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and messaged her with a couple questions.
The idea behind this diy trigger chicken feeder is that feed is only released as the chickens are eating. The catch bowl we made red so as to attract their attention and we added a sprinkle of feed to it directly to get them started. As they peck at the feed in the bowl, they tap it or sometimes bump it with their chests and it dislodges the trigger (in this case an eyebolt) from its resting position to cause a small dribble of feed or a couple of pellets (if that is what you use) to fall out every once in a while. In this, it creates a minimum waste or even waste free bulk feeder. The whole thing is suspended above the ground to prevent rodent issues and the bucket protects the stored feed as well as the bowl below from the elements. This would likely work well in a free range setting too because wild birds can't seem to figure it out. The only waste we have noticed is occasionally the feed falls onto the birds heads or backs and bounces off. This is still pretty rare and normally those lower on the pecking order clean up the mess. There is no chance of the birds tipping over a feed bowl, no scratching tons of feed out of the feeder or billing it out because it is placed at a height that causes the birds to stretch a little for their meal.
In the end, we changed a couple things to fit our needs. I'll list the materials and tools we used plus a general instruction set and a few pics to show what we did. I hope someone gets some ideas out of this and can tweak it to their needs too.
Tools we used:
Drill and drill bits
Utility blade/ alternatively if you have a hole saw
Materials we used:
5 gallon bucket and lid (food grade is best)
Scrap coat hanger or other equivalent wire
Hardware store chain
Scrap of 3" PVC (6-10" long)
2- 3" PVC caps
Nuts (we used a lock nut and one typical hex nut) and washers (various bits we had lying) around to fit the eyebolt
A dollar store plastic bowl (needs to be about 12" wide at the top and have a sort of funnel shape)
A smaller dollar store plastic bowl (about 3-4" deep and preferably red)
First we started out cutting out the necessary holes. You need a hole 3" in diameter at the bottom of the bucket. The pvc should be able to slide through this hole but it can't be wide enough to let the pvc end cap through too.
Then cut the majority of the top of one of the end caps off like so. This cap will attach to the pipe and be the stop so the pipe doesn't completely fall out. We used a dremel and cutting bit but you could use a circular saw or jigsaw with the right blade.
The other end cap needs a small hole in the center. We started with 3/8" bit (the same size as our eyebolt) and wiggled it around a bit to make it larger so the food can fall through when the eyebolt jiggles back and forth.
In the end, we made our hole a smidge too large and so we taped in a bit of plastic from a cheap gas station fountain beverage. So you might test a few times as you make your hole larger, to make sure you don't go too large. You want the feed to dribble out every once in a while, not to flood out and overfill the catch bowl.
Connect the pipe to the end cap with the large hole and push the pipe down into the hole in the bucket, from the inside. The end cap will prevent the pipe from going all the way through. You can use PVCcement to bind it all together but we needed to do lots of ttestingto get it right and ddidn't want to not be able to take it apart for cleaning later.
Remember those dollar store bowls? The large one gets turned into a sort of funnel. We cut a hole in the bottom of it so it can feed into the top of the pipe. The hole needs to be a tad smaller than the hole in the end cap. We bought a bowl whose rim was a bit too big to stuff down into the bucket. So we just trimmed away the rim until it fit snugly down inside. You don'twant it to buckle or bow because then feed can slip through.
Then we dropped the eyebolt through the hole in the remaining end cap
(Don' mind the eye candy, I'm a lucky lady)
A nut and a couple of washers onto the eyebolt for added weight so it can recenter after being tapped by the birds, the other cheap dollar store bowl (with a 3/8" hole drilled in it), one more washer and a lock nut under the red bowl. The washers have the added effect of keeping the bowl level (it would tilt before we added them). Then simply add this assembly to the bottom of the PVC pipe.
We rigged a bit of handle for our bucket as the current handle wouldn't allow it to hang without tilting.
Then we added an eyebolt to a beam in the run. Hooked a caribeaner clip to it and added a length of chain. We added another caribeaner clip to the new bucket handle and in this way, it is easily removed via the clip when we need to fill it or if we need to work on it.
And here the chickens are enjoyingit after we added their feed.
Edited by beautifulpirate - 5/28/16 at 6:42pm