You’ve got to see the video of this one to see just how easy it is to build. Plus, once you have it built your chore of feeding the poultry will be so much easier as well.
What we decided to use for this automatic chicken feeder is literally the least expensive large trash can that’s available at my hardware store. I would rather have had a flat sided garbage can but all of those had wheels on them, and those wheels took up too much space and I would not have been able to put as many feeding holes in as I wanted, so I went with this one instead figuring if I made a mistake, at least I didn’t spend too much money on the garbage can and it’s worked perfectly fine since doing this project.
The DIY Chicken Feeder Project
The concept is a simple one – The pipes in the feeding holes keep the food inside the container and gravity keeps the food always available for the chickens. Sounds simple, right? That’s because it is!
Props must be given to RobBobs Backyard Farming on YouTube. He had a similar video that spurred me towards making my own, larger, automatic feeder. Thanks for the idea, Rob!
One tip that Rob had that worked great for me is running the hole saw in reverse. Doing so sort of peels off the plastic rather than ripping into the plastic and all of my holes came out nice and smooth without any problems, so certainly an idea for you to use as well.
Picking the Materials
For our size of container and number of chickens we went with placing 6 feeding holes. I placed them as equally spaced as I could get them taking into account the raised ridges on the bottom of the garbage can, so watch for any obstacles you might have on your can.
The 90 degree pipe I used is 3″ in diameter. One side is female, the other is male.
On the female end, cut out a section of the edge of the pipe that is about 1″ tall about 1/3″ of the total circumference of the pipe. This is where the feed will be accessible to the poultry. While it doesn’t strictly matter where on the edge this cut is made, we would recommend using the “inside” edge, the side where the elbow is.
Chickens just love to scratch and throw their food around. To help cut down on waste you can use a pipe cap to make a lip that holds in the feed the birds try to drag out. This is why you want one end of the pipe to be male – so the end cap can fit over it. Cut a window out of the end cap for the chickens to stick their head through. The cap also helps hold the pipe in place.
I used a Dremel tool to do all my cutting and it worked really well. I made some rough cuts and then came back around later and cleaned it up a bit.
Here’s how the whole thing kind of fits together and that’s why you want to have one pipe that’s got the male and female end on the elbow rather than one that’s female and female.
Alright, now that just slides in from the inside out and on the outside I’m putting the cap on and that just holds it in place.
Feeding the Poultry
If you make a smaller container or if you expect that the feed will be very low at times you can attach blocks of wood to the pipes and then attach the block of wood to the bottom of the container (screw in from the bottom). The blocks will help hold the pipes in place if the food gets too low. We never bothered doing that and haven’t have any problems – just know it is an option if you see the pipes are twisting and turning too much for your liking.
So, here’s the birds using it just fine. They all get it, they can all reach it. You can see it’s elevated off the ground a little bit for their ease of use. It is under a shelter so I’m not worried about rain and water.
We’ve also been asked about rodents – it hasn’t been a problem for us but others have reported that have seen mice feed from these as well – so just be cautious! If you have yard cats like we do then it’s probably nothing to worry about!