Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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Feeding chickens in a trough

Making a chicken trough

I've always chosen to toss my chickens' daily allotment on the ground for a number of reasons.  Primarily, I want to give them a measured amount, but I really got in the habit when our chickens lived in tractors.  I thought having to hunt through the grass to find bits of feed could give our hens something constructive to do all day.

However, my brother let me know that his new chickens started eating less when he put the feed in a container.  He still gave them a daily allotment, but realized that he was actually feeding them a bit too much since they left food behind.  Since we'd recently upgraded to gourmet chicken feed, we thought the higher quality feed might mean our chickens needed less.  So I asked Mark to build me a simple trough to go in the coop, then watched to see what happened.

Chicken troughAt first, I wasn't even sure if the hens had figured out where their grub was now being served.  They barely seemed to touch the food and I got worried they were starving.  So I started giving them their food scraps next to the trough, and snuck in early one morning to see that yes, the hens were eating from their new container.  (Also, egg production stayed high, which was a real tipoff that the chickens were still well nourished.)

Our girls were clearly eating much less out of the trough.  (Or, rather, the sparrows were probably getting less leftover feed.)  I already feed our chickens less than the recommended daily allowance due to our pastures, but I think I've been overfeeding anyway.  I'll be slowly cutting back on my feeding amount until there's no grain left in the trough at the end of the day and will report back once I know how much our hens actually need to eat on pasture.

Even if you restrict their rations, chickens should always have access to copious amounts of clean water.  The Avian Aqua Miser is the obvious solution to the dirty water problem.

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