As soon as our offer was accepted on the farmhouse last fall, I started researching chickens. In doing so, I kept coming across a lot of negative things that might come along with the chickens – chicken poop, bugs, rats, snakes, mice, etc.
Well, I’m not a bug or a vermin person. Who is though, right?
Well I’m really, really, really not a bug or a vermin person. It’s also gotten worse in recent years. My daughter had lice a few years ago and gave it to all of us. I think it really traumatized me when it comes to anything creepy and crawly.
In all my research one thing was clear: The creepy crawlies were there for the chicken poop and the chicken feed.
I’ll explain my poop solution in another post and after I see how well it works. However, I think I’ve found a great solution for the feed and I’m really loving it.
This solution not only seems to cut down on the amount of other living things that might be looking for an easy snack, but it’s also helped to reduce the amount of food waste caused by my girls.
Prior to this, it really seemed like most of the food ended up on the floor. I was buying them a very expensive, organic, non-GMO food off Amazon for awhile but I had to switch to the Purina Organic brand because I couldn’t deal with them wasting so much of the over-price feed that I could only buy in a small bag.
One night while I couldn’t sleep I was researching on Pinterest and came across PVC chicken feeders.In reading through other posts, it seemed like the best chicken feeders were the homemade ones.
I found this idea on a website called Instructables. (which is I guess a site where anyone can write an instruction project?). You can see it here if you want to see my inspiration.
PVC chicken feeders
The PVC chicken feeders were appealing to me because no other animals or bugs could get to the feed and four of them could store about half a bag of feed. Having so much feed in a protected spot sound like a good thing to me and it cut down on time in the morning as I am rushing to get the kids off to school because the feed was already there.
I decided to make the DIY chicken feeders with a few modifications.
1. I wanted to be able to completely close them up at night.
2. I didn’t want to drill into the pipe and allow additional moisture to seep in through those holes.
3. As an additional modification, I ended up needing to bond the pipes and the fittings together. I’ll explain more about that in a bit.
DIY chicken feeders project
Here are my materials for the DIY chicken feeders:
- 1, 10-foot piece of 3inch PVC drain pipe, cut into four pieces
- 4 – 3inch 90 degree elbows
- 4 – 3inch 45 degree elbows
- 8 – 3inch threaded caps
- 8 – 3inch cap adapters
- Metal pipe strap
- PVC pipe glue and/or caulk
- 4 – 3inch PVC pipe caps (standard, not drain caps) This is an add on after using the feeders for about two weeks. It’s become imperative though.
Where to find your materials
We found everything we needed for the PVC chicken feeder project at Home Depot. They were really helpful because they cut the 10-foot pipe for us. This made it so much easier because we didn’t have to dig out the saw and set it up in the middle of our barn renovation. We’re short on workspace right now with all the construction.
After getting the pipe cut, I literally just fit everything together and then my husband screwed them into boards on the run. We used a stone footer that I put their waters on to level them all out and are able to keep them secure without puncturing the pipe.
Rain, rain go away
After about two weeks and a lot of stormy weather, we noticed the chicken feeders were getting wet. This didn’t seem to bother the girls much, but the feed was getting moldy in the PVC chicken feeders due to the dampness. Moldy feed makes sick chickens.
Luckily, we caught it before anything bad happened. We ended up using the pipe glue to hold and waterproof the seams of the PVC chicken feeders.
As a side note, I’m not thrilled that I had to use the glue because I’m raising the girls organically and it just didn’t seem like a great thing to do. The glue is smelly, and you need to let it dry completely and then air out before putting feed back in. If you use it make sure you’re outside or in a well-ventilated area.
However, the glue doesn’t touch any of the feed and is only bonding the pipes and sealing the holes so that made me feel better about it. I’d rather their feed by dry versus moldy.
Caulk is another option and I might do that too since it’s just literally on the outside of the pipes and fittings.
One last fix…
Aside from the seams, we also found water was leaking in on the top of the pipe where the cap screwed in. So far, I’ve solved this problem by getting 4, 3-inch PVC pipe caps and laying them over the top of the feeders. If I need to, I can also attach them to the wall of the coop which should provide more shelter.
However, they’ve been working perfectly now with these small fixes. No more wet feed!
In the photos the feeders look a bit uneven because I was testing if I could use just this cap or needed the twist top plus the cap. The twist top plus the cap wins. It rained for about 12 hours after I added it and the food inside was totally dry.
With the exception of this water issue, the DIY chicken feeders have really been a dream come true.
I only have to fill them about once a week and my 12 chickens seem to be able to use them easily. There’s no to very little food waste with these. In the photo above you can see some of the feed on the ground but most of that was spilled by myself as I was taking them down to work on waterproofing them.
I think PVC chicken feeders will be a solution for us for a really long time. Right now my girls are still small enough that two of them can eat from a feeder at once. Soon though, I might make another set so that I can have 8 feeders for the 12 chickens.
- Fill the feeders with the cap on the bottom or you will have the feed come out.
- Use a large funnel to help you fill the feeders so you don’t spill the feed. It will also help you do it more quickly.
What do you think for these DIY chicken feeders? Will these work for your chickens?
Find out more about the first things we learned raising these girls from baby chicks! Click here to read it.