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

Chick feeder upgrade update

automatic chick feeder upgrade update with image of cute chicks in background

The new automatic chick feeder is a huge improvement over the first small plastic chick feeder we tried.

It's easier to load, and Anna feels like there's less waste.

I found a lid to fit on the top, but there's still a problem with chicks roosting on the bracket where the feeder hangs. I'll get around to fixing that one of these days.

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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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Use a piece of paper to make the shape for an appropriate sized steep cone (top-angle 45 degrees or less), then open it up to get a cone cut-out.

Take an old 5 gallon bucket, and cut off the bottom and the top edge. Slice the resulting cylinder open to get a sheet of thick plactic.

Transfer the paper cut-out to the plastic, and cut it along the lines. Roll up the plastic and use e.g. rivets or heavy staples to fix the cone shape. Put the cone on the feeder.

The angle of the cone and the slipperyness of the material working together should prevent chickens from roosting there.

Comment by Roland_Smith Mon Apr 16 18:34:05 2012
Roland --- We've considered adding a pointy, conical top like that to chicken waterers from time to time. I think it might be easier to make one out of metal flashing, though --- it's flexible and easy to work with (although the point would be a bit sharp if a chicken managed to fly directly onto it).
Comment by anna Mon Apr 16 20:42:49 2012

It's even easier to buy one; Get a right-sized funnel, and cut off the stem.

Alternatively, integrate it into the water container; make both sides conical, one side ending in a screw thread for the nipple, another side ending in an eye to hang it up from. This does mean that the waterer would have to be filled by unscrewing the nipple. And it would mean investing in a blow-molding tool.

Comment by Roland_Smith Tue Apr 17 02:05:14 2012
If you can provide enough roosts that are higher than the feeder, it reduces the likelihood of it being used. My chickens always seem to compete for the highest roosts that they can get to, unless they are feeling broody and stay around the eggs. I use similar feeders but I have decided not to hang them, rather I use a couple of cement blocks to prop them up, which makes it less interesting for the chickens to roost on them.
Comment by David Tue Apr 17 10:58:47 2012

Roland --- Another reader was talking about using a funnel on a differnt post --- it took me a second to figure out that you weren't both commenting the same thing on the same post. :-)

We considered making a fancy shaped waterer a bit like that, but ended up deciding not to just yet. Not only would it cost a lot to get something specially made, we'd also have to find a place to store them all....

David --- I suspect you're on the right track. I think this spot is enticing not just because of height (there are perches just as high elsewhere), but because the chick on top of the feeder can look out the door and the observation window easily. I like your idea of deleting the whole hanging option and just setting the feeder on blocks.

Comment by anna Tue Apr 17 17:17:49 2012

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