The price is still in flux. I'm thinking that the large ones can sell for $40 plus shipping if I make a few changes to speed up manufacturing. For now, BackYardChicken members can get one for $40 to thank everyone for all the feedback and ideas for this project.
Still haven't heard back from the BYC site on advertising so I'm trying to tread carefully here.
I'll answer some questions posed so far:
It shouldn't open for a rat on the treadle. With the forward treadle, like the original large feeder, it takes about 1 1/2 pounds at the end of the treadle to open it, but a rat will likely climb up the front side, closer to the feeder, because it is lower to the ground. There it takes more weight to open as the treadle acts as a lever, a smaller weight further out will move it. I'm thinking that one might have to keep it set at factory settings till the birds learn to use the feeder, then slowly increase the weight required to open it by moving the counterweight or adding weight to the counterweight, or making a heavier bar. Really it will depend on how large your rats are. I have a mix under my chicken pen and storage shed, small mice, and big old 6" long rats. So far they are not getting in the feeder (judged by the drop in feed comsumption).
I'm thinking that the best thing would be to cut off their feed with the new feeder, then do a poison campaign to thin out the herd. Did I read on this forum about a reciepe using peanut butter and plaster of paris?
I found out the hard way this spring about rats bothering chickens. It dawned on me that I was losing chicks after I started moving them from the incubator to a box inside the home, then out to the chicken coop after they were feathered out. The litle ones started dissapearing in batches. I was hatching every week and as the weeks went by, I started losing every single new chick till I figured out it was rats getting them.
The new feeder holds about 5 pounds of laying pellets, about one and a quarter gallons or so. The feed tower is small, 6" square and 12" tall.
I am having to rework the new smaller feeder. The backwards treadle didn't give the bird enough leverage to opperate easily and the treadle arms are too short, not enough room for the bird to stand comfortably. I like the idea of having the metal sides for rain protection so I can't use the original treadle mechanism but a longer rod will allow me to simply reverse the treadle as long as the metal sides are in place the birds won't trip on them.
I'll post new pics tonight on the rework of the small feeder if I have the kinks worked out of the design. Last night the girls were confused by the reverse treadle on the new feeder after being used to the original treadle. They would walk up, raise their foot up high to step on the feeder, but didn't know to step further in to trip the treadle. Poor things were getting frustrated, walking around the feeder pecking at it.
Thanks for all the feedback.