You can’t go wrong with a homemade chicken feeder.
Why? Because it affords you the flexibility to design the perfect feeder for your feathered friends.
By a perfect feeder, it means:
- a feeder that is safe for the chicken
- keeps them from making a mess (with their poops)
- prevents them from wasting feed
- allows you to manage their diet
- and ensures they receive the proper nutrients needed to grow and stay healthy.
Finding that perfect feeder may look daunting, but don’t worry. You’re in good hands.
In this article, you’ll find out why you should consider homemade chicken feeders, factors to consider when building them, five great feeder ideas for you to try out, and tips on maintaining them.
Let’s get started.
What Is A Chicken Feeder and Why Do You Need One?
A feeder is a tool used to supply feed to your chicken. Chicken feeders help hold and/or dispense feed to your flock, depending on the type you are using.
These feeders help you with proper feed management to ensure that the chickens get just the right amount of food at the right time. Hence, helping you avoid overfeeding and underfeeding.
Overfeeding can cause obesity in your chicken, leading to health problems like pressure sores, mobility issues, and even death. Feeders can also help prevent feed wastage, thus improving feed efficiency.
In addition, using a chicken feeder (a good one anyways) helps prevent pests, like rodents and insects, from accessing or consuming the feed.
Besides the fact that these pests waste the feed, pests like mice and other rodents carry disease, can contaminate your coop with their droppings, and transmit mites, lice, or ticks to your chickens.
In summary, a chicken feeder helps protect and regulate your chicken feed, reduces wastage, and improves overall coop hygiene.
What Makes A Good Chicken Feeder?
When choosing a chicken feeder, there are several options out there. They are typically classified based on design, material, size, and capacity, amongst other factors.
But before we discuss DIY chicken feeders in particular, let’s look at the qualities a good chicken feeder must have. A great chicken feeder should have the following qualities and features:
When building chicken feeders for your clock, you want one that can hold enough food for the number of chickens being fed.
The capacity should be one of your concerns, especially if you are not always around, as it limits the number of times you have to refill the feeder.
Keep in mind that an average egg-laying hen will consume about 100-150 grams of feed per day though broilers eat more. So you should consider the quantity of feed.
Here is another quality any great chicken feeder should possess. The feeder should be made with sturdy materials that can withstand the never-ending pecking and scratching of the chickens.
Additionally, if it is outdoors, the feeder should be designed to withstand weather conditions like rain, sun, or wind. That way, you would not always have to worry about replacing it too often.
Easy to Fill and Clean
Filling a great feeder with feed should not be a hassle. It should be easy and preferably done outside the coop to avoid disturbing the flock.
Stressing chickens is dangerous to their health because stressed chickens tend to show signs of increased aggression (which can lead to feather pecking or cannibalism), restless pacing, and abnormal feathering. All of these can be avoided by designing an easily filled feeder without stressing the chickens.
Cleaning the feeder should also be easy to make it easy to maintain proper coop hygiene, and prevent bacteria and mold buildup—after all, a dirty coop = a sick chicken.
Another quality that you should desire in a suitable chicken feeder is adjustability. That is, the feeder should allow for easy feed flow rate adjustment to accommodate the needs of different chicken sizes, ages, or breeds.
Besides all the above qualities, you should also consider the money factor. A good feeder should be reasonably priced and provide good value for money.
Why Homemade Chicken Feeders?
Homemade DIY chicken feeders can offer several advantages for chicken owners, including:
Cost savings: Building your chicken feeder can be a cost-effective option, as it may be cheaper than purchasing a commercial feeder.
Customizability: Homemade feeders can be customized to meet the specific needs of your flock, such as size, height, and capacity.
Creativity: DIY feeders allow chicken owners to express their creativity and design unique and aesthetically pleasing feeders.
Sustainability: Homemade feeders can be made from recycled materials, reducing waste and promoting sustainability.
Convenience: Making your own feeder can be more convenient than purchasing a commercial feeder, especially if you have the necessary materials and tools.
Fun project: Making your chicken feeder can be fun for adults and children and can help to teach children about caring for animals and the importance of self-sufficiency.
15 DIY Chicken Feeder Design Ideas for Your Poultry Farm
When it comes to DIY chicken feeder design ideas, you have several options to pick from. It will be good to explore more than one so that you can pick which one works best for you.
In the next section, we will discuss factors you can use to narrow down your list; however, let’s delve into our list of fifteen great chicken feeder ideas you can build yourself.
Hanging PVC Trough Feeder
If your flock wastes their feed or poop into their feed, this is a ready-made solution for you. Chicken poop often carries germs like Salmonella and can be dangerous to other animals – even humans!
In order to ensure that your chickens can feed conveniently from the feeder, their height from the ground should be level with the back of the average chicken in your coop. And the length of the feeder should be at your discretion.
Additionally, ensure the feeders are enough to serve your flock size to avoid anxiety amongst the chickens.
- Three-inch PVC pipe (Length as required)
- PVC pipe caps
- Eye Hooks
5-Gallon Bucket Feeder
If you need a chicken feeder that can hold a lot of feed, this is the perfect idea because this design can contain as much as 25 lb of chicken feed!
When building this design, ensure that the drilled holes are as close to the bottom as possible so that all the feed can come out. Likewise, the pan has to be bigger (in circumference) than the bottom of the bucket to give room for the chicken to feed.
- 5-gallon bucket
- A pan
- 2-inch drilling machine
- 2 x 4 wooden block
Wooden Trough Feeder
If you’re tired of feeding your chickens twice daily, this is another chicken feeder solution for you. The feeder is designed to hold a lot of feed and reduce the times you have to refill them. Works well for poultry farmers with tight schedules.
The materials required for this design are inexpensive, and the building process is straightforward. In fact, with the right guide, you should have your feeder ready in less than an hour.
- 3-inch PVC pipe (Length at your discretion)
- Two wooden blocks (preferably 2 x 4)
- Duct tape
- Six screws
- A drilling machine
- A saw
1-Gallon Milk Jug Feeder
If you have so many milk jugs around and you want to put them to good use, then check this out. All the materials needed to build this feeder are things lying around in your house; you don’t even need to visit a store.
Moreover, this design is a fun project for kids and it’s an avenue to teach them about recycling.
- 1-gallon milk jug
- Scissors or utility knife
- String or wire
- Chicken feed
PVC Gravity Feeder
This automatic feeder design can provide a steady feed supply for your chickens without needing constant refilling.
If your chickens poop or kick bedding into their feeds, this is a solution for you. It also keeps your feed dry and pest free.
- PVC pipe, approximately 3-4 inches in diameter and 2-3 feet in length
- PVC elbow joint
- Saw or PVC pipe cutter
- Drill with a 1/4-inch drill bit
- Sandpaper or file
- Zip ties
PVC No Spill Feeder
Here’s another really simple feeder design you want to consider. The PVC no-spill chicken feeder design is an automatic feeder with a capacity to hold feed that can last your flock for days.
In fact, you can decide to increase its capacity by increasing the length of the PVC pipe you’re using. So, with this chicken feeder, you can reduce how often you need to visit the coop to refill the chicken’s feed.
Sounds like something you want to try?
- PVC pipe (4 inches in diameter and 2 feet long)
- PVC end cap (4 inches)
- PVC elbow connector (4 inches)
- PVC 3 – 1.5 inch reducer
- 5-inch pipe
- 4-inch bushing
- 3-inch plastic cap
2.5 Liter Bottle Chicken Feeder
This is, perhaps, the easiest chicken feeder design so far. With a couple of 2.5 liter bottles, you can make effective chicken feeders for your chickens.
This design is automatic; that is, it is designed to keep feed available for the chickens. However, the capacity is limited. Still, it’s a great DIY chicken feeder idea, and your chickens would love it.
- 5 liter bottles (as many as you need)
- A couple of bottle holders (for the storage and the feeding units)
- Some woodwork to hold the feeders in place.
Dispenser Bottle Feeders
Yet another simple DIY automatic feeder design. All you need are two dispense bottles to make one feeder. The interesting part is that you can use the same design as a waterer for your chickens; a two-in-one solution.
This chicken feeder holds chicken feed in the entire 20 – 25 liter capacity of the dispenser bottle, which means that your chicken (depending on their population) will have feeds to last them for some time.
- Dispenser bottles
- Drilling machine
- Cutting machine
Recycled Plastic Bottle Feeder
This particular chicken feeder design is a creative masterpiece. It is designed to make the feeder stable, with a fair capacity. Moreover, it is not so high from the ground, hence, it’s perfect for chicks.
Building this feeder will definitely be worth it, and the process won’t even take up too much of your time (except for the 24 hours that you’ll leave the cement to get dry.
- Two Plastic bottles (different sizes)
- 6 – 3-inch pipe (dependinh on the size of the bottle cap).
- Soldering Iron
Hanging Bucket Chicken Feeder
If you have a large coop or outdoor poultry farm, this hanging bucket design will serve your flock well. The 25-gallon bucket can hold a lot of chicken feed to serve your birds for days, and it is designed to keep the feed dry, too.
Additionally, the required materials are inexpensive, and the process is not strenuous; it’s something you can do at your leisure.
- 25-gallon bucket
- Wooden block
- Drilling machine
- Hot air blower
- 4-inch PVC pipes
- Cutting machine
Simple Hanging PVC Feeder
When it comes to DIY chicken feeders, it does not get simpler than this. Just get a four-inch PVC pipe (wide enough so that the chickens do not get their head stuck in it) with a length of your choice.
Then, make two rows of large holes where the birds can easily access the feed. The chickens can feed from both sides of the feeder, making it suitable for a large flock. Then, you add the pipe caps to keep the feed in.
- PVC pipe
- Drilling machine
55 Gallon hopper Chicken Feeder
This is a BIG homemade chicken feeder design and it works well for poultry farmers with a large flock in an outdoor setting and who don’t have time to feed them frequently.
With this feeder, only come in to ensure that they’re feeding well or to put in the new feed. Sounds interesting, right?
- 55-gallon drum
- Measuring tape
- Six 4-inch PVC elbow joints
- Drilling machine
PVC Auto Gravity Feeder
This auto gravity feeder is great for your standalone chicken coop as it allows you to refill the chickens’ feed without necessarily entering the coop.
Here, the openings are some inches off the ground thereby keeping rodents away.
- Four-inch PVC pipe (8 ft long)
- PVC T-joint (4-inch)
- 45-degree elbow joint (4-inch)
- Iron bracelet
Plywood Chicken Feeder
This plywood chicken feeder has one thing in common with some of the ones listed above, and that’s simplicity. This feeder has boundaries that prevent rats and other pests from contaminating the feeds.
The design is simple to replicate, and it requires inexpensive materials.
- Measuring tape
- Drilling and cutting machine
Trash Can Feeder
If you want to upcycle garbage cans, here’s a suitable means. You can turn that trash can into an automatic chicken feeder by following a few simple steps.
The trash can feeder can hold enough feed to prevent frequent refilling. The feeder is waterproof, thanks to the materials. Also, it’s several pipe openings to feed many birds at the same time.
- 20-gallon trash container
- Mixing pan
- Cutting machine
- Bolts and nuts
Deciding the Best Design for You
Now, you may already have one or two of the designs above in mind to try out. But, before picking a specific DIY chicken feeder design, several factors must be considered.
So, let’s take a look at things that you should keep in mind:
- Flock size: Your flock’s size will determine the feeder’s capacity. A smaller flock may only require a small feeder, while a larger one requires a larger one.
- Feeding frequency: Consider how often you need to refill the feeder. If you cannot refill it regularly, you may need a larger feeder or a gravity feeder that can hold more feed.
- Material: Some materials may be more durable and long-lasting, while others may be more affordable or easier to work with. Generally, metals are more robust compared to plastic. Also, you’ve to consider the availability of such materials in your area.
- Cost: While homemade feeders can be more cost-effective than commercial models, some designs may be more expensive than others. Materials affect the overall cost of the design, and plastic materials are cheaper.
- Ease of use: The feeder should be easy to fill, clean, and maintain. A feeder that is difficult to use may not be practical for everyday use.
- Pest control: Consider how the feeder design can prevent pests like rats, mice, and insects from accessing the feed. A feeder that is not pest-resistant can lead to wasted feed and potential health hazards for your chickens.
Keeping Them New: Tips for Chicken Feeders Maintenance
Maintaining your chicken feeders is important to keep them in good condition and ensure your chickens have access to clean and hygienic feed. Plus, a proper maintenance culture helps you save the cost of frequent replacements.
Here are some tips for maintaining your chicken feeders:
- Clean the feeder regularly: Regular cleaning is crucial to keep your chicken feeders in good condition. Empty the feeder and remove any remaining feed. Wash the feeder thoroughly with warm soapy water, using a scrub brush or sponge to remove any caked-on feed or debris. Rinse the feeder well with clean water and allow it to dry completely before refilling it.
- Check for wear and tear: Regularly inspect your chicken feeders for signs of wear and tear. Look for cracks, dents, or other damage that could affect the integrity of the feeder or make it difficult to clean. If you notice any damage, repair or replace the feeder as needed.
- Protect against pests: Chicken feeders can attract pests like rodents and insects. Take measures to protect your feeders from pests by keeping them elevated off the ground and using feeders with covers or lids. Consider using a pest-resistant design, such as a PVC feeder, to further deter pests.
- Monitor feed quality: Make sure your feed is fresh and free of mold or contaminants. Feed that has been exposed to moisture or sitting in the feeder for too long can become spoiled, which can cause health problems for your chickens
- Rotate feeders: Consider rotating your feeders to allow them to dry completely between uses. This can help prevent mold and bacteria growth, which can affect the quality of the feed.
- Store feeders properly: When not in use, store your feeders in a clean, dry place. Ensure they are empty and dry before storing them to prevent mold or bacteria growth.
Homemade chicken feeders can have numerous benefits for both you and your flock.
Homemade feeders are often less expensive than store-bought options, and they can be customized to fit the specific needs of your chickens.
Additionally, making your own feeders allows you to use materials you already have on hand, reducing waste and saving money.
There are many different homemade chicken feeder ideas, including gravity feeders, milk jug feeders, etc. Each design has unique advantages and disadvantages, so trying different options and seeing what works best for your flock is important.
Remember, when choosing a homemade chicken feeder, it’s essential to consider factors such as ease of use, durability, and ease of cleaning. By taking these factors into account and regularly maintaining your feeders, you can provide your chickens access to clean, fresh feed while saving money and reducing waste.
So why not give a homemade chicken feeder a try? With a little creativity and some basic materials, you can create a feeder that meets the needs of your flock and helps keep them happy and healthy.