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What Kind of Broiler Feeder And Drinker Should You Buy?

Views: 2024     Author: LONGMU     Publish Time: 2024-04-28      Origin: LONGMU


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To safely deliver the nutrition and hydration that your hens need requires a couple of important devices that make it easy. Drinkers and feeders are essential to not only take care of your hens but also retain your sanity.

If you are wanting to save money you can always use a bowl for feed and water but they will encourage spilling, contamination and wastage. You will also find yourself frequently replenishing your water and feed bowls which will take up time and drive you crazy during the summer when hens are thirsty.


Feeders are devices that provide the right flow of feed to your hens whenever they feel hungry. They come in different shapes and forms, but it is important that you match your feeder to the number and breed of hen that you have, along with your available time.

You can waste a lot of money on buying a feeder that is either too big or small for your needs, is of poor quality, or is set up wrong so that it wastes feed. As a rule of thumb, a 5kg feeder will keep a pair of actively laying hens fed for around 20 days and six hens for around six days.

Always ask about the amount of feed needed for each breed of chicken you own, being mindful of any scraps you might regularly give them. Remember that the more your laying hens eat, the better their egg production will be, as long as they are eating high-quality ingredients.

Common types of feeders

The most common types of feeders include:

·Bell feeders

·Tread-on feeders

·Fixed feeders

The most common (and inexpensive), type of chicken feeder for the backyard chicken keeper is the bell feeder. Bell feeders are shaped like a bell and have a moat around them where hens can access their feed. It’s useful to have some adjustment options for the flow of feed in case the feed you use is of different consistencies.

Of course, all bell feeders are not created equal. Imported ones from certain countries are often cheap and of poor quality, and can quickly break, requiring replacement. They will also tend to be missing any form of feed flow adjustment which can cause problems.

It is best to hang your bell feeder on a chain with a hook at the end to hang the feeder on. The “moat” should be hung around 100 mm from the ground for the smaller hybrid layer hens like the Hy-line Brown (from 16 weeks), so that their backs are flat or parallel to the ground. This will reduce any wastage of feed and make it more difficult for rodents and bugs to access the feed.

Another feeder that is quite a bit more expensive, but often a worthwhile investment, is the tread-on feeder. This type of feeder reduces feed losses due to wild birds eating feed meant for your hens. It is more box-like in shape and works by opening once a minimum weight is applied to the platform in front of the feed box. The box then opens allowing the hen access to the feed.

Our selection of feeders guarantees a high-quality solution for whatever your needs are. Our Stainless Steel Feeders are a tried and true, classic choice, and we would recommend the Chooktred feeder for anyone looking to save money over the long term. We also have plastic feeders and tripod feeders available if you’re looking for a more economical solution.


Your hens must receive enough clean water, which is essential for health and good egg production. Laying hens will consume around 220 mL of water each day on average, with more or less consumed depending on the climate.

Using a good drinking device will make it easy for your hens to access water and reduce the amount of dirt or debris getting into it. Poorly designed drinkers will just encourage spilling and contamination of the water.

Always ask how much your breed of hen will drink on average each day then multiply this figure by the number of hens you own of that breed. Once you know your daily water needs, you’ll be able to purchase a good drinker that is right for your situation and your available time. As an example, a flock of five Hy-Line Brown hens will consume around 1.1 liters of water each day.

Don’t forget to clean your drinker periodically and watch for any signs of gunk or slime, as you’ll want to remove it immediately. Poor quality water is a key reason for poor hen health and laying, yet is often overlooked. Also, don’t forget to check your flock’s water supply daily as they won’t last more than 48 hours without it!

Common types of drinkers

The most common types of drinkers include:

·Bell drinkers

·Tripod drinkers

·Fixed drinkers

The bell drinker is the most common form of drinking device used by backyard chicken owners. They look almost identical to the bell feeder and have a moat around the bottom, but don’t tend to have any water flow adjustment mechanism or a hanging loop.

They should sit firmly on a brick or platform so that the back of your hens are flat or inclined slightly upwards when facing the drinker. By elevating your bell drinker the water will stay cleaner and it will be easier for hens to consume the water as they aren’t able to swallow like us humans and instead tip their heads back and rely on gravity.

The lack of any water flow mechanism isn’t a problem as the viscosity of water doesn’t really change too much. Hanging the drinker isn’t the best as hens will tend to knock the drinker, making it rock and spill water which should be avoided.

We have curated a selection of the best drinkers to suit every backyard chicken owner’s needs in our online store. From the durable Stainless Steel Drinkers to the more economical plastic bell drinkers, we have high-quality options for all budget ranges and flock size.

Please feel free to contact us if you would like more specific guidance.

“What laying hens should I buy?”

This is often one of the first questions asked by those wanting to buy good backyard laying hens from a “laying hens for sale” ad. For some who have ended up owning chickens after their kinder or primary school’s “chicken appreciation program”, the question may be “what chicken do I now own?”

It’s important to know exactly what type of chicken you have along with its breed, otherwise you might just find your new laying hens don’t lay! Some chickens are roosters (cockerels), which won’t endear you to your neighbours or council, while some breeds of hen are poor layers but big eaters. Other breeds are only good for meat and will have poor health if kept for long.

Meat and egg chickens – what’s the difference?

Chickens that have been bred for eggs have very different qualities from chickens bred for meat. It’s important to know what the main differences are between them so that you aren’t disappointed after buying your chickens only to find out they aren’t doing what you expected.

In Australia, the commercial meat chicken is called a “broiler” and tends to be either a Cobb or a Ross breed, with both being hybrids and poor egg layers. Broiler chickens can be roosters or hens depending on market demands and are “harvested” at between five and seven weeks of age. Commercial egg-laying breeds are exclusively hens and tend to be either a Hy-Line Brown or ISA Brown breed.

Laying hens grow at a much slower rate than meat chickens, with most commercial layers reaching a maximum body weight of 2kg at around 30 weeks of age. Broilers on the other hand, will grow rapidly from a day-old chick to reach around 2kg at just five weeks of age and over 3kg at around seven weeks.

Laying hens only start to produce their first eggs between 18 to 24 weeks of age, while the Cobb and Ross broilers won’t get anywhere near their potential laying age of around 21 weeks (if hens). Most broiler breeds also need careful feed and health management to be capable of laying eggs at all.

Different laying hens

Laying hens are, as the name suggests, hens that lay eggs. For this post, we will focus on the main egg-laying breeds of hens used in Australia rather than pure-breed hens or broiler chickens.

The physical size of the hen is of critical importance to egg farmers, as the larger the bird the more it will tend to eat. As high-quality chicken feed is expensive (but essential in producing large numbers of high-quality eggs), large breeds of hen are simply too expensive to feed.

For this reason, there are four excellent egg-laying breeds of hen available in Australia, but only two are used to produce eggs for the market. Both of the commercially farmed breeds are hybrids and are relatively small in size, yet are prolific layers of good-quality eggs.

Hy-Line Brown

The American company Hy-Line International was founded in 1936 and is now the largest supplier of egg-laying hens in the world. Their Hy-Line Brown hen is now used by the majority of egg farmers and an increasing number of backyard chicken keepers in Australia.

Hy-Line Brown facts:

·Will lay around 360 eggs in its first year/season

·Lays good quality, brown-shelled eggs

·Very placid and friendly

·Grows to a maximum weight of around 1.9kg

·Produces eggs with strong shells and excellent internal egg quality

·One of the best feed-to-egg efficiency of all layer hens


The Australian Australorp is a breed of hen developed right here in Australia. They are good layers but are quite large birds so tend to eat relatively more than the ISA or Hy-Line Browns.

Australorp facts:

·Will lay around 300 eggs in its first year/season

·Lays brown-shelled eggs

·A relatively large chicken up to 3.5kg in weight

·It does not have a great feed-to-egg conversion rate, so not used by egg farmers

ISA Brown

Brown hen (Institut de Sélection Animale), is a hybrid breed developed in 1978. It is now widely used around the world due to the number of eggs it lays and the quality of its eggs.

·Will lay around 320 eggs in its first year/season

·Lays good quality, brown-shelled eggs

·Grows to a maximum weight of around 2kg

·Very good feed-to-egg conversion rate

White Leghorn

The White Leghorn is a breed with origins in Tuscany, Italy. It was popular as a commercial, white-egg layer in the 70s and 80s. When white eggs became less popular it was replaced by the ISA Brown and Hy-Line Brown breeds.

White Leghorn Facts:

·Will lay around 280 eggs in its first year/season

·Lays white-shelled eggs

·Grows to a maximum weight of around 2.4kg

·Flighty and not great around adults or children

Having chickens for eggs

If you are wanting to own a friendly, high-quality laying hen that won’t cost too much to feed it is hard to look past the Hy-Line Brown. Not only are they great with children but they will lay an egg nearly every day in their first year of laying.

My daughter Bella has picked up and carried any of our Hy-Line hens that have gone wandering on the farm since she was two, and has never been pecked or scratched. She is now very comfortable with all animals and her experience with our Hy-Line hens has definitely helped.

The egg quality from a Hy-Line Brown hen is also excellent if fed on a high-quality diet in conjunction with a good, green pasture. One of the key reasons why Hy-Line developed the bird was for its internal egg quality with clear, firm egg white and large creamy yolks.

The Hy-Line hen’s consumption of feed is also very low for its egg production which means it is very efficient with converting nutrients and energy into eggs. Egg farmers understand that this ability sustains their business, but it also means that backyard Hy-Line owners can greatly reduce feeding and egg purchasing costs over time.

Longmu devote to supply livestock solutions. We are always happy to answer all your questions.
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