
    Cheers!
    Kim

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  49. charles says:

    I believe you can reduce the cost and improve on the design by eliminating the short piece of pipe and end-cap at the bottom by using an insert type ‘test plug,” and drilling one or two ‘weep holes’ in it in case it gets wet in there – water will have an exit!

  50. charles says:

    “How much feed fits in the pipe would you say?”

    3″ O.D. Pipe with 1/4″ walls would leave about 3.5″ I.D. Pi * r^ would be Pi *(1.75″*1.75″) or 9.6 Sq In area. Thus, for every foot of pipe, you have 12″ * 9.6″ or about 116 Cu In in volume of feed.

    How to find the Cube Root: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-NPbHWb0TA which will allow you to translate the 116 cu in into a cube to find the equivalent ‘box’ that would hold the same amount of feed.

    In this case, a box six inches by six inches by six inches. 6.09 * 6.09 * 6.09 = 225 cu in. If the feeder tube is three feet long, you get 675 cu in of volume.

    If a typical box of cereal is about 2″ thick, eight inches wide and fourteen inches high, it would take three of them to fill the pipe.

    Or, 2.5 gallons of feed.

  51. Gretchen says:

    Do you think this would work for water too? Might keep them from pooping all over the waterer?

    • Karen says:

      I have a sneaking suspicion I tried this with water and it didn’t work. But now that you’ve reminded me I’m going to have to try it again, lol. I’m sure it again won’t work, but I won’t be satisfied until I try again. 🙂 ~ karen

      • Kaitie says:

        How do you keep your water un frozen? do you just thaw it?

        • Karen says:

          Hi Kaitie. I don’t use this method for water. I use a regular waterer. And in the winter I set the waterer on a metal cookie tin with a lightbulb in it. That keeps the waterer from freezing. 🙂 ~ karen

  52. Josh says:

    I’m just building a coop for our first chicks that we got last week. They started out pretty tidy, but in the last couple days have transformed into total pigs – completely emptying their feeder in a matter of hours.

    I definitely want to try this out – I love the simple and efficient design! I was also thinking about something along the lines of Charles’ suggestion to reduce the amount of feed that gets lost in the bottom. Either way, it seems like a great idea!

  53. Angie says:

    I like your feeder design. Am going to fix a couple I can raise half-way to the roof to thwart raccoons and mostly rats. We live in the Southwest part of Texas and when the hens leave pellets, rats come. When they come to eat, rattlesnakes come for them. One morning, 7 am, I found and killed a rattler five feet long and as big around as a 3″ pvc pipe. It came in through chain-link fencing and ate two large rats, then couldn’t fit back through the fence. By lifting this type feeder, I think I can eliminate this problem. Thanks

    • Karen says:

      Angie! That comment made me horrified and doubled over with laughter at the same time! I’m not particularly afraid of snakes, but that’d be because we don’t have rattlesnakes here! I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be fond of finding one of those at 7 a.m.! I don’t like finding much of anything but coffee at that time. ~ karen!

  54. Angela says:

    I was wondering how many chickens you have. This feeder seems like a great idea but I was wondering how many of these feeders I would need to keep them from fighting over who gets to eat out of it. I have 6 hens.

    • Karen says:

      You’d be fine with 2 of them I think. I have 4 hens and 2 is plenty. They don’t all seem to want to eat at the same time and they just wait their turn. If they’re starving two heads will fit into at once anyway. ~ karen!

  55. ReBecca says:

    Perhaps it has been answered, perhaps a dumb question, but the purpose of the extra six inch piece at the bottom is for? Is it needed? Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi ReBecca – The feeder has that 6″ piece for 2 reasons. To make the height more comfortable for the chickens Technically they like their feed to be approximately level with their backs, and the height also helps stop any bedding from getting in there. 🙂 ~ karen

  56. ReBecca says:

    Thanks! My husband told me I had enough to make it so all I needed to buy was the wye connector and end caps. I came home, cut the pvc pipe and everything fit but the cap wouldn’t fit on the six inch piece, so I am going to put it up a bit higher maybe or try and figure out where I went wrong.

  57. Erika says:

    I just LOVE this idea and your tutorial–so easy to follow! Quick question though (and this may sound silly) but…without the 3″ piece attached to the 45 degree Wye (where they eat) the food poured out everywhere. With the 3″ piece attached, I worry they may not be able to reach their beaks in that far. Thoughts?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Erika – Not to worry. Chickens have longgggg necks, lol. Try the 3″. If it doesn’t work for you, just cut it down to 2 1/2 or 2. That extra piece really does need to be there in order to stop the ferocious flinging though. If your chickens aren’t flingers you don’t have to use it though. Hope that helps. ~ karen!

  58. MsRiderUp says:

    Hi,

    Could you please post photos of what you made to feed the chicks? My 6-week-old bill most of their food. I have 8, so also waste a lot of feed. Does this work for multiple birds, or should I just make a few of them? Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi MsRiderUp – Sorry, but I’m having trouble with my photos. I’m trying to resolve the problem. Normally there are a bunch of pictures that with this post and hopefully in a day or two they’ll all be back up. I use 2 feeders for 4 hens, but you could easily use 1 for 4. They work great and I highly recommend making them. I don’t waste ANY feed anymore. This set up might be too big for a 6 week old though. The height and size of the piping etc. is for a full grown hen. Check back in a day or two to see the step by step photos of how to make it. Hopefully they’ll be back up by then! ~ karen

  59. Lori says:

    My Hubby set it up and as soon as I filled it, they scratched about 3 cups out, onto the floor. We are going to try chicken wire over the opening.

    • Karen says:

      Really? Yikes. Did you do it to the dimensions I specified? (the extra length of tubing at the base and coming out of the feeder where they put their beaks) is really important. If the tubing that comes out where they reach in with their necks is any shorter for instance, they can indeed fling it. If you put chicken wire over that extra bit of tubing I’m not sure they’ll be able to get to the feed. If it’s assembled correctly, the food should be sitting down at the bottom so they have to reach their necks in. Let me know how it goes. ~ karen!

  60. Lori says:

    The only difference in the design was Hubby got 4″ pipe, otherwise he assembled it as directed. That may be the problem. The pullets couldn’t get their head in the chicken wire so hubby drilled a hole with a door knob drill bit. into a cap. Problem solved for the pullets. The next ones will be 3″ and if any problems arise with those, he will just cut the caps in half.

  61. Mike says:

    I like your posts. I am new a this and find it extremely interesting and helpful. I have two questions.

    1. so the bottom part of the tube gets filled and never gets eaten?

    2. do you use the tube for the fermented feed?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mike. The bottom part of the tube does get filled and never eat. There are 2 ways to deal with this, once the tube is down to the point where it needs to be refilled, just dump the remaining feed (from the bottom of the tube out). That way it won’t go bad and mouldy. OR do what I do, which is simply put a piece of plastic cut to fit at the bottom of the upper tube to stop any food from getting into the very bottom. That way all the feed is being used and none of it is being wasted or getting old. I’m not sure what you mean about the fermented feed. ~ karen!

  62. Kietha Fulton says:

    I recently made your PVC feeder. I made mine in the same way, except instead of using a tee shirt, I used a 3″ test cap. Also, used a 4″ PVC ABOUT 6″ LONG.I BURIED THE 4″ IN THE GROUND TO THE TOP, THEN PLACED THE FEEDER INTO THAT. THAT WILL GIVE YOU A FREE STANDING FEEDER. ALSO, I USE A LARGE PLASTIC FUNNEL WITH THE TIP CUT OFF TO ACCOMMODATE THE FEED AND PUT MY FEED INTO THE TOP. I WOULD SUGGEST NOT PLACING THE TOP CAP ON TIGHT, THEY ARE HARD TO REMOVE. MY QUESTION IS ” HOW DO YOU GET THE FEED TO THE OUTSIDE OUTLET (45 DEGREES, IT DOESN’T FLOW UP

    OOPS didn’t realize caps were on

  63. Pingback: DIY chicken feeder (part 2) | Croydon Food Swap

  64. MK Mills says:

    If this works by dimensions and certain heights, I’m confused about how it would work for really small chicken breeds like Silkies and Seramas? Also, I don’t want the main upright to be 26″, that’s way to much for my group. Can I make that shorter?

    Thanks,
    Mary Kay

  65. hipnosis says:

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  66. gabe says:

    I made two of these feeders and they work great. However, I believe they have bloodied my roosters comb. There are no sharp edges but they are causing chafing of some sort. The top inside portion of the feeder looks like it was painted with a red paint brush. Any suggestions?

    • tom says:

      PVC once cut tends to be a bit sharp. Did you sand down the edges? I went over the 3 inch extension a few times with 80 grade sand paper, and that produced a nice, soft, rounded edge that I was reasonably convinced wouldn’t harm the chickens.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Gabe! Sorry for not replying. I forgot until Tom here was nice enough to help you out! And he’s right. Sand down the edges. If your roos have HUGE combs, one thing you might want to think of is seeing if you can go with 4″. I have no idea if your hardware store would carry a 3 to 4″ adapter but it may be worth looking into. And sand, sand, sand. ~ karen!

      • Gabe says:

        Thank you for your reply! I had not sanded the edge because it was not a “cut” edge. It was the factory edge of the “y”. My roo is a Bresse and has a very large comb. To solve the problem I added an extension and then cut out the top side of the feeding tube to make it more of a trough to accommodate his comb. I sanded the edges smooth and have had no more issues. Thank you for a cheap, easy, and wonderful feeder idea!

  67. Anna says:

    Thanks for a wonderful idea. The nice folks at homedepot did all the cutting for me… 2 new feeders, easy peasy! I’m just getting my coop up and running – can’t wait to get my girl and have then try this out!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks for letting me know Anna! I love it when people take the time to tell me they’ve tried out things I’ve made. I just brought a new hen home today! She’s beautiful and friendly. Love her already. 🙂 ~ karen!

  68. Erin says:

    Hi Karen,

    How many pounds of food does this feeder hold? I’m trying to figure out if I should size up.

    Thank you!

    Erin

  69. Hi Karen,

    “…a reader (I can’t remember who exactly but I DO thank her) suggested I try this homemade PVC feeder…”
    Just a guess, but I’m wondering if the reader in question may have referred you to this?
    http://www.instructables.com/id/PVC-Chicken-Feeder/

    It doesn’t have much detail (because there isn’t much to tell!), but I thought some of the comments I received might be helpful to your readers.

    Cheers!

    Mike

    • Karen says:

      That’s it! LOL. Holy crap, after all this time. 🙂 Well I’m glad you’re finally getting credit. I’ll link to your Intractable and comments in the post right now. Thanks! ~ karen!

  70. ROYSFARM says:

    Very nice! That’s really wonderful and very helpful for preventing food wastage. But it’s only suitable for a few number of birds. Because it’s almost not possible to maintain such feeders in commercial farms. It’s perfect for backyard poultry keepers. Thank you!

  71. Star M Farm says:

    About how much would you say making one of these feeders costs? Also, I have 11 chicks right now, about how many feeders do you think would be adequate?

    • Karen says:

      Hi there! You know, I actually can’t remember the cost. At all! I’m going to say probably $20 – $25. Now if you’re making two, you might be able to do it a bit cheaper because you may be able to get a longer piece of pipe and cut it in two. That’s usually the cheaper way to go. I think with 11 birds you’d be looking at 2 feeders. 3 max. Hope that helps. ~ karen!

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  74. Wow! this is so cool and interesting idea! My best friend lives in a farm and I am absolutely sure that this post will help her a lot with the chicken’s food. I will send it to her. Thanks for sharing!

  75. Megan says:

    My husband and I made these today, and I wanted to pass on how we made it so the feed doesn’t sink into the bottom: before assembling the 45* piece to the base pipe, we traces the pipe onto a piece of plywood and used a jigsaw to cut “biscuits” out. We then inserted the plywood wafers in between the base and the feeder piece. I’m sure this could be done with plastic or cardboard as well, but we used what we had on hand that seemed to be the sturdiest!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Megan. I’ve been using a yogurt lid cut to size, lol. I’ve been meaning to cut something sturdier and never get around to it! ~ karen

  76. Martha says:

    Hi,

    Love the design but have a question. Is PVC a safe plastic for food for the chickens. I hear a lot about plastics leaching into the food/water causing cancer. Want my family and the chickens safe.

    Martha

  77. ingrid says:

    I have 7 quails get about 8 eggs per days so nice and cute I can use the feeder to only have to buy a smaller in diameter size pvc pipe right??

  78. Carrie says:

    My well mannered BEAUTIFUL Cochin just started flinging food out of their feeder. Allll the way to the bottom. Every last pellet. This occurred just as we introduced 6 Buff Orps and 6 RIR to the flock. Brat!

    I have been racking my brain on how to fix this and came across your post. Thank you!! I am making 4 of these this weekend. 3 for outside under their awning and 1 for indoors for winter.

    Great idea!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Carrie! It’s amazing what chickens will do when new ones are introduced. I had a very gentle, timid, hen at the absolute bottom of the flock who became the meanest, most aggressive bird in the land when I introduced 2 new pullets. You’ll like the new feeders, they work great. Just check them every so often for moisture if they’re outside because if the feed gets wet and you don’t notice it and get rid of it it can get mouldy. ~ karen!

  79. Roger says:

    I made a PVC pipe feeder using 4″ pipe, for our chickens. However, the feed will not move down the pipe. What did I do wrong?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Roger. If you did everything like I said I can’t imagine you did anything wrong. Don’t forget you don’t want the feed to come right out to the end of the tube sticking out. You want it in far enough so the chicken has to stick his/her head in there to get the feed. That’s what prevents them from flinging it. ~ karen!

  80. will says:

    Very funny! I love your writing style.

    Just got some chickens and thinking about a spill free feeder. Thanks for the simple diy info.

  81. Michelle says:

    Good Job 🙂

  82. David says:

    I am building 10 of these for my smaller coops. The top piece will have to be 14 inches to fit the size of my coops. I am using the white PVC. Not sure if I will have to make the bottom piece shorter than 6 inches as well but I will raise the feeder on piece of 2 by 4. Do you think this will be a problem?

    • Karen says:

      Hi David! No, that’ll be fine. Really the only reason for the bottom section is to lift up the feeder so it’s at the right height. The feeder opening should be fairly high which also helps with keeping the birds from flicking their feed. Good luck with it all. ~ karen!

  83. Chris Doll says:

    I’ve seen these as cereal dispensers at the free continental breakfasts at the cheap hotels…

  84. David says:

    Hi Karen,

    Great write up! I’m wondering if something similar to this could be done as a drinker as well. Seem to remember from my school days (oh so long ago!) that we built a water dispenser for dogs which relied on a plenum chamber inside the feed tube.

    Just done a bit of an amusing article on our feathered friends, take a look if you wish! http://www.littlepeckers.co.uk/blog/chicken-feeders-fun-facts/

    Thanks
    David

  85. MIKE says:

    PLEASE TELL ME WHEN YOU ADD THAT ADDITIONAL 3″ PEICE TO THE FEEDER OUTLET WILL THE FEED ACTUALLY WORK IT’S WAY BACK UP THAT 3″ ANGLE TO FILL THE GAP TO FEED THE CHICKENS…HAVN’T PUT IT ON BEACAUSE I DON’T THINK THE FEED CAN WORK IT’S WAY BACK UP AND IT WOULD BE TOO LONG FOR THE CHICKEN TO FEED IF IT DOESN’T,…WILL IT FILL UP ON IT’S ON ? THANKS

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mike. Yes, it works fine. The chickens do have to put their head in a bit, but it isn’t a problem. Just pour the feed in and they’ll get it. If you want you can fill the 3″ piece of pipe with some feed so your chickens get used to the idea that that’s where their food is coming from. Your chickens will be able to reach it. ~ karen!

  86. Ashley Crosby says:

    I have a question. We built your design, exactly as you did, and yet our girls are still spilling a lot of feed. We have six 13 week-olds, and their feed is in crumble form. Does that impact the effectiveness of this design? I’m trying to figure out what we did wrong, because the highlight of this design was not wasting feed. Thank you!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ashley! I’d have to see what you did. Are you pulling the feed up to the top of the feeding tube for them? If that’s the case stop doing that because you’re bringing food up to where they can fling it. If it’s designed properly, the chickens should have to stick their necks down the tube to get at food and there isn’t a lot of space left in there to start flinging. It could be possible that you just have chickens that are incredibly determined to food fling! ~ karen

    • Ashley Crosby says:

      You know, I remembered that we used a 4″ pipe instead of 3″, like you. Might that be the problem?

  87. Alana says:

    I’m super confused. I bought all the 3″ PVC, but I can’t get a mason jar lid to fit (standard OR wide mouth). The standard one just falls through the fittings and the pipe. I love the rest, although I’m adding end caps to cap it off at night, but I just can’t get the mason jar lid to work. From your pictures there’s no problem.

    • Colleen says:

      Hi Alana, I built this too and I had to trim a tiny bit off the circumference of a wide mouth Mason lid and it fits inside just fine, the regular lids are way too small for the 3″ pipe.

  88. Laurie Norton says:

    Hi Thanks for sharing that great feeder. We use a similar system but ours drops into a trough. The problem with that is mice have easy access. This seems like it might be high enough off the ground to keep mice out. Do you ever notice mice getting in there?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Laurie! Funny you should mention mice today, lol. I have a mouse, a single mouse, living in my bag of scratch. It’s in a cupboard off the side of the coop and he is literally living inside the feed, in the bag. Uch. No mice can get into the feeder HOWEVER in the past few months I’ve had HUGE issues with squirrels with this feeder. For years it worked great and now the squirrels have discovered it. So I’m going to build a new feeder this spring. The kind that a lid pops open when the chicken stands on it. It’s the only thing I can think of that will keep the squirrels from getting into the feed. ~ karen!

  89. Jolanda says:

    OMG I love this article, both fun and informative to read.
    I feel you, chickens ARE pigs … I only have 8 2 1/2 week young chicks and oh man what an incredible mess they already are able to make.
    What happens when they are full grown .. yikes.
    Can’t wait until it is warmer and I can put them outside in their coop.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Jolanda! Yup. Chickens are filthy pigs, lol. At least you can use turn their filth into compost! That’s one good thing about it. 🙂 ~ karen!

  90. Lauri Hofschneider says:

    I’ve been using one I made several years ago for my duck. I have a larger feeder for my chickens that holds a 25 lb. bag of crumbles. I use pellets in my feeder like this. Mine differs in at I used a joint on the top with a screw on lid. I also made another one with 2″ pipe that I put oyster shells and crushed eggs shells in. Very happy with the way my set-up has worked for years. Great tutorial!

    • Hi Lauri. I was just wondering how the 2″ pipe is working out. The chickens don’t have a problem getting to the feed? Or oyster shells in your case?

      I was only able to find a 45 degree piece that went from 3 to 2″ so I wanted to make sure it will work before it gets poop all over it and becomes unreturnable.

      Hopefully you see this, thanks in advance.
      Matt

      mattgang@kalurah.com

      • Lauri says:

        On the 2″ feeder, I’d cut the opening to make it more bowl-like. I’d probably stay with the 3″ one like this one, as the chickens will have ample room to get their heads in there. It also helps a lot to add the screw top to keep the feed dry.

        • Thanks Lauri. I’ll just return the 3″ to 2″ 45 degree and get a 3″ to 3″ one. I appreciate the quick reply.

          Good tip on the screw cap.

          Also if anyone wants an alternative to the mason jar lids, I found small plastic caps for 72 cents at Lowe’s. They are in with the other 3″ PVC accessories. They are called 3″ PVC test caps.

          Also thanks to Karen for this idea. I’m able to make 2 of these for around the price of one wasteful feeder. In my last house we had a big traditional feeder hanging from the ceiling. It took up a load of space and there was always seed everywhere. These PVC jobs are going to take up a lot less real estate. Simply genius!

          ONE more thought. I have bird seed scoop from Droll Yankee that will make loading these a breeze. Just google Droll Yankee bird seed scoop.

  91. Ashleigh says:

    How man chickens could use one of these feeders??

  92. Kaitie says:

    How do you keep the water from freezing other then hooking it up to the water tank?

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