The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Automatic chick feeder upgrade

new automatic chick feeder installation tip

Our new chicks have outgrown their small automatic feeder.

The new one cost around 15 dollars.

A large shelf bracket with a mug hook is all it took to rig it so it can be suspended off the ground.

We had a small debate on the issue of making a lid for it. It didn't come with one, but now that I'm looking at this picture I'm thinking I might need to think about one if they figure out how to roost on the bracket.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Sorry, I am probably being daft.

What is automatic? I looked at the other post about the small automatic feeder, and I didn't see anything automatic about that.. Is there something not pictured?

I have used those long red feeders with the holes in the past.. I have grown to dislike them. They are difficult to fill, and the chicks stand on top of them anyway and poop into the holes.

My best solution has been to use the Kuhl 5-lb chick feeder pictured here:

I use it from start to finish in the brooder. I set it up on some 2x4s laid flat to elevate it for the newly hatched. As they grow I raise it up with another layer of 2x4s. Eventually they start standing on top of it, but it has a lid. And that is the point at which we need to get them out of the brooder anyway.

I also start with a couple of baby chick 1-gal waterers: (Pardon me for darkening your blog with another kind of drinker!!) I use that until they are emptying it daily; by that time they are big enough to peck at a nipple. When do you start them on the nipple?

I love your brooder heater thing.. that may be my next improvement.

This is the first spring in a few years that we have not had new chicks. We are consumed with 10 baby goats right now. In the past we have had both.. that pushed my husband's tolerance for farm life to the outer limit.. :) Sometimes you have to go a little too far to find out how much is just right.

We will get some chicks started later in the summer to replenish the layer flock, then a couple of flocks of meat birds through the fall.

Keep up the good work with your homestead and your blog! I escape the cube farm vicariously every day through your posts!

All the best,

Comment by Suzanne Fri Apr 13 10:51:27 2012

Suzanne --- The feeders are automatic only in that they hold more food than a chicken can eat in one sitting. We're not sold on either type of automatic feeder, but I'm actually not sold on the concept of an automatic feeder either. I'm experimenting with using them for broiler chicks, but if the feed to meat ratio is below what it was when I hand-fed, we'll be going back to the old way. If we do decide that automatic feeders make sense, we may try the feeder you recommend.

We start our chicks on our nipple waterers from day 1. They find them right away, and it prevents all the mess of poopy waterers and the health-hazard of damp bedding. Plus, I'm lazy, so only having to fill the waterer once a week or so is a plus. :-)

I know what you mean about having to step back from doing everything! Sometimes it's better to get there more slowly and stay sane....

Comment by anna Fri Apr 13 11:16:19 2012
I have a feeder exactly like yours and we put an upside down plastic funnel to cover the top opening. The string that the feeder hangs from goes right through the funnel and out the small opening. It works great! I happened to have the perfect sized funnel sitting around, but I wonder if the top portion of a 2 lt bottle would work?
Comment by Xanthe Mon Apr 16 10:21:09 2012
Xanthe --- Sounds like a good anti-perch top! Mark had a plastic lid for another container that fit on this pretty well, but it's getting pooped on due to chickens sitting on the bracket above. We'll probably tweak it a bit to eliminate the poop, since that seems to be the theme of our chicken-keeping career. :-)
Comment by anna Mon Apr 16 16:15:14 2012
If you get some relatively long electricians plastic cable ties, fix them around the prospective perch with the tails sticking up,works a treat.absolutely love your blog,I`m English living The Life in rural France, it appears we have very similar countryside and situation ,keep up the good work
Comment by Bob Stevens Tue Apr 17 06:42:47 2012

Bob --- That's an interesting idea --- definitely one I hadn't heard before.

And I'm thrilled to hear from a regular reader in France!

Comment by anna Tue Apr 17 17:12:54 2012

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