Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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Even better PVC chicken feeder

PVC chicken feederMy favorite of the automatic chicken feeder designs readers have submitted so far is Darren Simmons' PVC feeder, which is like the second generation of the PVC design I've been pointing folks toward.  I'll let Darren walk you through the construction in his own words.

"Before I built this auto feeder we were going through 100 lbs of food every 6 to 7 weeks.  We now can go almost 14 weeks for the same amount.

"My first try ended up being like a "trough", which still wasted food on the ground.  My second attempt were eight 2 inch holes spaced every two inches apart or so.  What I ended up with is seen in the pictures.

"I've made our automatic chicken feeder out of 3" PVC, if I were to do it again I would do it out of 4" but it wasn't as easily found at my hardware store.  Supplies I used:
  • 1 - 10' section of 3" PVC (you could use any size over 2").  Cost $8.49
  • 2 - Long Sweep elbow 90 degree.  Cost $2.69
  • 1 - Street Sweep elbow 90 degree.  Cost $3.29
  • 1 - 3" rubber flexible end cap (screw driver needed to tighten).  Cost $4.99
  • 1 - 3" end cap.  Cost $1.39
  • Total Cost: $23.54 plus taxes
Chicken trough"Because I already had T-posts in the run, I just ran a 2x4 between two T-posts so I could have a support for the "trough" or where the chickens are going to eat the feed from.  The trough is about 9"-10" off the ground, that way they don't walk in it and scratch it out.

"I cut two pieces of the 3" PVC one about 30" and another about 40" (this was the space that I had available).  In the smaller of the two pieces I cut four (4) 5" to 6" openings for the chickens to eat out of.  When I mounted this piece to the 2x4 I made it at a slight downward angle so the feed would slide all the way down.  I used the 3" rubber end cap and one 90 degree elbow.  I then connected the longer section of PVC to make the holding area of the feed.

"At the top of this piece I placed the two 90 degree elbows together and the other end cap.  I did this because I needed to go outside of a little fenced in run area.  I didn't want to have to go inside the run every time they needed food. I also used no glue, this way if I needed to expand I could or to take it apart to clean out.

Rat-proof chicken feeder"To make it so the rats could not get in and feed freely as they pleased I made a lid that has a section of 3" PVC cut out, and screwed to the bottom of the lid to completely lock in the feed at night.  I also put a 2.5 lb weight on the top to make sure the rats couldn't open it.  I tied a 1/4" rope to the lid so we could open and close the lid.

"I've also used something very similar for the water using your chicken nipples.  It's great because it holds about 5 gallons of water and I can go for about 9 or 10 days without having to add water."

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I saw this post and immediately went out and picked up the materials to build a similar feeder. I'm going to do my best to come back here and let you know the results.
Comment by Jessie : Improved at teatime on Wednesday, November 14th, 2012
Jessie --- Great! I'd love to hear if you have any improvements on what already looks like a great design.
Comment by anna mid-morning Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Here is a much better way


Holds 26 pounds of feed, automatic so you don't have to open it and close it.

Comment by Anonymous at lunch time on Friday, April 19th, 2013
Anonymous --- We profile that design and a few other types of treadle chicken feeders in this post.
Comment by anna late Monday morning, April 22nd, 2013
I read online that instead of cutting the oblong holes, to drill holes no larger than one half inch dia because the rodents will not feed on them if they cant get in there. Don't know if its true. Would LIKE to know. If a rodent cah chew through metal, and I know they can, why would they not simply chew through the PVC?
Comment by bumpkin at midnight, March 15th, 2014
I am new to Chickens and have a small back yard coop. I wanted some sort of treadle feeder but do not have the space in the coop. So when I saw the PVC feeder I was very excited!!! If you make the lid to open and close what time do you open and close the lid. How long can the chickens go without eating? Right now the chicks are in my brooder and they eat all night long.
Comment by Kathryn mid-morning Sunday, March 16th, 2014

Bumpkin --- Interesting idea! I haven't tried that myself, but would be curious to hear from anyone who does.

Kathryn --- Once they don't have a light on, chickens won't eat at night. So it's fine to only have food available during the day. (In fact, some people only feed their chickens as much as they'll eat in one sitting once a day.)

Comment by anna Sunday evening, March 16th, 2014
We built this model a couple of weeks ago. Our chickens are eating from the trough like troopers; however, it doesn't seem like any of the feed is going down the vertical pipe. Any tips?
Comment by Christina Friday night, March 21st, 2014
Christina --- Interesting question. I could probably answer you with more certainty if you emailed me a photo at info@avianaquamiser.com. In the meantime, my guess might be that the pipe you used is too small or the vertical pipe isn't high enough or you don't have enough feed in the vertical pipe. Any of those factors could make the feed tend to clog up, rather than making its way around the bend. I hope that helps!
Comment by anna Sunday evening, March 23rd, 2014
Hi there, I LOVE this feeder and am building one right now! two questions: You said you built a similar looking waterer using the chicken nipples-could you please post a photo of what you did and what I need to buy? And for the feeder....do you have any trouble with the feed reaching all the way across the openings? Thanks for sharing, this is AWESOME!
Comment by Morgan at teatime on Wednesday, September 24th, 2014
Morgan --- Our Avian Aqua Miser Original kits include lots of photos and step-by-step instructions for various types of PVC chicken waterers. I can't answer your second question since I haven't built a feeder just like Darren's, but I have seen several similar ones in action, and the weight of the extra pellets in the vertical tube seems to be enough to push the pellets out to the side. I hope that helps! If you build your own, I'd love to see a photo --- just email it to info@avianaqumiser.com.
Comment by anna Monday afternoon, October 6th, 2014
I built a similar feeder and used a screw in top it seemed to work fine except when I got home yesterday and went to feed I had mold growing in there how and what is a good way to prevent this and is anyone else having the same problem as mee any help would be appriciated it also has been raining here in Kentucky for the past 3 weeks and it seems like it won't stop
Comment by brandon terribly early Thursday morning, July 9th, 2015
brandon --- I know what you mean. It's been rainy and humid here too, and we had to clean out some caked feed in a store-bought automatic feeder recently. I'm afraid I don't have a solution, other than to keep an eye out during this type of weather and clean it out as necessary. If the feeder is somewhere that it can get rained on, of course you'll want to shield it from rain. But just humidity in our region can cause the feed to mold, unfortunately.
Comment by anna at lunch time on Monday, July 13th, 2015

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