Photo copyright © Craig Mackintosh
In the old days, farmers would have lots of left over pieces of galvanized tin sheeting. To make a chicken feeder they made the tin into a tube cylinder and suspended it above a plate and hung it in the coop.
Today, unfortunately, most people forget how easily people made these things for a dollar or less. I went to our local Feed Store and they wanted $70 to buy a galvanized chicken feeder. I was so angry.
I went to the local hardware store and bought 25 liter water barrels. Thats 6 1/2 gallons for you guys still living in the old measurement system. People here use them for water and camping (obviously) but also for brewing their home made beer and wine and mead because the plastic is HDPE or high density polyethelene which is a food-grade plastic that is safe to drink water from and safe for using as water and food feeders for chickens. If you use any old plastic, not made of HDPE for food or water storage, then you put chemicals into your chickens that end up in the eggs and in your own body. Looking out for your chickens’ health and happiness means you are also looking out for your own health and happiness.
This and next photo © Peter Dilley
If you go to a brewing store here and buy the same container they will charge you $30 or more for each container (angry again). So I went to the hardware store and they are $15 each and sometimes you can get them on sale for $10 each.
I then got a cheap hole saw kit made in China to cut out circle holes for installing can lighting in ceilings. I used the largest hole saw, about 100mm, or 4 inches in the old measurement system, and I measured how tall my average chicken stands when not lifting its head into the air. I used this measurement to put the center holes of the guide drill in the middle of the hole saw blade to start cutting using my battery operated drill. Because the center drill bit went at chicken height, there is 50mm, or 2 inches, below the hole, above the hole, and to the sides, giving the chicken a lot of room to get in no matter how big or small a breed they are. Even 5 to 6 week old chickens that are feathered out can reach over the bottom lip of the holes.
I fill the chicken feed below the holes and you can see through the plastic to see how far you’ve filled the feeder and you can see how much feed is left when it is time to refill the feeder. One feeder has layer’s feed, the other feeder has water.
With the water I don’t mind filling to the bottom lip of the holes because it is only the layer’s feed that chickens throw around with their beaks. Because the chickens stick their head in high, they can not scratch the feed and spill it on the floor wasting it. Because chickens stick their heads in, when they toss food around with their beaks very little, if any, escapes the feeder, saving feed and money. That is why filling the feed a few inches below the bottom hole lip is important. Otherwise chickens will pull and pile the feed up against the hole and then start tossing it out on the floor, wasting feed.