DIY Chicken Feeder bulk bin no mess no spill no clog

Mark

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Here's my DIY chicken feeder that is no mess, doesn't spill out over the ground, and doesn't clog up when the feed gets moist or wet! In fact, this feeder can be specifically used for wet feeds for chickens such as fermented feed.

It took me a few weeks of trials to find the right height for the feed windows on the bin chicken feeder. I started with the bottom of the window (feed access hole) 25 cm from the base of the bin/container and worked my way down to 15 cm or about 6 inches as the perfect height for this type of feeder. At anything higher, the chickens and ducks weren't able to comfortably reach over the window lip and get the last inch or so of feed.

Bulk bin feeder
chicken feeder no mess bulk bin 620.jpg


This was particularly evident on my main large bin prototype obviously the bigger the internal area means a higher window will give less reach down and around for the bird. I used two bins in my trial a plastic 50 litre rubbish bin and a 15 litre bucket (actually, I made two of the bucket feeders) one for my pullets and another for my ducklings. Both feeders worked well with the window height at around 15 cm from the base even for the smaller pullets so this height seems like a good universal figure to use for most chicken breeds.

Smaller bucket feeder
chicken feeder no mess bulk bin bucket 620.jpg


At the base of the feed window, I attached a "comfort rail" made out of some old grey water irrigation pipe so it would make it easier and more comfortable for the hens to reach over and eat without rubbing their necks on jagged plastic.

There wasn't any lid for the large bin (it was an old rubbish bin I had lying around) so I just placed an old container lid on top and secured it with a piece of wood and a brick to weigh it down. The bin feeder looks rather clunky and absolutely raw DIY made from recycled materials but it works a treat!

Honestly, I'm not sure why I haven't seen this simple design for a chicken feeder before and why more people don't use this basic design as a chicken feeder? Most of the gravity fed feeders just don't cut it when it comes to being no mess; and, grain spilling out all over the ground under gravity chicken feeders has annoyed me since I started keeping chickens about 10 years ago.

The main reasons I came up with this design is due to my commercial feeders failing to operate as they should and also my recent experimentation with fermented feed for chickens as I knew if I put wet feed in any of my commercial feeders they would clog up. I didn't want to just pour the fermented feed out onto the ground or use a shallow container for obvious reasons; therefore, I thought how about a standard hole in a container and it worked!

Ironically, once I calculated the amount of feed my modified bins could hold it worked out pretty similar to what my commercial gravity fed poultry feeders hold anyway. The whole selling point of those gravity feeders is supposed to be feed capacity and easy operation when realistically a bucket or bin can do better for much less cost.

As I say in the video (see end of post), pvc feeders and most treadle feeders work by feed being fed down a chute via gravity into a feed/eating chamber. As the chickens eat the feed, more feed automatically flows into the eating chamber and this would be ok if it worked as designed, unfortunately it doesn't, because most chickens like to rake through the feed and this action keeps pulling feed out of the chute making it inevitably overflow the eating chamber and fall over the ground.

Here is my treadle feeder (below) and if you look closely you can see the feed on the ground in front of the tread plate. Mine has a gravity feeder ie the bin above the chicken holds about 15kg of feed and even though there is a stainless steel grid over the eating chamber to stop raking the hens still manage to overfill the chamber.

chicken eating from a tread plate feeder grandpas chook feeder.jpg


The treadle feeders like the ones off eBay without the gravity feeder are the better ones to get because if the hens rake the feed it won't matter but I still would advise fitting a grid over these also - just a galvanised/stainless mesh which loosely sits on top of the feed with about 2 inch holes to help stop the birds from throwing the feed around.

Here are two examples of treadle feeders without the gravity bin that might be ok to use (certainly better than a larger gravity fed one) these may not hold as much as my treadle but they will be less messy.
10KG Large chicken feeder Automatic aluminium
Chicken Feeder Somerzby treadle

Anyway regardless of the advantages of those treadle feeders, my DIY feeder is a much cheaper option and quite possibly all most chicken keepers really require for their flock. I would definitely suggest having a go at making a bin feeder first before doing what I did and buy commercial feeders.

 
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Mark

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Thanks for that. Previously I made one with a pipe in it and a 1" by 2" slot at the bottom of the pipe to gravity feed the grain, but now I think that's not necessary. Your design is simple and effective.
Hi Brother Joe, yeah I have to say it's been several months now since I made these simple bucket feeders and I really can't fault them because they are easy to make, cheap, great for the birds to eat from, less mess, and don't clog up in humid or wet weather.

I suppose the only criticism or question I do get is "rodents" but I am yet to see any signs of rats or mice getting into the feeders. Firstly, they have to get in and the height plus the material makes climbing up into the feeder difficult for a rat or mouse, secondly, if your pen is rodent proof it doesn't matter anyway! Plus, there are other ways to control rodents around chicken pens to ensure they're not a problem.

BTW, welcome to SSC and thanks for joining our online community - your membership has been upgraded to Premium!
 

Steve

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Ah that's a great idea Mark. I'm still thinking of having a chicken-tractor type setup when I get my chickens but I could probably incorporate these ideas into the design. Appreciate you sharing it.
By the way, did I see an old green Army trunk in the background while you were building that demo? I've still got mine and it does a great job of holding all my power tools. I did like the new plastic ones as they would make an awesome eski but I was too old-school to get one of those.

Cheers mate.
 

Mark

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I also started with a chicken tractor Steve - what's your main thoughts for going with one? We should maybe start a chicken tractor thread?

This bucket design would allow you to hang it by the handle in the tractor - too easy!

Yep, that's the old steel army trunk alright! My latch ended up breaking in the late 80's and my grandfather WWII vet with plenty of experience in steel trunks riveted a stainless hasp and staple on it which was the envy of my troop cause those old latches were flimsy! Great memories!
 

Ann

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I finally made Mark's DIY bucket feeder. I didn't have the chicken guard material on hand, so I used some pipe insulation. I will pick up some when I go to town. I sure hope it works, I am tired of wasted feed!
 

Mark

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Fantastic Ann! Great job and that should work a treat :)

Apart from being an easy chicken feeder for the hens to use plus not enabling them to rake the feed out over the ground it's such a good self-sufficient way to utilise a cheap bucket as a feeder.

I have to make a few more feeders as I lost a couple due to a falling tree over my pen two days ago!

dit chicken feeder crushed by tree.jpg

feed bin crushed by tree.jpg
 

Ann

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Wow Mark! It looks as if winter is starting with a wallop! I hope your chooks are okay and your fence is not to damaged.
My birds didn't seem to understand the feeder yet. I'mhope they figure it out. I guess when they get hungrey they will!
 

Mark

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I hope your chooks are okay and your fence is not to damaged.
The fence is flat as a pancake Ann :)
My birds didn't seem to understand the feeder yet. I'mhope they figure it out. I guess when they get hungrey they will!
Yeah, they'll work it out :thumbsup:
 

Anne

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We just started with chickens this year. I was looking at other feeders and found yours. It is working great. We love your ideas and helps. Thanks for sharing and all you do.
 

Mark

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Hi Anne and thank you for your kind words I'm so wrapped the feeder is working well for you!

Also, welcome to the forum and thanks for joining us :)

If you have any questions just ask and feel free to give your own experience or tips wherever you see fit.

Cheers
 

Mark

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Here's a modification of my bin feeder by Tony (UK Here We Grow) where he adds a cylindrical fitting to the centre of the bin to basically double the capacity.