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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Homemade Chicken Feeder and Waterer

JULY 2010 UPDATE: We now have an automatic chicken waterer design. This post outlines all the parts and steps needed to create your own. Click here to check it out.



Original post:

Last week I noticed that the chickens were starting to eat and drink their starter containers dry. I realized that they needed larger receptacles to hold the food and water (or else I was going to have to fill them more than once a day). Initially I was going to buy them from the feed store, but after some research I decided to make my own.

Making a homemade chicken feeder and waterer is quite simple. The parts I used are as follows:

Feeder
2 gallon bucket (bought at Home Depot)
Lid for the 2 gallon bucket
12 plastic plant saucer

Waterer
Plastic bucket slightly smaller than 2 gallons (we had one that was part of a gift)
12 inch plant saucer

Tools
Drill
1/4 inch bit
1 inch bit


Building the feeder:
1. Attach the 1 inch bit to the drill (as shown in photo above)

2. Drill 6-8 evenly spaced holes along the bottom edge of the bucket. The bottom of the holes should be about 1/2 inch up from the bottom of the bucket.

3. Place the bucket in the saucer and fill with food. The food will spill out of the holes using gravity.

4. Place the lid on the top of the bucket to keep the food clean.

This feeder is easily filled by removing the lid and adding more food. I have found it useful that the plant saucer is not attached because it allows me to shake the last bit of food out of the bucket into the saucer. This reduces waste.


Building the waterer:

1. Attach the 1/4 inch bit to the drill

2. Place the bucket upside down into the saucer (see photo below)

3. Mark 2 spots on the bucket that are lower than the edge of the saucer

4. Remove the bucket

5. The marks should be on the top edge of the bucket, near the open end

6. Drill 2 holes where marked

7. Fill with water and put the saucer on top

8. Holding the bucket and saucer together, quickly flip the waterer over. The water will slowly start flowing out of the holes and fill the saucer up to the level of the holes due to the vacuum created inside the bucket.


Since making the new feeder and waterer, the intervals of feeding and watering are longer now. The food will last about a week with 4 chickens. The water lasts about 5 days.

This is just one way to create a homemade feeder and waterer. If you would like to share your ideas and experiences, please leave a comment below for others to see.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Any ideas about a self-feeder that only chickens can use and not other wildlife as my chickens roam free in the garden and the birds eat at least a third of their feed?!

Michelle said...

Re: Anonymous - We keep a constant food and water supply available inside the chicken coop. It is less accessible to other animals and birds and we haven't had any problems. Perhaps if you created an enclosed area to keep the self-feeder, the chickens would have access but it wouldn't be as easliy accessible as one out in the open.

Anonymous said...

I love your watering idea, now to keep water cleaner, maybe if a person can silcon the base to the top of the water bucket and a hole on top so water can be poured into bucket.
The reason for this idea is now we can hang the bucket just above the ground. Drill some tiny holes and pull wire through and hang your water bucket.

Anonymous said...

I'm just getting into chickens and I've been researching like crazy for the last little bit. I like the idea of the silicone but I may have a better idea yet... I know that a 5 gallon paint container that we bought from Lowes had a screw type pour spout on the lid. You could make the waterer with an upright 5 gallon bucket with the lid (that has the screw type pour spout) that you can screw back on after you fill it.

Would you agree / disagree? I'm probably going to try it tomorrow.

Michelle said...

One of the key learnings I had when making the waterer was the need for the inside of the watering bucket to create a vacuum. If air can enter near the top, the water completely empties out of the bottom holes near the tray. I learned this the hard way when I drilled the wrong side of the bucket (used silicone to plug the holes). If the screw top bucket makes an air-tight seal, it should work. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I have a fun, silly solution to your convienience waterer problem...
I made a gravity waterer & feeder for my mother's chickens to save on cost as well but she needed to be able to just stick a hose in the top of the waterer to fill it up instead of having to take it all apart every time.
End result? I bolted the lid to the tray utilizing rubber plumbing washers to prevent leaking. Using a drill, I fitted a toilet tank valve flapper onto the outside of the bottom of the bucket. Don't forget the small flow hole towards the top of the bucket, then I turned the bucket up-side-down and snapped it to the lid. Now all she has to do is remove the valve flapper and plug the hole with her finger as she fills the waterer, cleanup is a snap since we can still take it apart to scrub it down.
Approximate cost:
bucket & lid: $4.00
nuts bolts & washers: $2.00
valve flapper: $4.00
Waaaay cheaper and still more convienient than a store bought waterer & it makes an interesting conversation piece! :-) Hope this helps!

Adam said...

This is too weird. I needed a temporary waterer for my quail until I could buy another and I used a plastic popcorn container over a plate. mine was smaller and square and had a scalloped edge so that I didn't have to drill. It wasn't as stable as yours I bet! I have also done exactly what you did on a smaller scale with plastic frozen juice containers. Two of those in an oblong dish watered about 28 younger quail (not peeps that could drown)for about a day. -hope this can help someone.

Michelle said...

Since the chickens have grown, we no longer use the above watering solution. Instead, we use an open plastic flower pot that is roughly the height of the chicken's shoulders. They can reach in for a drink without being able to poop into the container. This keeps the water clean. The container is also heavy enough that the chickens can't knock it over.

Anonymous said...

nice thanks

Anonymous said...

Love these ideas! So expensive to buy them! Have my buckets and bought 2 plastic oil pans for the bottoms, $2.99 each at Auto Zone, and got the 5 gallon buckets from the bakery at Albertsons for FREE! King Soopers gives them away too, from their deli I think. Huby going to get out the drill and git er done tonight! I love my babies!

Anonymous said...

wow,,,,nice and great,,i'll adopt this one

Anonymous said...

Ive had some experiance where I use plastic frozen juice bottles.I drilled a hole near the bottom and screwed on the cap after I filled it with water. I put into a little frisbee(they are all over my backyard!)and i waited to see what would happen. The water kept pouring over the edges, no matter what bottle or pan i used. But thanks to the posts here, i finaaly know how to fix my problem. Thank you sooooooo much!

Anonymous said...

thanx for these brilliant ideas, i'm gonna try them.

Anonymous said...

i cant wait to try these out. thank you all for the input

Anonymous said...

I use the 5 gallon bucket with a lid that snaps on well enough to create the vacuum for the waterer. Bought a galvanized utility pan which is just about 3" diameter larger than the bottom of the bucket. I popped 3 small nail holes in the bucket bottom and enlarged them with a phillips head screwdriver. Set the bucket in the pan, fill and snap on the lid. Works well.
For feeding, I used a 5 foot section of vinyl gutter, enclosed the ends and hung it chicken chest high along one wall. My chickens line up side by side at the 'trough' to eat now instead of shoving and pushing around a circle. AND they cant knock it over.

moirao said...

awesome...i will be doing this in spring!! thanks

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this great idea, my husband is going to do this for our chickens. Alot cheaper than ready made

Anonymous said...

get a orange traffic cone and screw it on the top and your birds won't be able to get on top and poop on everything.

Exquackly!

Rose1957 said...

I really like the gutter idea and to keep them from getting IN it you could put the plastic stuff over it that you put over the gutter to keep out leaves. cool idea! I also like this idea because I have so many chickens I'd have to have 3-4 buckets for them all or they'd be shoving and some missing out on feeding. Thanx for sharing!

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