DIY No-Waste feeder! October 5, 2015
I have an embarrassingly large number of chickens who eat quite a bit of food. (Let’s not get into actual numbers of birds I may or may not have, because then the chicken math I keep in my head starts to break down.) So when my friend Judi showed me her DIY No-Waste feeder, I had to make one, too!
I love a good do-it-yourself project, so a DIY no-waste feeder was right up my alley! With most flocks, you have to deal with the issue of feed waste: it is in the hens’ nature to scratch and peck, and that throws feed onto the ground. My hens very much enjoy throwing their food around. On a good day, the smaller hens and bantams eat the food off the ground. On a bad day, it rains and the food is wasted. This feeder design really reduces the problem of feed waste because it’s so much more difficult to scratch food out.
DIY No-Waste Feeder Instructions
- A large container with lid. Note: I like the clear containers, so I can easily see when it needs a refill. However, the clear plastic will dry rot in the sun faster than other containers, so be sure to keep the feeder in 100% shade so it lasts longer.
- 4-6 (depending on the size of your container) 3-inch PVC elbows (90-degree).
- Silicone caulk or NP1 caulk.
- Caulking gun.
- A drill.
- A 3.5 inch hole-saw drill bit.
- Something 1 inch tall, to help mark the placement of the elbow bends.
- Safety goggles.
- Helpers/an audience.
This is a pretty quick project, all in all, and can easily be completed by one person. My husband wanted to help, which was great, as it made it easier for me wrangle munchkins and take pictures!
Step 1: First, use a 1-inch tall level to measure where the elbows will go. You want the bottom of the elbows to be one inch above the bottom of the feeder, so the chickens have a “well” to peck from.
Step 2: To make the holes, we used a 3.5 hole-saw. Put your safety goggles on! A hole saw is a drill bit designed so you can cut perfectly round holes with your drill, but if you don’t have one, you could probably use other means to cut the hole. As always, use your best judgement and safety first!
As you drill, be careful not to push too hard, as the plastic can crack. We found it was better to let the saw spin and warm up the plastic a bit, before pushing the drill bit through.
Here you can see what it looks like not-quite-cut-through.
Step 3. Once all the holes are cut, fit the PVC elbows into the holes like so:
Step 4. Carefully caulk the inside of the bends, to prevent them from slipping out. Use your finger to “moosh” the caulk in for a better seal, and let that dry completely. Next, caulk the outside of the elbows, and let it dry.
The container we used was pretty large and would hold a lot of feed, so to prevent the weight of the feed from pushing the elbows out, we let the caulk dry overnight, and did second coat on both the inside and outside.
Step 5. Finally, place the feeder, and fill it up.When placing the DIY No-Waste Feeder, you want to make sure it is low enough that your hens can easily reach into the feed ports and eat, but not so low that it will attract mice or other pests into our coop. Our area is all orchards, meaning there are a lot of rodents around to potentially attract, so I wanted the edges of the feeder ports to be high enough that I wouldn’t be feeding a new generation!
Total working time? About 20 minutes.
My turkeys especially love these types of feeders.
Costs of the DIY No-Waste Feeder
This particular container cost me around $12 at Walmart, and is large enough to hold two 50-pound bags of chicken feed, with room to spare. A hundred pounds is a lot of weight pushing outwards on the side of the container–so when choosing your container, be sure to note the thickness and quality of the plastic. The PVC elbows were ~$2.00 each at the hardware store. If you count the caulk used, this feeder cost around $25 to make, but I will save money on feed.
Another thing to consider: if you have lots of chickens and not so much space, you may want to use several shorter containers with more feeding stations. As my hens can free-feed out of this feeder all day, I haven’t seen any fighting for use of a particular opening, but if you are seeing feather picking/pecking, you’ll want to make sure there is space for everyone to eat at once.
I hope you enjoyed my little DIY No-Waste Feeder project! We had fun making it, and the hens love it!