by Texas Homesteader ~
Chickens waste a LOT of feed! So we made an Inexpensive PVC chicken feeder that’s SUPPOSED to cut down on wasted feed. But did it work as advertised? Check it out & see…
Chickens Waste A LOT Of Feed!
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 or just attract vermin. But how…
I Hated The Waste Of All That Chicken Feed
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.
How To Reduce Waste When Feeding Chickens
So I experimented with various ways to make our own lower-waste chicken feeder. I used a plastic canister and a metal pan lid. It was easy to fill and sturdy.
But although it helped reduce the waste, way too much feed was still being wasted.
Meeting Another Chicken-Raising Homesteader
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.
Chicken Feed Bill Cut In HALF!!?? Well color me interested!
Building A PVC Chicken Feeder
RancherMan & I 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 PVC 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 own PVC chicken feeder:
PVC Chicken Feeder Materials:
(Note: All PVC pipe materials below are 3″ in diameter)
- (1) 5-ft length of PVC pipe to hold chicken feed
- (1) PVC Wye to make base for feeding tube
- (1) 5″ length of PVC pipe to raise feeding tube off the ground
- (1) 8″ length PVC pipe for feeding tube (amended from original 4-5″ length – see below)
- (3) PVC caps – one top, one bottom, one to close the feeding tube at night.
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 4-5″ 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 Chicken’s Feeding Tube For Less Waste
Well, the hens liked it just fine. But since the feeding tube PVC piece was initially cut only about 4″-5″ long, the chickens 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 8″ feeding tube, but the longer tube means that the pellets just fall back into the feeder.
So the pellets just bounce around inside and fall back into the bottom section of the feeding tube. Those slung pellets never hit the ground. That chicken feed is never wasted. YEA!
Applying PVC Caps To PVC Chicken Feeder
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 to be open all night!
Easy Backyard Chicken 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 in the chicken yard.
I usually replace the cap after several hours if I think they’re being a little too lazy during the day. I want them hungrier to eat a healthier free-ranging diet rich with grass & bugs to go along with their organic feed.
By closing up their free-choice feeder mid day they’ve built up a healthy appetite once they’re released to free range. I love that they track down and eat those grasshoppers destined to ruin my garden. And let me tell ya, those girls LOVE their job!
I double check to make sure the cap has been firmly placed over the feeding tube when I lock the chickens 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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