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Homemade Backyard Chicken Feeders for Poultry Farming

Views: 2023     Author: LONGMU     Publish Time: 2023-06-06      Origin: LONGMU


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This easy-build DIY project will provide your flock with a large homemade chicken feeder that can be rolled around your property. You only need a barrel, some wood, and a few pieces of hardware — all of which can be upcycled — to make this no-waste chicken feeder.

The first time I saw a chicken watering nipple, it felt like a Christmas miracle. I remember thinking, “Why isn’t there something similar in the form of a homemade chicken feeder?”

Maybe it’s because they’re tried-and-true and inexpensive to manufacture. But plastic chicken feeders tend to break. Poultry birds like to perch on a metal poultry feeder’s top rim and do their business over the edge, into the feed. Neither of these feeder types will keep feed dry outdoors, which is where chickens like to eat.

The feed is positioned in a water barrel overhead and will fall to the ground, where poultry like to eat. Birds peck overhead at the feeder until — bless their short attention spans — some food falls down, and they forget about pecking until they’ve scratched at what’s on the ground.

This design has many great features. First, because the feeder hole is on the bottom of the barrel holding the food, it’s protected from the weather. Second, it wastes less feed, because the latter is released only upon interest, and then the interest shifts quickly to the ground. Third, because the opening is upside-down and high off the ground, it’s particularly difficult for rodents to access.

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Build a Better No-Waste Chicken Feeder

At the center of this homemade chicken feeder project is a plastic 55-gallon drum for holding the feed. Why so big? It is meaning you no need to check the levels of poultry feeds often. Having a huge, full barrel also provides ballast for the inevitable wind gusts, which would play ninepins with a smaller poultry bucket. To build this design, you can also use a trash can, a lidded metal drum, or even a 5-gallon chicken bucket. Be sure to use a clean, dry barrel or bucket that’s never been used to store toxic substances.

By a miracle of coincidence or of ingenious design, the top of most larger plastic gallon buckets narrows just before flaring into a big lip. If you cut off the top where it’s skinniest, you can flip the lid upside-down so the flared lip will form an overlapping seal on the now-open barrel top, which is where you’ll eventually be pouring in the feed. Cut off the lid with a handsaw or reciprocating saw, and then tighten the existing bung and caulk it closed, because rainwater will accumulate on the lid, and you don’t want it to leak into the barrel and spoil the feed.

To create the feeder hole, drill a small hole in the center of the bottom of the barrel. If you have a big flock, drill several holes. The great thing about the no-wastechicken feeders are that food will issue from these holes only when the chickens peck — but you will need to install a device to prevent feed from pouring freely through the hole (or holes) except when the birds want it. As with a chicken drinker nipple, the device should wobble inside the hole. The easiest thing for you to do will be to insert an eye bolt, threads-down, into this hole. In operation, the birds will peck at the threaded bottom, causing the loop to stir the poultry fodder and drop it to the ground below.

The size of the feeder hole will depend on what you’re feeding your chickens— drill larger holes for coarser food — and how much food you want to fall out at a time. If you’re using a plastic barrel and you’ve got a heavy predator population, you may want to glue or caulk a large fender washer over each hole to prevent it from being enlarged by gnawing. I like to keep a few fender washers around for when I’m varying the feed, because I’ll end up with a lot of food on the ground if I’m feeding cracked corn through a hole that was drilled for pellets. To govern the flow of fine feed, I simply select a washer with a smaller hole and put it over the top of the existing feeder hole. The eye bolt keeps it in place.

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If some of your birds are reluctant to start pecking, pick them up and gently nuzzle the feeder bolt with their head, and they’ll learn quickly.

You also could fashion a large funnel for the bottom of the barrel interior so the food would slide to the feeder hole when it got low.

A Frame to Keep Your Homemade Chicken Feeder Moving

To keep the feed barrel off the ground, you could built a sturdy wooden frame on wheels, which allow it to be moved with relative ease. When you assemble the wheeled cart for your own feed barrel, consider who’ll be moving and filling it, where that person will be wheeling it, and the wind. Old lawn mower wheels will work, but larger pneumatic wheels will be less likely to sink into wet ground and easier to roll.

Take the wheels and their mounting position into account when deciding on the height of the cart of this large chicken feeder DIY project. I like to have the bottom of the barrel about 20 inches off the ground. If a smaller person would be moving the cart, I’d place the filled feed barrel closer to the wheels to give the operator more leverage. Too far over the wheels, though, and the barrel will be prone to upending if other animals lean on it, the wind is strong, or the operator hits a bump while rolling. Some flock owners may find it necessary to keep a small stepladder nearby for filling purposes. After the barrel is filled, I secure the lid in place with bungee cords.

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