Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Chicken feeder

Raising chickens can be very rewarding. You can buy little chicks, provide them with a warm place to live for a couple of months, give them plenty of food and water, and wind up with some pullets that will eventually produce fresh eggs daily for you.

Or, you can buy pullets or full grown laying hens to get a quicker start on the egg production. I’ve done it both ways. The advantage with hens is that, even though they will cost you more to begin with, they will start laying eggs right away. Your main responsibility will be to provide them with a shelter that is safe from predators and bad weather, a place where they can scratch around for bugs and seeds, and plenty of fresh water.

Chicken feeders can be pretty easy to build if you want to give your hens free choice feed. We used a party tray you can get at the dollar store (it has a round cup in the middle with four pockets around the outside), a five gallon bucket with lid and handle, a 1 inch paddle drill bit, a 2 inch bolt with nut and a couple of washers, and a drill bit that matched the bolt.

We drilled four holes that would line up with the four pockets around the outside of the tray using the 1 inch paddle bit. Then we drilled a hole in the dead center of the bucket and in the dead center of the round cup in the middle of the party tray. We put a washer on the bolt, ran it up through both the tray and the bucket, put another washer on it  then put the nut on it. Don’t go too tight or you’ll break the tray.

This feeder can sit on the ground or be hung from a hook or chain so the chickens can eat from the tray. You just fill it with feed and the feed will run down into the tray without running all over the ground. Even if the feed gets a little “log jammed”, the hens will actually peck at the sides of the bucket and jar it loose. Pretty smart, I think!

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