Stop Wasting Chicken Feed! MYO Easy, Cheap PVC Chicken Feeder

by Tammy Taylor~

One thing I noticed when we first bought chickens several years ago was how wasteful they were.  They use their beaks & sweep their feed from side to side.  That ends up slinging their food out of the feeder.  And all that feed is wasted! The first time I cleaned out the coop I started to sweep out the hay bedding and found it was heavy with wasted feed & grain. I was so frustrated.

Hey, we’re feeding these girls organic layer pellets, and that’s not chicken feed ya know…  Oh, maybe it *is* chicken feed.  But it’s too expensive to be wasteful & sweep it out of the coop & onto the ground!  I’ve tried various ways to make our own lower-waste chicken feeder.  Although it helped reduce the waste, way too much feed was still being wasted.  Dang girls, were you raised in a barn?  (Oh, yeah right, strike that…)

A low-cost solution for a low-waste chicken feeder is a simple PVC construction that takes only minutes to assemble! #TaylorMadeHomestead

But then at a Mother Earth News Fair I attended this year I was able to share a table with Cheryl (from Pasture Deficit Disorder) at a chicken seminar we attended.  I was so excited to finally meet her!  She’d mentioned that she too was frustrated with the feed her chickens wasted. So they built a PVC Chicken Feeder (you can read about her feeder here) and she said her feed bill was cut in half.  HALF!!??  Well color me interested!

We decided on a 3″ diameter feeder.  Want to know the technical & scientific reason why we chose 3″?  Well it was because we already had some that size in the shed!  LOL  So RancherMan scrounged for a 5-foot long piece of 3″ PVC pipe.  He added a 3″ PVC Y-coupling and a short piece of PVC to use as the feeding tube along with three 3″ caps.  He put this feeder together in minutes and we strapped it to a t-post in the chicken run.  Now we stood back to see how the girls liked it.

The feeding tube piece was initially cut about 4″-5″ long and they were still able to reach in & sling lots of feed out.  So he cut a replacement piece about 8″ long and that seemed to stop the waste!  They still sling the feed around within the feeding tube but the pellets fall back into the feeder so it never hits the ground.  YEA!  What about those caps I mentioned?  Well one of the caps goes on the bottom of the Y so no feed will touch the ground.  Another cap goes on top where we pour the feed in.  That top cap keeps out rain so our feed doesn’t get wet & moldy.  The third cap goes on the end of the feeding tube to close it up when the girls are put up for the night.

A low-cost solution for a low-waste chicken feeder is a simple PVC construction that takes only minutes to assemble! #TaylorMadeHomestead

Now in the morning when I let the girls out of their coop for the day I remove the cap on the feeding tube.  They enjoy their own little buffet all day long.  I replace the cap after a while if I think they’re being a little too lazy during the day and want them to eat a healthier free-ranging diet rich with grass & bugs to go along with their organic feed.  But the cap always goes back on when I lock them up at night.  That keeps other wildlife such as mice or rats from finding the mother lode and thinking it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet served especially for them. I hate when mice use the buffet line – they’re terrible tippers.  😉

Cheryl was absolutely right – this little dude really does reduce (or even eliminate) wasted feed.  I love it.  It’s taken only a very few dollars and a few minutes time to make for ourselves.  And the amount of wasted food has plummeted.  That’s an all around financial/environmental win.  Thanks for the tip, Cheryl!  (Note: If wild birds start enjoying your chicken feeder as much as your chickens do, you can use this Homestead Hack to keep birds away from your feeder!)

~TMH~

C’mon by & sit a spell!  Come hang out at our ~TMH~ Facebook Page – it’s like sitting in a front porch rocker with a glass of cold iced tea – lots of good folks sharing!  You can also follow along on Pinterest, Twitter or GooglePlus. If you’d like to receive an email each time a new blog post goes live it’s EASY to Subscribe to our blog!

 

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27 thoughts on “Stop Wasting Chicken Feed! MYO Easy, Cheap PVC Chicken Feeder

  1. jan

    We’d love to have you share this and any other posts over at Country Fair Blog Party, a once a month link up. You’d be aperfect fit and we’d love to have you join in! Jan @ Tip Garden Link: http://www.thetipgarden.com/2016/08/country-fair-blog-party-september-2016.html

    Reply
  2. Charlotte

    We have something similiar but ours still seem to waste. I think the end of ours isn’t quite as upright as yours.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Our first attempt saw them slinging too much feed out of the feeder as well Charlotte, but we extended the piece coming from the “Y” to about 6″ and it brought it up high enough that any feed they slung fell back into the feeder. You might try that & see if it helps. Also the feed would get slightly wet when it rained so after we were sure we had it made the way we wanted it, RancherMan took PVC glue and glued all the parts together and we haven’t had any trouble with moisture since. I do love this feeder, since we only have two hens we only fill it once every few weeks or so. Our feed waste has gone to almost ZERO! ~TMH~

      Reply
  3. Katie Bennett

    We have about 25 ladies… how many chickens do you have eating from this feeder? Love the idea, just wondering if we’d need a few to keep them all happy…

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      We’ve opted to only have enough girls for the egg requirements for RancherMan & me, so we have three eating from this one feeder, Katie. I’ve seen setups where they’ve lined up several of these feeders when they’ve had a larger flock. ~TMH~

      Reply
  4. Carol

    I would like some info on your organic chicken feed. Where do you get, how much is it comparatively? Also, how in the world do you keep the cotton-picken mice out of your feed? They burrow up from the feeding end and eat at the top of the feeder, no matter what kind we have tried. grrr I worry about the contamination from the little buggers! Thanks for everything your do!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      We got our organic feed from Tractor Supply, Carol. When we bring the feed home we store it in our metal shed, so far mice have not been an issue at all in there even though we’ve kept various feeds in there for years. We bring one bag at a time into our garage and empty it into a large cooler. Although we do have mice from time to time in the garage, they’ve never bothered our chicken feed in the coolers. (we keep our dry dog food in coolers as well) Maybe the insulation keeps the food aroma down? I don’t know, but it certainly works for us. Then we use the feed in those coolers to keep the PVC chicken feeder filled. We have a cap on the foot of the feeder so I don’t think mice can burrow through. I also place another cap on the feeding portion every night so that the mice don’t think it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet after dark. So far we haven’t had a problem with mice at the feeder. ~TMH~

      Reply
  5. JES

    Good morning! This is just a little note to let you know this article has been * featured * today for our monthly feature on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth! Thank you for joining us and have a lovely week! 🙂 P.S. We hope to see you at this week’s link up!

    Reply
  6. Kim

    What a clever idea! Thanks for linking up to Merry Monday! Sharing on MM pin Board! Have a great week! Kim

    Reply
  7. Crystal Green

    This is an ingenious idea that I would have never thought of. I passed on this information to my mother-in-law. Thank you for sharing this with us on the #HomeMattersParty. We hope to see you again on Friday when we open our doors at 12 AM EST.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      OMGosh Crystal, this has saved us so much in chicken feed that’s no longer wasted! ~TMH~

      Reply
  8. JES

    Great idea! We are always looking for ways to cut costs on feed! Thank you for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth! 🙂

    Reply
  9. Ilene

    I used to have chickens and I had a terrible time with sparrows eating the feed. They even WENT INTO THE CHICKEN HOUSE!!! With only one hen able to eat at a time, do you ever have them fighting to get their turn? Hubs made me a feeder out of a kitty litter jug that he had put a J-shaped piece of PVC pipe into the side and they pecked on each other terribly. Plus it didn’t stop the sparrows, they’d just fly into the pipe and eat, plus poop inside it as they left. SHEESH! I got tired of being responsible for keeping every sparrow in the county fat, so I finally just gave up on having chickens. It was fun while it lasted, though, and I loved those fresh eggs.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      OMGoodness Ilene, I know what you mean with the sparrows. You’ve gonna LOVE tomorrow’s Homestead Hack, it deals with how to keep those dang sparrows away from the chicken feeder and out at their own feeder where they belong! Be sure to check back tomorrow. ~TMH~

      Reply
  10. Carol Blanchet

    Thanks for sharing. We are hoping to begin our chicken venture soon. It’s nice to be able to learn the lessons from other more experienced farmers. Carol

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      When we started with our chickens we bought everything we thought we needed – galvanized waterers and feeders, another HUGE galvanized feeder so we could keep ’em fed in our absence if we took a little trip, etc. Oh if I had it all to do again we could save so much money! LOL ~TMH~

      Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Awesome Colleen, thanks. It really has made a tremendous difference in feed waste for us. ~TMH~

      Reply
  11. ColleenB.~Texas

    Clever idea ladies. Boy, them chickens are picky eaters. About as bad as the birds are when we fill the bird feeders but at least there are birds that that will eat the seed which gets chucked on the ground for the ground feeder feathered friends

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      That’s what I was thinking too Colleen. I don’t so much mind it in the bird feeders, the ground feeders make good use out of it and not much at all is actually wasted. But dang I hate to plunk down the coin for specialty feed for keeping our chickens healthy & laying well just to have it tossed on the ground. ~TMH~

      Reply
  12. Cheryl @ Pasture Deficit Disorder

    YAY!! I’m glad it’s working for you too! I think it’s cool when people can use an idea, but also modify to be a perfect fit for their situation. Our feeders are still working great for us and now we’re adding one for their oyster shell. Thanks for the shout out my awesome friend!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Whaaaa…. Another one for oyster shell? what a great idea, I may have to dive into that for sure! ~TMH~

      Reply

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