Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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Homemade gravity chicken feeders

Deep dish chicken feederTips for making cheap but efficient homemade versions of the storebought gravity feeders have been pouring in.  Here are some of my favorites.

The deep dish feeder
Karen Juarez wrote "Here's the feeder we use --- a 5 gal bucket with a lid bolted to an aluminum pan.  Notches are cut out around the bottom of the bucket which allows the grain to flow out as needed.  We use a similar feeder for our chicks with a 3-lb plastic coffee container and a 'pan' cut from the bottom of a 2-gal bucket.  The lids keep it clean, and both pans are deep enough to prevent the chickens from scratching it out."

Bouncing chicken feeder
Bouncing feeder
Sue Tengan's feeder is much like the deep dish feeder above, but she hangs it from a bungee cord or chain.  "With a bungee, the bucket's weight will stretch when full and will retract when empty," she wrote, "but chains need to be at a certain length for chicken to reach food, as chain will not retract when empty."  I've found that a less-than-solid hanging arrangement is actually good for preventing feed waste and chickens perching on the feeder, so the bungee idea appeals to me.

Cabinet chicken feeder

Cabinet chicken feeder
Although it's not going to solve the spilled feed problem, Paul Alexander's huge feeder will let you store several bags of feed right in the coop.  If you're less interested in saving money and more interested in lowering work and being able to leave your chickens alone for long periods of time, this may be the way to go.

Funnel chicken feeder

Funnel feeders
Michael Kenner, inventor of the low budget automatic chicken feeder I posted about previously, emailed me several more designs.  My favorite was this bucket-within-a-bucket-with-funnel.  He wrote, "Here's a feeder made out of an old petroleum 5-gallon bucket (the walls are thicker than regular buckets from Lowe's or Home Depot), a two gallon plastic flower pot, a screw-on lid, and a 6" funnel (to keep the grain flowing and from piling up in the center of the feeder).  The holes are cut in the bucket and the 2-gallon plastic pot (with the bottom cut out) is glued/caulked into the bucket.  The bottom of the plastic pot is below the bottom of the feeder holes and a funnel is attached inside to keep the grain flowing out to the birds."

Retrofitted storebought chicken feederMichael went on to explain, "I bolt funnels in all my feeders to eliminate that cone-shaped pile of feed that collects in the feeders."  This second photo shows "an ordinary small flock feeder with the cheesy wires replaced with
3/16" All-Thread, with NY-Locs and washers", plus a funnel, of course.  Michael concluded that this retrofitted storebought option is "not a great
feeder, but commonly available in feed stores and something to get a new owner started.  It's a little pricy but the birds use it and aren't able to poop in it but
it could have been made better......"

Keep those ideas coming!  The automatic chicken feeder contest continues until November 16 at midnight.

While you're at it, don't forget to pick up an automatic chicken waterer to keep your flock hydrated with clean water.

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