One of my favorite things about my chicken coop is the automatic feeder (and the automatic waterer, but I will get to that in another post). The features I love:
- Filled to capacity each feeder is large enough to hold approximately 3-4 days worth of feed for 5 chickens. I have three feeders so I can leave for a short time (or in an emergency) and not worry about the chickens having feed.
- I can fill it while outside the coop. This is nice on days I do not want to let the chickens out and it is faster.
- The design allows for very little waste. Chickens can be messy with food, and the bowls my feeder uses are small and do not fill all the way. They do not throw as much out because of this.
- Having three separate feeders allows me to use one (or two) for supplements if needed.
It is a simple design and can be added to any coop. I think it works better in the covered run because in the open you would run the risk of birds and squirrels stealing a weeks worth of feed! That said, it is a great option for a covered run.
Keep in mind, you can change some of these pieces and the sizes to suit your own needs. Or, you may only want 1 or 2 (or more for a larger coop). You buy PVC pipe in 10′ sections so splitting it for three feeders makes sense.
Materials (for 3 feeders):
- 10 foot piece of 2″ PVC pipe. You can have this cut before you leave the store. You will need (3) 3′ pieces and (3) 4″ pieces – $7
- (3) 3″ PVC or sewer caps – $6 each
- (3) 1.5″ PVC pipe caps. – $1.30 each
- PVC glue – $5
- (3) 1.5″ PVC 45 degree elbows – $1.30 each
Total = $37.80 for three feeders and you will have PVC glue for the next project.
Steps to Make your Automatic Feeder:
1 – Attach the base (3″ PVC cap) to the long pipe. I used a screw. You could also use the PVC glue. You can see in the picture below that it is attached at the top of the cup (so the feed has room to fill. I actually cut a notch in the side so I could attach it from the bottom, but that is not necessary.
2 – Attach the elbow to the top of the 3′ pipe. You could use a wye piece for this part if it works better for your setup. I liked the elbow because there were less places to have to keep closed from critters (the wye has two openings) and it was easier to feed through the hardware cloth. Use PVC glue to keep the pieces together.
The best picture I have of this is below. Look to the far left in the picture. You will see the top of the feeder with the elbow attached (Look for the white cap, the feeder is painted the same as the coop).
3 – Glue the 4″ pipe to the end of the elbow. This is the part that I fed through the hardware cloth so it can be accessed outside of the coop. Put the cap on, but do not glue it! You can take that off to add feed and put it back on to stop rain from getting in the tube. Take a look at the picture at the top of the post to see the feeders from the outside of the coop.
I use a recycled two liter bottle to fill and it works great. I cut the bottom of the bottle. Fill the bottle like a scoop, put the top (the pour spout) of the bottle in the PVC opening and let the feed run into the tube.