Hi all, after feeding my girls (10 of them) by scattering their feed I got p*ssed off with all the local ravenous sparrows and doves cleaning up everything before my back was turned! So I did a little research and found all manner of different feeders;
- Gravity feeders
- Tread feeders
- Bump (Trigger) feeders
- Spring feeders
Works great if you have nothing else eating your feed. Plenty of food on tap all the time. The weight of the food keeps the hopper filled once the feed has been eaten. Easy to build, and easy for your chickens to learn how to use. Great for use in a secure indoor environment but, as stated, no good if you don't want to feed everyone if you have it outside.
Plenty of food on tap all the time once your birds learn how to use it and generally they're pretty quick at getting it. An improved version of the gravity feeder. Can be installed inside or outside as they are a covered feeder. An improvement on the gravity as the feed isn't just sitting there for all to eat when installed outside but the downside is that other birds are just as clever as your chickens. We have doves and pigeons in our neighbourhood and they very quickly learned how to use the feeder. Even to the point where I had 7 sparrows stuck inside it at one point!
Saw these feeders on here and was a little mystified as to how they worked but I gave them a go. The trigger never really seemed to let the feed out so I tried several versions of it eventually settling on the 2 shown in the video. Can't say I was overly impressed. Like the ads say they let the feed out as the shaft is bumped but not worth the money as far as I could see. Probably ok if your girls are prepared to stand there all day pecking out little bits of feed. My girls are free ranging so can't be bothered with the effort by the look of it.
Of all the feeders this was the best. The feed fills the spring and the chickens peck the food out. A little more falls on the ground and they gobble that up fairly quickly. So enough food gets out and they eat nearly all of it before any sparrows and others get in there - only dregs get left. I've got this set up in a bucket so far but have a barrel with a lid and will transfer this system to that shortly. Had it set up for a few days and the girls are getting fed. So far no other birds had figured out how to get up to the spring and can't perch on it so it's definitely saving on food. Because the girls could see the food the cottoned on to getting it pretty quickly.
All the feeders I made myself - there are enough instructions on the net and they're all not too hard to build. The tread feeder was the the most expensive in parts to purchase and the hardest because of the need to get the arm/step mechanics right. I did not buy any commercially available feeders during this process. Maybe they would have been better but you can do things for yourself at half the cost if you put only a little thought and effort into it.
Costs: (all costs given in NZ dollars)
Gravity feeder - PVC pipe - free from the builder neighbour but you can purchase cut lengths for between $10 - $15, Elbow - $10, Brackets x3 $2.50 each - My costs - $17.50 (not including the length of pipe)
Tread feeder - lightweight plywood - $free 1/2 sheet (4' x 4' or 1.2m x 1.2m), screws - $4.80/jar (100), bolts, nuts & washers x 8 $2.25/set, hinges x 2 $2.20 each - My costs - $27.20 not including plywood.
Bump (Trigger) feeder - Test bucket 90c, bolt and circle nut $1.10, rubber bung (for the bottom end) $1. My costs - $3
Spring feeder - Test bucket (already purchased above) $0, Spring 1/2" round, 4" long - $3, plastic milk bottle cap - recycled. My costs - $3.
"In my experience" I am not saying anyone's product for sale on here or other is no good - this is just my experience!
All in all it was fun trying different things and I've learned lots from it (as you should do by trying things). The spring feeder was quick, easy and cost effective. More importantly the girls love it and the local birdlife doesn't clean out my feed stocks. I'll load the video once I figure out how to. Spring feeder for the win!!
Edited by Sherry Chooks - 6/20/15 at 8:22pm