Most people don’t think choosing a feeder is hard work. You go to the store and just grab whatever you find that looks nice. But, there is a little more to picking chicken feeders than that. If you don’t choose the right feeder the first time, you will throw money trying them all. So, here’s everything You Need to know about chicken feeders?
What To Consider
To choose the best feeder for you, we should look at your flock’s needs. In this section, we will talk about all the things to consider when choosing grain feeders for chickens.
The first thing you should consider is how large your flock is. If you have less than five chickens, one feeder should be enough. But for larger flocks, you have several options. You could buy a large enough feeder for all of your hens to feed side by side. Or you could opt for several smaller feeders throughout the run.
Size Of Chickens
For people starting with chicks, you don’t need to buy a full-sized feeder just yet. And if you have smaller breeds of hens, you should double-check that your hens can feed easily.
If your grain feeders are too large, your chickens won’t have access. But if they are too small, your hens will tip the feed easily. The perfect size for your hen depends on the feeder style. The feeder should be either a few inches above the ground or just below eye-level.
Type Of Food
Most people feed commercial grain food to their hens. But if you provide a scratch or something mixed with water, the style of feeder you choose effects this. You don’t want to feed a mushy food in a feeder with small openings. It will be impossible to clean and could harbor bacteria.
Another factor to consider is where you are putting your grain feeders for chickens. If you don’t have much floor space, you might consider a hanging feeder. You should also think if the feeder will get wet in the rain or snow. If your feeders aren’t in a covered area, weather-proof feeders are your best bet to keep them nice.
DIY Or Bought
Once you know all of these, you can decide if you want to make a feeder or buy one. Homemade feeders for chickens are inexpensive and customizable to your flock size. You can make them out of PVC, wood, or even metal. But if you aren’t a handy person, there are some tremendous store-bought feeders on the market for every need.
Feeding Or Automatic
Finally, the last thing to consider is if you want a self-feeding or automatic feeder. These styles are fantastic for large flocks or for people who don’t want to refill feeders daily. As a word of caution, though, you don’t want to fill them with more food than your hens will eat in 7 days. Otherwise, your food will go stale, and your chickens won’t eat it.
Types Of Grain Feeders For Chickens
So, what’s the scoop about feeders for chickens? Even with knowing all the information above, how many choices are there? Well, let’s take a look together at all the different styles and their pros and cons. We will even have some of our best recommendations for each type below.
Open container-type feeders are easy and cheap to use and perfect for chicks in the brooder. You can use just about anything as an open container feeder. Metal bowls like the Behrens Galvanized Steel Pan are easy to clean and don’t rust. They work best when feeding treats or mushy foods to your hens. But you don’t want them for everyday use. Your hens will jump into them, scratch around, and even knock them over. Plus, they are too small for chickens to graze all day.
One of the most popular feeders for large flocks is the trough. These long and narrow feeders can be placed against the side of the run to save space. And since all of your hens can feed side by side, there will be less fighting and more food for everyone. We love the Harris Farms LLC 1214 Galvanized Chick Feeder because it is rust-resistant and perfect for any sized flock. The only downside to these feeders is that you have to refill them daily.
Another great option is to get hanging feeders for chickens. Hanging feeders are great because the flock can gather round for meals quickly. And when you get one like the Harris Farms Hanging Poultry Feeder, you can adjust how much feed comes out. And since they are self-feeding, you don’t need to fill them up every day. The only downside to these is that they are not rodent-proof. So if you don’t want a rat problem, you should pick them up every night for safekeeping.
Speaking of rodent-proofing, if your area has raccoons or rodent issues, the tread-plate is a blessing. Also called treadle feeders for chickens, these feeders are completely rodent-proof. Your feed will be safe from anything trying to get into them. And the best treadle feeders also have a raccoon-proof lock to keep them out at night. The best tread-plate feeder on the market is the RentACoop Treadle Feeder. Not only is it rust-proof and easy to use, but it also has a large enough container for a few days worth of feed.
PVC Self-Feeders For Chickens
PVC is a durable and cheap material. That is why many chicken owners choose to DIY self-feeders for pennies on the dollar. There are countless ways you could design your feeders, and you can get plenty of ideas online. And the best part is that you don’t have to be a crafty person to make these easy feeders. The downside is that they are a little difficult to clean at times.
And let’s not forget that you could easily feed your chickens by hand. Many farms that free-range their hens and scatter feed twice a day without worry. While this means you would have to go out to feed the chickens twice a day, it also has many benefits. For one, it is the cheapest feeding method. And you won’t have to worry about food-wasting or going stale in the feeders. Plus, it gives your chickens a little enrichment to forage for all of their food.
What About Water Feeders For Chickens?
Water feeders and grit feeders for chickens serve much of the same purposes. You want all the same qualities in your water feeders as for food feeders. And there are many great options on the market for them if you aren’t using the same style for both that is. Here are a few of our favorite types of water feeders for chickens.
We absolutely love the Harris Farms Double Wall Poultry Drinker. Not only is it durable and affordable, but the tank can hold 2-5 gallons of water. So no matter how large your flock is, you don’t have to worry about running out of water this summer. You could even get the heated base attachment to keep your water from freezing over in the winter.
Hanging Water Feeders
Another great feature you should consider is having a hanging water feeder outside of the run. These waterers have easy access without having to enter the run. And since they are easy to clean, you will love the ease of these feeders. And it’s no surprise that we have another Harris Farms suggestion for you. The best hanging water feeder on the market is the Harris Farms Cup-A-Water.
And of course, you could DIY a water feeder for your flock. You can make the same feeders for food as for water, or get nipple attachments online. There are so many possibilities here that you could even design a water feeder with all the best features. Many of these DIY versions are made from PVC or buckets, but you could also make them from galvanized metal.
Heated Water Feeders
And the last feeder is a heated water feeder. Heated feeders keep your water from freezing all winter. Gone are the days that you have to change the water feeders in the coldest winter mornings. When you have a feeder like the Farm Innovators Heated All-Seasons Poultry Fount, you can rest easy knowing that your chickens will always have water.
What About Brooder Feeders?
Brooder water and feeders for chickens should be low to the ground and safe. Open containers might work great for feed, but should never be used for water. Chicks could easily fall into the water and get trapped. For the brooder, we recommend this E-KAY Baby Chick Feeder and Waterer Kit. It is the perfect size for your growing baby chicks.
Now You Know
What’s the scoop about feeders for chickens? Well, there are many possibilities. And now that you have read this article, you know exactly what to look for. Plus, some of the best feeders on the market, which makes choosing a feeder for your flock that much easier.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!