by Texas Homesteader ~
One thing I noticed when we first bought chickens several years ago was how wasteful they were. They use their beaks & sweep their feed from side to side.
That ends up slinging their food out of the feeder. And all that feed is wasted! The first time I cleaned out the coop I started to sweep out the hay bedding and found it was heavy with wasted feed & grain. I was so frustrated.
Dang girls, were you raised in a barn? (Oh, yeah right, strike that…)
Still, I needed a way to reduce the waste the chickens made with their feed. It does neither them nor me any good to have purchased feed dumped on the ground and tread upon. But how…
As I watched them once again sweep their beaks across their feed dish, scattering that expensive feed out and upon the ground, I sighed.
Hey, we’re feeding these girls organic layer pellets, and that’s not chicken feed ya know…
Oh, maybe it *is* chicken feed…
But it’s too expensive to be wasteful & sweep it out of the coop & onto the ground! There’s got to be a way to keep them from wasting so much.
So I experimented with various ways to make our own lower-waste chicken feeder. Although it helped reduce the waste, way too much feed was still being wasted.
I was so excited to finally meet her! She’d mentioned that she too was frustrated with the feed her chickens wasted.
So she and her hubs built a PVC Chicken Feeder (you can read about her feeder here). I asked her how effective it was and she said her feed bill was cut in half.
Feed Bill Cut In HALF!!?? Well color me interested!
Building The PVC Chicken Feeder
We decided on a 3″ diameter feeder. Want to know the technical & scientific reason why we chose 3-inch? Well it was because we already had some that size in the shed! LOL #UseWhatchaGot, y’all. That’s always been my battle cry.
Here’s a list of what we used to assemble our PVC chicken feeder:
PVC Chicken Feeder Materials:
(Note: All PVC pipe materials below are 3″ in diameter)
- (1) 5-ft length of PVC pipe
- (1) PVC Wye
- (1) 5″ length of PVC pipe
- (1) 8″ length PVC pipe (amended from 4-5″ length – see below)
- (3) PVC caps
So first RancherMan scrounged for a 5-foot long piece of the 3″ PVC pipe we had stored away from a previous project. Then he added a matching 3″ PVC Wye. This will allow a feeding tube for the chickens.
To the wye he added the 5″ length to the bottom to make a foot of sorts to hold the feeding tube off the ground. Finally he added the 8″ length of PVC to serve as the feeding tube for the chickens.
He put this feeder together in minutes and we strapped it to a t-post in the chicken run to make sure it stayed upright. Now we stood back to see how the girls liked it.
Amending The Feeding Tube For Less Waste
Well, the hens liked it just fine. But since the feeding tube PVC piece was initially cut about 4″-5″ long and they were still able to reach in & sling lots of feed out.
This would be an easy adjustment. RancherMan cut a replacement piece about 8″ long and replaced the shorter feeding tube with it. That seemed to stop the waste.
The chickens are still able to sling the feed pellets around within the feeding tube, but the longer tube means that the pellets fall back into the feeder. So the pellets bounce around and fall back into the bottom section of the feeding tube. Those slung pellets never hit the ground. YEA!
Applying PVC Caps
What about those PVC caps I mentioned? Well one of the caps was attached on the bottom of the wye so no feed will touch the ground.
Another cap was applied on top where we pour the feed in to fill the feeder. That top cap keeps out rain so our feed doesn’t get wet & moldy.
The third cap goes on the end of the feeding tube to close it up when the girls are put up for the night. I don’t want rats or mice finding this all-you-can-eat buffet open all night!
Easy Feeding Routine
Now in the morning when I let the girls out of their coop for the day I remove the cap on the feeding tube. They enjoy their own little buffet all day long.
I usually replace the cap after several hours if I think they’re being a little too lazy during the day and want them to eat a healthier free-ranging diet rich with grass & bugs to go along with their organic feed. That way they’ve got an appetite once they’re released to free range. I love that they track down and eat those grasshoppers destined to ruin my garden.
But the cap always goes back on when I lock them up at night. That keeps other wildlife such as mice or rats from finding the mother lode and thinking it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet served especially for them.
I hate when mice use the buffet line – they’re terrible tippers. 😉
My friend Cheryl was absolutely right – this little feeder really does reduce (or even eliminate) wasted feed. I love it.
It’s taken only a very few dollars and a few minutes time to make it ourselves with most PVC materials we already owned. And the amount of wasted chicken food has plummeted.
That’s an all around financial/environmental win. Thanks for the tip, Cheryl!
(Note: If wild birds start enjoying your chicken feeder as much as your chickens do, you can use this Homestead Hack to keep birds away from your feeder!)
That swinging multi-colored CD has been 100% successful in keeping the wild birds out of our purchased chicken feed. SCORE!
- How To Teach Free-Range Chickens To Come HOME
- Breaking The Broody Hen
- What Color Eggs Will My Chickens Lay?
- MYO Low-Waste Chicken Feeder
- Keeping Wild Birds Away From Your Chicken Feeder
- Nutritional Difference Of Free-Range Eggs
- How To Protect Seedlings From Free-Range Hens
- Keeping Our Chickens Mite Free
- How To Get Free Chicken Food
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