Waterers and feeders need to be placed appropriately so that the chickens have easy access to both these essentials. By virtue of the tendencies of the chickens to scratch and dig, they may make a big mess and you will find that often the food is scattered on the floor and the water dish is clogged with dirt/food/straw, etc.
Automatic feeders are a boon for those who do not have enough time to spend on their chickens spreading out the feed every day. Simple everyday materials can be easily utilized in making do-it-yourself feeders. The same instrument can be extended to cater for a large number of birds as well.
Here are two popular types of feeders to manage your chicken coop:
1. PVC Feeder
One of the most commonly used feeder is the PVC feeder. It consists of two 4-feet pipe sections connected with an elbow joint to form a 90 degree angle as the base. The section of the pipe that goes parallel to the ground has holes cut out on the top for access to feed and the ends of the pipes are capped. Depending on the number of birds, the feeding pipe can be made longer, more holes can be added and the storage bin can be larger.
2. Bucket Feeder
A bucket feeder uses a bucket and a 20 inch base pan. A planter base can also be used instead. Carve out two holes, two inches apart, large enough to allow the feed to slip from the base of the bucket. Thereafter bolt this to the 20 inch pan that will act as the lid for the holes. Fill the bucket with feed and put the lid on. A coffee can also serves the purpose provided the quantity of feed contained in it suffices for the number of birds.
If you are feeding chicks you need to take the height of the feeder into consideration. Chicks up to 6 weeks of age may be better fed from a ground level container although if this container is not sturdy it will easily be tipped over.
For those inspired by commercial chicken coop feeders, there are always methods to replicate them. You can modify large plastic jars by attaching a funnel to them to convert them into feeders. As long as the chickens have easy access to the feed and the feed remains dry, the aim of making a chicken coop feeder is fulfilled.
A bucket feeder can sit on the ground or be hung from the roof of the coop. We prefer to hang the feeder in our coop as it can be easily raised when the sprinkler system has to go on in the garden. Unless the feeder is raised water spray occasionally gets into the feeder and clogs it up.