DIY feeders for your brooder that cost nothing
If you’ve already read my previous posts on chicken rearing, you can probably guess that I’m a fan of diy’ing over buying when possible.
This applies to chicken feeders too. I hate most feeder designs because they’re yet more scraps of plastic polluting the planet. They also suck at what they’re supposed to do!
No matter what, your chickens will find a way to spill their food all over the floor. Your chickens will also inevitably find a way to drop a deuce or two in their food. These things will happen no matter what.
So if these things will happen no matter what, why are you wasting money on buying useless feeders?
Sometimes the best solutions are the ones we create ourselves using free stuff we have around the house.
Best baby chick feeder (0-1 weeks old)
My new favorite feeder for new baby chicks consists of a row of paper egg cartons. Elevate the feeder up to the height of your chicks’ heads so they can’t poop in their food or kick the food all over the place. I secure the egg cartons to the sides of my brooder walls with twist ties.
As the babies get older, they’ll start getting naughty. They’ll climb into the cups of the feeder. Very cute!
They’ll also be just tall enough to poop inside the feeders. Not so cute!
This is when you rip out the egg cartons and throw them in your compost pile.
Zero waste homestead!
The paper egg cartons are big enough to hold food for chicks up to one week old. At this stage you should only have to refill the feeder about 2-3 times a day.
Once they get bigger, you’ll want to upgrade to diy hanging feeders…
Best diy hanging chicken feeder (1 week+ to adulthood)
For bigger chicks and even adult chickens, hanging feeders are the best way to keep their food clean of poop and to keep them from flicking their food all over the place.
I use regular 1L pop bottles for my older chicks. If you have more chicks, or full grown chickens, you’ll want to use larger soda bottles to store more feed.
Simply cut 3 openings about 2″-3″ up from the bottom of the bottle. The openings should be wide and tall enough for your chickens to stick their heads in without scratching their combs or wattles. You don’t want the openings any bigger because multiple chickens will try to stick their heads in the same hole and end up pecking each other.
Some people elevate their feeders by stacking bricks underneath, but this just gives naughty chickens a step up when they want to topple their feeder.
I like to hang my feeders. Again, you’ll want to hang the bottles so the opening is just at their head height when they’re standing upright (maybe 1″ higher, depending on the age of your chickens). This keeps them from gripping the opening with their legs. It’s also just high enough that they can’t stick their butt holes in the openings…
Try it out and watch them eat. If it’s too high for them to reach the last bits of food in the bottom of the bottle, you’ll want to lower the feeder a bit.
As your chickens grow, you can adjust the height of the bottles along with their growth.
Sometimes the best and most frugal solutions to common problems are found in items we all have lying around the house. Let me know if you have any other nifty ways to reuse household items for your chooks!