Easy Automatic Chicken Feeder

It’s official.  We have outgrown our small, homemade chicken feeder.  It has served us (and our hens) well, but it’s time to upgrade to something bigger.  If you would like simple instructions for the ice cream bucket version, click HERE.  But for the large feeder, keep reading (and watch the video because it’s helpful, I promise).

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 large plastic garbage can with lid (33 gallon or similar)

2-4 pvc elbows (3-inch), depending on how many feeder outlets you want

2-4 pvc caps that fit the male ends of your elbows


Here’s what you do:

1.  Measure from the female edge to the center of the bend in the pvc elbow.  This should give you the measurement you need from the bottom of the garbage can upward, so you know where to start the hole saw.

2.  Using the hole saw, make holes in the garbage can where you marked.  Your mark is where the drill bit starts.  It works best if you start the drill bit hole in ‘forward’ and then switch your drill to reverse to do the cutting.  Trust me on this.

3.  If you stand the pvc elbow on the ground with the female end facing down, that’s how it will sit on the inside of the garbage can.  But you’ll need to cut an opening for the chicken feed to get through because the female end will be flush with the bottom of the can.  This step is hard to explain, so I do hope you take a look at the video.  Anyway, make that cut using a hacksaw or dremel tool.

4.  If you are using caps, which I was gung-ho about and then changed my mind, just cut a semi-circle opening in the end of the cap.  This, in theory, helps prevent chicken feed from spilling or being flicked out by the chickens.  I ended up not cutting mine quite large enough for the chickens’ heads, so I just left the caps off.  We’ll see how that works out.

5.  After you have all your cuts made and burrs filed off, put the elbows in the can with the male openings sticking out the sides of the can.  If you are using the caps, put those on next.  They shouldn’t need any glue, but if you insist, make sure your chickens can get the food okay before you set anything in stone.

If you have any questions about these instructions, please feel free to send me an email.  You can also check out the video where I learned about this — J&J Acres: http://youtu.be/7zzj5Gl5EXA

The reason I only put two openings in the feeder is because I had to place the feeder along the side of our coop.  I didn’t want any openings facing outward where the rain and snow could blow in and make the feed all yucky.  You’ll want to be sure to raise the feeder so it’s at a comfortable height for the chickens.  I used a wire crate, but a couple of cement blocks or something similar will work.  I am going to keep an eye on the feeder to make sure it works out okay and make any necessary adjustments.  I think it’s going to work out great and the chickens won’t have to worry themselves about running out of food at the end of the day.  🙂

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