Well, I guess no amount of research will guarantee success.
I must have looked at a jillion plans for PVC gravity feeders for my chicken houses. Really! I'm not kidding! There are SO many different plans out there and I never cease to be amazed at the creativity that people have. I wish I could thank all of the people who posted different ideas.
I had a few goals in building my PVC feeder.
- A feeder that would hold alot of food and not have to be refilled each day
- A feeder that reduces waste
- A feeder that reduces the mess left in the coop
- A feeder that by reducing the mess reduces mice wanting to make late night visits to the Hen House
Unfortunately my girls LOVED scooping all the food out of the first PVC feeder that we built.
This feeder is made with a 4 inch PVC pipe and a rabbit or ferret corner litter pan. I used zip ties to attach the pipe to the wall. I liked this design because I thought more chickens would be able to use it at the same time. However, as you can see there is a thick layer of crumble feed at the base of the feeder. It has even buried the broom behind the feeder. :(
The new version uses the same 4 inch PVC pipe. It had to be cut down a little to give space for the connectors and the T area. My wonderful husband thought that the feeder would be easier for the chickens to use if it was a 3 inch PVC pipe across the bottom. And he was absolutely right. The shallower pipe gives the girls better access to the feed. My husband used a 2 1/8 inch drill to make 2 holes in each side of the feeder. The size is absolutely perfect. The girls can get their heads down in the feeder but they can't get their feet in the feeder to scoop it out onto the floor. And the circle openings prevent them from scooping the feed out with their beaks. SO much better than the original design.
**The fine print - I am not saying this feeder design will work for everyone. I only know that for my 7 pullets it is working fabulously. I may have to install a second feeder at a later time since I am expecting 5 more girls toward the end of October. But for now this works great!**
You may also notice my waterer on the right side of the picture above. My husband made a few improvements so that the cooler could fit in a little cubby area left from the nest box side of the chicken coop. I love that the water stays perfectly clean in this watering system. The chickens do allow a little bit of water to dribble when they use the waterer. So I added a cookie sheet filled with some river rock to catch any overflow. This keeps the water off the floor and off the sand and allows the water to evaporate. Works great!