Anti-bird feeder for ducks and chickens

JimNAZ

Chirping
Feb 9, 2016
25
10
66
Seligman Arizona
As many others are dealing with birds eating the feed, so am I. I have tried placing inside coop and other buildings and the birds always end up finding it.
I do not have the option of watching the chickens/ducks eat then putting the feed away.
I have seen the feeder where the chicken has to step on the step to open up the door to get to the feed, but I've also read where people using it still have issues. Are there any other designs that might work?
If the best design is the one that they have to step on, would that work for ducks also?
Currently I feed the crumble, would the pellets keep the birds from eating it any better?
Anyone have any links to a DIY step on feeder? I've seen one but it is not opening for me.

Thanks for any help
Jim
 

Al Gerhart

Songster
Sep 29, 2011
274
285
191
Oklahoma City
There are many different versions of treadle feeders out there and there are two reasons why some fail to work.

First is the customer not following the directions during installation and training. Not securing the feeder to a wall if required by the vertical design, not removing all other feed sources, not making sure the treadle can bottom out on some versions so the bird is wobbling around instead of feeling secure in its footing. At least once a month I will get an email claiming their birds are too stupid to use the feeder and when you ask for pictures of the installed feeder it is obvious right away that the directions were ignored. Once you point out the problems the birds suddenly become smarter.....

But most common is the design. The feeders with the wide steps are easily overwhelmed by birds landing on the feeder or as common, the birds just push the door open and eat the feed. Or the feed tray is tucked way too far up under the feeder so the birds have to crouch down low, not something that a prey animal enjoys doing. Or the door swings up overhead which requires a long training regimen that teaches the rats and wild birds that the feed is there waiting for them to learn how to open the feeder.

For a feeder to defeat large number of vermin you need a couple of things.

First the ability to train without having to block the feeder open so the wild birds don't learn where the feed is stored.
Second, you need a narrow and distant treadle so that even if critters managed to get the treadle down they cannot reach the feed tray. If they gang up on the treadle and it opens, they will all rush forward to eat and get the door closed in their face.
Third, you need a heavy counterweight that provides enough mass to help keep the door closed and provide some resistance to the door being pushed open.
Fourth, a counterweight itself needs some help on the initial resistance so a spring loaded door is essential.

Anything other than that might work for a while, with luck the critters might move on before they figure the feeder out. If the vermin load is small they might solve your problem.

You aren't going to build a treadle feeder economically on your own unless it is one of the wooden varieties and those eventually will swell up from the moisture or get chewed into by the rats. They will leak, they will have all the problems of the overhead door treadle feeder designs.

Get online and do your research. Find the online reviews, not on Amazon, there are so many paid reviewers these days it is hard to trust Amazon. Find the little blog sites and review sites that don/t have a special link to click on (Amazon affiliates making a buck). Google wild bird proof treadle feeder and rat proof chicken feeder and you will find plenty of honest online sources for finding the right feeder. If you do hit the product pages anything with a negative feedback rate over 10% is suspect, if a feeder is practical it is going to work more than 90% of the time.

In the end you are already paying for a good treadle feeder and bringing in a lot of disease and pests to your flock. The simple way to stop the wild birds from coming around is to cut off their feed. If you want to see a really good story about what a good treadle feeder can do Google Fifth Crow Farm treadle feeder and one of the top results will be about my feeders that saved the greens crops and 20 pounds of feed a day. They didn't put a link up but you can easily find the feeder online.

As for pellets, won't matter, the birds will eat them too. Both types of feed do well in a well designed feeder so either will do.
 

JimNAZ

Chirping
Feb 9, 2016
25
10
66
Seligman Arizona
There are many different versions of treadle feeders out there and there are two reasons why some fail to work.

First is the customer not following the directions during installation and training. Not securing the feeder to a wall if required by the vertical design, not removing all other feed sources, not making sure the treadle can bottom out on some versions so the bird is wobbling around instead of feeling secure in its footing. At least once a month I will get an email claiming their birds are too stupid to use the feeder and when you ask for pictures of the installed feeder it is obvious right away that the directions were ignored. Once you point out the problems the birds suddenly become smarter.....

But most common is the design. The feeders with the wide steps are easily overwhelmed by birds landing on the feeder or as common, the birds just push the door open and eat the feed. Or the feed tray is tucked way too far up under the feeder so the birds have to crouch down low, not something that a prey animal enjoys doing. Or the door swings up overhead which requires a long training regimen that teaches the rats and wild birds that the feed is there waiting for them to learn how to open the feeder.

For a feeder to defeat large number of vermin you need a couple of things.

First the ability to train without having to block the feeder open so the wild birds don't learn where the feed is stored.
Second, you need a narrow and distant treadle so that even if critters managed to get the treadle down they cannot reach the feed tray. If they gang up on the treadle and it opens, they will all rush forward to eat and get the door closed in their face.
Third, you need a heavy counterweight that provides enough mass to help keep the door closed and provide some resistance to the door being pushed open.
Fourth, a counterweight itself needs some help on the initial resistance so a spring loaded door is essential.

Anything other than that might work for a while, with luck the critters might move on before they figure the feeder out. If the vermin load is small they might solve your problem.

You aren't going to build a treadle feeder economically on your own unless it is one of the wooden varieties and those eventually will swell up from the moisture or get chewed into by the rats. They will leak, they will have all the problems of the overhead door treadle feeder designs.

Get online and do your research. Find the online reviews, not on Amazon, there are so many paid reviewers these days it is hard to trust Amazon. Find the little blog sites and review sites that don/t have a special link to click on (Amazon affiliates making a buck). Google wild bird proof treadle feeder and rat proof chicken feeder and you will find plenty of honest online sources for finding the right feeder. If you do hit the product pages anything with a negative feedback rate over 10% is suspect, if a feeder is practical it is going to work more than 90% of the time.

In the end you are already paying for a good treadle feeder and bringing in a lot of disease and pests to your flock. The simple way to stop the wild birds from coming around is to cut off their feed. If you want to see a really good story about what a good treadle feeder can do Google Fifth Crow Farm treadle feeder and one of the top results will be about my feeders that saved the greens crops and 20 pounds of feed a day. They didn't put a link up but you can easily find the feeder online.

As for pellets, won't matter, the birds will eat them too. Both types of feed do well in a well designed feeder so either will do.
Thank you for all the info. Funny, I had your website already opened looking at the feeders.
 

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