Thursday, November 8, 2012

A new feeder!

Ah, I told you I would eventually show you how I made the feeder.
I'm finally back to show ya. :-D

This is the feeder that I had for my 3 wonderful little girls.
As a feeder it was well... it held the food. Until they flicked it out onto the ground that is. The sides of the feeder that hold the food are not high because it's designed for feeding chicks. It only held a 2 day supply of food. 3 days at most and I don't know at what point on day 3 they would run out. Probably fairly early in the day as they tend to wake up hungry.

It served us well for a few months. I raised it up above their backs to help with keeping them from flicking as much onto the ground. But, still it was a pain to fill and it needed filled a lot. In addition I knew that as the winter months approached I would see less of my flock during daylight hours so filling the feeder during the week would become excessively difficult. I could have gotten another feeder identical to this one and had enough food for the week probably, but the feeder costs around $19. Seemed to me that I could come up with something better than that for the price!

Knowing that we travel a lot to Alabama for extended weekends, and in the winter for weeks at a time I also knew we needed a LARGE capacity feeder that I wouldn't have to worry about getting jammed up. Something that the chickens themselves would be able to keep the food flowing.
I started looking around and lucky for me we have an abundance of 5 gallon buckets around here.
So, I started looking around a little and found a few designs I liked and then modified them to what I needed. I needed something that was more or less one sided, so I could put it into a corner or at least against the protected underside of their coop. Dryness is a definite factor in keeping the food safe for them to eat (fungus/mildew) and to keep the food flowing freely as well.

So, I took the 5 gallon bucket and I used the hole saw...
OK I tried to use a spade bit first. It did NOT go well. Don't do what I did. Get the hole saw out. It works better. trust me. Don't hurt yourself or others. Drill hole where you want them. Most people drill 4-6 holes uniformly around the bucket. But as I said I want the girls to eat mainly from one side.

Does a round bucket have sides?
Ah, yes here we have the3 holes I drilled, and I stuck some tape over the hole of a very tall funnel. The picture is deceiving. It looks open and small. It isn't. Anyway the funnel helps ensure that the feed in the back isn't getting stuck there. I'll probably look for an even larger funnel int he future but again, the bucket was in my garage as was the funnel.

photo compliments of TSC.
From here I did have to look around a bit for a pan to put under the bucket to catch the feed. I had one that would have worked just fine, but may have allowed the girls to bill their feed out similarly to the first feeder. Well- that would be a waste of effort so I decided it was worth my effort to go to the Tractor Supply store near me for this:

Big spender that I am you know I didn't want to spend $20 on a prefab feeder and I wasn't spending $20 on an oil pan. This seemed to be the perfect solution! $4.29 later and I was back in business. OK I admit it I tried the shallower dish first. I almost had a completely free feeder. It would have worked, but I REALLY wanted something that they were not flinging the food out of. It just  really disturbs me when they waste their food. I admit it. I am cheap!

Anyway. At this point I put it all back together and here is what I got.

BEAUTIFUL. Oh, no. Not beautiful, but it works beautifully. I don't actually snap the lid on each time. It just rests on top and I have a little 1/2 brick that stays on it instead. It works perfectly to keep the critters out and since the whole thing is kept under the coop they can't perch on it anyway.

It's super easy to fill, and the capacity is more than enough for our little flock for a week. I'm still extremely concerned leaving them for so long. 1 week makes me worry, but 2 weeks makes me SO concerned! I just know that NO ONE can love them like I do.

But, at least I know that they will have plenty of fresh food and water while I'm gone.

This feeder can be modified for any kind of critter. Dog, cat, rabbit, well - maybe not a turtle but most land animals anyway!

Just be sure that your bucket is clean (VERY important) and that your top is secure, or can be secured if needed.  Food left out is an attractant to other critters.

If you've built one or are thinking about building one for your chickens also remember to raise it up. Mine sits on some blocks. The feeder should rest at about the height of the animals backs to help contain any messes that they make. Ergonomically this makes sense, too. Less pain in the neck. ;-)  The feeder can even be hung if you attach the bucket to the pan with a nut and bolt first. This would help keep rodents from getting into the feeder and keep the mess down as well. I simply don't have a place to hang mine.

Told you I've been busy. It seems like every weekend our projects are over the top. This week we made tables out of old pallets. That won't make it on the blog because our hands were full working full time together and no one thought to take a picture. Too bad, too they came out good. Did I mention the pallets were METAL!?

See ya soon!


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