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

Best do it yourself automatic chicken feeder

best do it yourself automatic chicken feeder

I've seen a lot of automatic chicken feeder designs and I think this simple use of PVC pipe with a cut out trough is an idea that works the best if you need to leave your flock for a few days and you want the feed to be automatically replenished with the help of gravity.

Usually I see these projects from afar on the internet, but today Anna and I were lucky enough to see this setup first hand when we got a chance to visit Everett and Missy's new awesome farm today.

I could even see a version of this being practical in a chicken tractor if someone was needing to be away more than a couple of days at a time.

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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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Coupled with some decent-sized nipple waterers (more than one, for redundancy), you could leave your chooks for many days with that kind of setup. Of course they'd probably be contentedly sitting on the eggs when you returned :-).
Comment by Darren (Green Change) Sun Aug 1 08:03:49 2010
You guessed it! They actually turned one of our do it yourself kits into two bucket waterers for that very reason.
Comment by anna Sun Aug 1 08:45:34 2010
I went on the Tour de Coops here in Portland, OR recently. I saw a feeder like this for 3 chickens. Instead of the trough, the pipe was finished with an open-ended U-joint, just high enough for chickens to eat from. The other end had a removable cap for pouring in the feed.
Comment by Bladerunner Sun Aug 1 18:44:41 2010
Everett and Missy actually had one like that too, I believe. But they liked the trough approach because it let more chickens eat at once --- less chance for the flock leader to hog dinner.
Comment by anna Sun Aug 1 19:25:43 2010

Bladerunner, we use that U-shaped setup for our turkeys since their long necks can easily dip in there. As Anna said, I like the longer trough type of setup so several chickens can eat at once.

And thanks to the 5-gallon bucket automatic chicken waterers we put in with Anna and Marks' product, we can leave for weekend trips without having to worry about our spoiled little flock. They'll be mad at us when we return, but that's nothing some leftover cornbread won't take care of.

Comment by Everett Mon Aug 2 16:33:27 2010
Ok we built a similar feeder to this but our's constantly jams up in the elbow and the feed won't flow down into the trough. I have a 5 gallon bucket that has the vertical pipe coming off of the bottom, then the 90 turn to the trough pipe. The bucket is full of feed and will last a week. However, the feed never flows past the elbow. I have to go and bump it to get the feed to slide over. I used 1 1/2 inch PVC. Maybe I should have gone much bigger. Any ideas where I went wrong?
Comment by Jessica Sun Sep 9 12:51:02 2012
Jessica --- Hmm, I'd guess that maybe your pipe is too small, but I'm not sure. I think that hardware stores often have gentler turns --- maybe try two 45 degree angles rather than one 90 degree one?
Comment by anna Sun Sep 9 19:03:51 2012
I have purchased 23 chickens i build a coop out of industrail cage, made coop 8 feet by 5 feet the bottom and sides all cage going put sideing on it before winter. also made run 25 feet by 90 feet completly netted. i noticed chicken poop in food and water. every day clean and feed. so i made a feeder thats poopless,rainless,and only feeds them the portion of food i whant to give them in a day,i made it out of pvc, took 4 inch about 36 inch long and drilled 12 2 inch holes down one side than same on other side 24 holes. then took 3 inch pvc and monted it on top of 4 inch pvc. than made an auger out of pvc and put inside 3 inch pvc than put dc motor on augar, then made a pvc shoot into 3 inch pvc to load feed on top of auger. timer turns motor on, auger moves feed down 3 inch pvc and fills 4 inch pvc with 23 2 inch holes once feed gets to the end of 3 inch pvc, the auger motor turns off by a photo eye. then motor does not come back on until next day. its a true automatied feeder. next going to do a watering system. (poopless)
Comment by Anonymous Fri Jun 13 20:26:11 2014
Curious-what is the waste of food like? To clarify are they able to flick the grain out? We made a home made treadle feeder and like the look and that it is hard for them to poop into, but found that they can scoop a lot of the feed out. Before I try another option, just want to double check about the down side of it. What do you think can be improved upon? Thx so much.
Comment by Christine Watson Sun Oct 26 20:33:18 2014
How long can chickens be left on their own with this system? My family just got a cottage and I'm considering trying to convince them to keep chickens in the big crawlspace underneath (it's in Ontario so that's the only place that might stay warm enough in the winter). We're planning on going up there most weekends, maybe every weekend. We live in a city where chickens are banned else I'd try keep them at home. Is there any automatic chicken feeder that would work for longer periods of time? Are there any problems you've encountered with this system?
Comment by Anonymous Fri Oct 31 04:03:40 2014

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