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?

 

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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.

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DIY No Spill Chicken Feeder.

208 Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.:-)

  5. 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!

  6. Michael says:

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

  7. Pam says:

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

  8. 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.

  9. Theresa says:

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

  10. 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.

  11. Auntiepatch says:

    Genius! Pure genius!

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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! :)

      • Karen says:

        Hah! ~ k

    • 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.

  15. 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?

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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!!

  20. 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!

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