Incredibly Cheap Small Space Feeders and Waterers

By hocuspocus · Sep 5, 2014 · Updated Sep 7, 2014 · ·
  1. hocuspocus
    There isn't any room for the chickens!”

    Yes, that was my first thought after we had placed the just purchased typical red and white waterer and it's look-a-like feeder in our newly built coop.

    What to do, What to do?”

    The old expression “Necessity is the Mother of Invention” set me on the path to create more “size suitable” waterer/feeders for our small coop and our new family members.

    The first was this Hanging Waterer -


    This waterer was constructed from an empty Schweppes Tonic Water bottle. First, two smallish holes were drilled near the bottom and on the sides at a position which would provide the right water level in the pan. Then, a hole was in the center of the bottom of the bottle as well as the center of a plastic drip pan from a plant pot.

    One should note that other materials and sizes can be used for both the bottle and pan, as long as both can have the holes drilled through at the center.

    Next, a machine screw (also called a bolt) was inserted through the hole in the bottle bottom (much like building a boat in a bottle) and then through the plate. A rubber washer was then slid onto the screw end, then a washer, and then all was secured by a small nut.
    Water was then poured into the dish to test for any leak around the screw. I found that dripping can be corrected by additional tightening of the nut.

    Finally, a hole was drilled through the bottle cap, slightly smaller than the hook thread. The idea is to provide an air tight seal.

    Filling the bottle requires that the holes on the bottle sides be covered until the cap can be screwed down tight. If one's hands are too small to cover the holes a large rubber band can stretched around the jar to block water discharge while filling. Remember, however, to remove this before the waterer is put into use.

    The completed unit can be hung in the coop or run by a chain, hook, etc. at a convenient level. (see picture below)

    Total cost: less than $1.00 (hook & pan at thrift store)

    Next project, a spill free feeder.

    My first thoughts on this subject were that any design should accomplish several goals:

    1. contain the food and eliminate waste
    2. provide easy access for the chickens
    3. be easily removed and cleaned
    4. keep chickens from dirtying the food or container
    5. take up a minimal amount of space

    An empty ½ gallon bleach bottle provided just the type of container which could accomplish all of these goals. Step one was to carefully position and cut an opening by which the chickens could access the food, and enough food could be included to provide a daily ration.

    Next, a hook was positioned into the handle part of the bottle so that it could be readily hung from the wire mesh in a corner of the coop or run.

    Total cost: 75 ¢ for the hook

    This is how the two units look when in a coop or run:


    “Phase Two”

    Never being one to “leave well enough alone”, I decided to try a couple of alternative, or improved designs.

    The first of these is an alternative waterer

    Some folks like to have a waterer inside the coop itself, and then there are those who have flat ground and like to have a water source on ground level.
    This design uses the following materials: empty peanut butter jar, a pan (bowl, saucer, etc.), machine screw with washer/nut/gasket, and a suitably sized wooden base.


    As in the plan above, holes are drilled on the bottom sides of the jar at an appropriate level, and a hole is drilled in the center of the jar bottom. Likewise a hole is drilled in the center of the pan/bowl and the wooden base.


    Assembly is similar to above except additional “legs” or thicknesses of wood can be added to the base to achieve whatever height is desired. Yes, those plastic "legs" are actually caps from orange juice containers.


    Total cost: 25 ¢ for pan at thrift store

    Last, but not least a space saving feeder

    Once again, my considerations for a feeder were as follows:

    1. contain the food and eliminate waste
    2. provide easy access for the chickens
    3. be easily cleaned and removed
    4. keep chickens from dirtying the food and container
    5. take up a minimal amount of space
    Additionally, while I liked the PVC pipe food feeders designed by many people, I was troubled by the fact that keeping the food in the open allowed for the possible spoilage of food, and the possibly that rodents might be attracted. More importantly, my limited number of chickens begged for a smaller unit.

    With that in mind, I started with an approximate 15” of 3” PVC thin wall pipe.


    Next, a section of the pipe was cut out so as to provide easy access by the chickens.


    To seal the ends of the pipe I found that the covers from Argo Cornstarch containers would be almost a perfect fit. Depending on the pipe used, a small amount of sanding of the inside (threads) might be required. The covers have been tapped into place and make an incredibly tight fit without the use of any adhesives.


    With the caps in place, all that was needed were two hook hangers available from the dollar store.


    Total Cost: $1.00 for hooks at dollar store and 50 cents for a piece of PVC at thrift store

    Finally, this is how the “Phase Two” feeder/waterers function in the coop run with my two black Orpingtons.


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Recent User Reviews

  1. N F C
    "Small Feeders & Waterers"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Sep 6, 2018
    Good article that shows using a bit of ingenuity and some household items, inexpensive feeders & waterers can be made!
  2. ronott1
    "Great article for DIY water fountains and feeder"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jul 3, 2018
    Very good details and pictures!
  3. Ashria
    "Great ideas!"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jul 2, 2018
    Thanks for sharing these great ideas!


To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!
  1. hocuspocus
    Thanks all for your kind words.
  2. Theegoliath
    Great ideas, and thanks for the pics!
  3. arkansas55
    yes thanks for sharing
  4. judyki2004
    cool solutions! thanks for shareing

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