My attention has now turned to my chickens dining requirements and more particularly chicken feeders. Thankfully, fine bone china plates and crystal glasses are not required for chickens. Though I quickly found out that expensive feeders can certainly be found, though more affordable alternatives are also available for a fraction of the price. I found a huge range of feeders in all types of shapes and sizes, ranging from small plastic dishes (these were disproportionately red in colour) with clear tops to large metal dispensers.
I then saw an interesting option which involved building my own chicken feeder. This sounded like a terrible idea and a fast track method for mass chicken carnage. Not to be discouraged, I continued reading…
The DIY chicken feeders seemed to come in two distinct varieties. The first is essentially a big bucket with a series of holes in the side of the bucket towards the base. Then to stop the feed reaching the floor, a plate or baking tray with raised edges. Simple, but this would not be making the front cover of Vogue any time soon. Though the costs associated with these were attractively placed at below $1. The second option seemed to come from a plumbers work bag, and involves butchering the kitchen sink. Well the pipe work beneath! This option involves a short length of pipe and a ‘U’ bend section. By this I am referring to the thicker plastic pipes and not the thin copper pipes which would be putting our poor chickens on a rather strict diet. Push fit the two pieces together and its ready to go. You fill up the longer section of pipe or the bucket and the ‘U’ bend or plate fills with the food.
These devices provide an automated feeder for the chickens, as the chickens eat the plate refills from the bucket and likewise for the ‘U’ bend. Commercially available feeders often work in similar manner. I wasn’t comfortable with the DIY option as the buckets that I had lying around the house at the right size had all come with hazardous materials and the smaller devices I had did not seem large enough. So I opted for a commercially available unit.
I found that the self feeding system could save time and effort, but needed to be checked on a daily basis to ensure that they had enough feed in them and the feed had not got stuck. The feeders can clog and if your chickens are not cared for daily then this can be fatal. I found a good checklist of things for selecting my chicken feeder:
• They should be able to hold at least one days supply of chicken feed
• They should allow all chickens to eat at the same time
• They should prevent the chickens from scratching out the feed and wasting it
• They should be easy to clean