Feeder/Waterer Question - New to this

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Chickenpatty84, Jan 10, 2016.

  1. Chickenpatty84

    Chickenpatty84 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 14, 2015
    SE Louisiana
    Hey y'all,

    So I'm not playing Devil's Advocate here or anything, just really curious. My wife and I got our flock of 12 about 5 weeks ago, and we were blessed with a coop already on out property. It needs some love, but it'll do for now. My questions are about feeders and waterers. It essentially boils down to this: why would I make my own feeder and waterer if I could buy one for cheaper?

    I went to the hardware store yesterday to price some PVC piping and such, and I was surprised to find that it isn't that cheap. If I can find a commercial setup for a decent price online or something like that, shouldn't I just buy that one? Or is there some inherent disadvantage to those that I don't know about since this is my first flock? I just don't want to make a costly mistake. Any and all help would be appreciated!

    By the way, we aren't using pelletized feed, it's that organic stuff that leaves that powder behind that people can ferment...if that needs to be factored into the equation.

  2. potato chip

    potato chip lunch-sharer


    If you have a large setup and you are looking at making several, or if you already have the materials as off-cuts from another job, or if you can get the materials on sale, or, or, or, then it can be more economical making something yourself.

    If you have one coop, no materials, and no tools, it can be cheaper just to buy something "ready-made". Also, if you don't have a lot of time, or a lot of skills, or a lot of inclination, then it might be better to buy "ready-made".

    There's no 'one size fits all'. Do what suits you and your circumstances.

    People post up how they've made something because it helps others who want to recycle or re-use or who otherwise want to also make something themselves. Just because others have made their own doesn't mean you have to.

    (EDIT: having said that, I'd make something myself if it meant I could get away from those inadequate plastic feeders/waterers. They aren't cheap and THEY DON"T LAST. Buying materials for something that will last and last might work out more economical than buying another (not-cheap) "cheapie" every six months.)
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2016
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome! I haven't done the home made feeders either, and the galvanized gravity or the plastic feeders work fine. There's less waste with pelleted feeds, but they only come as layer, not as growth or all-flock, which is what generally gets used here. The 'powder' is probably the vitamin/ mineral mix, which needs to be eaten with the feed, not separated out. You will be trying things to see what works for you, and living where it freezes in winter makes a difference too. Mary
  4. allo

    allo Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 8, 2016
    here , easy takes 5 minutes to make feeder

    the video is not in english but still easy to understand
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I've eliminated wasted feed and greatly simplified watering, especially winter watering.

    I agree the PVC feeders can be expensive...and IMO, don't really function that well.

    The stuff I made work better than just about anything I could buy....and most cost less if you don't count labor time.
    Plus, I like to design and build things that work well.....and out perform store bought devices.

    Last edited: Jan 11, 2016
  6. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    I made this one. Total cost? Around $31.00.


    Thing works great, no wasted food, size is adjustable depending on how you cut the rain gutter, and it's easy to fill and clean.

    Edited to add: I originally made it for fermented food, but I went back to regular dry food - just too hard to keep FF going in sub zero temps and I don't have any place in my house to keep it going through the winter. To my surprise, it works even better than the $39.00 metal one I bought. More chickens can eat at one time!
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2016
  7. Chickenpatty84

    Chickenpatty84 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 14, 2015
    SE Louisiana
    Hey Y'all,

    I just want to say thanks for all the ideas...fantastic stuff. I'm going to end up making my own feeder and waterer. The store-bought ones just get too dirty and are a pain b/c a lot of it gets wasted. I'll figure something out for the dusty part of the food - a fermenting solution most likely. Anyway, it takes a village indeed.

    Thanks for your help with this. :)
  8. Poop Cleaner

    Poop Cleaner Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 13, 2015
    I am new too, but so far these are my experiences:

    I agree that the store bought ones marked as chicken feeders do not work very well. They all seem to have the design flaw where the food dish part protrudes beyond the container, inviting the chickens to poop and throw shavings/dirt/dust into it. The feeders also have a problem where the food in the middle doesn't gravitate downward and just kind of stays there and goes bad.

    The feeder I use is actually meant to be a wild bird feeder with a roof wider in diameter than the food dish. Chickens cannot get close enough to the dish to poop into it. When hung off the ground, they also cannot throw dirt into it.

    I have a problem with rodents in my rural area, so I do not keep a feeder in the coop overnight. Another problem with feeders in general is that they could invite a rodents also, and it could just look like the chickens are eating a lot. Rodent proofing @[email protected] The only thing I've found to work ever are: Not giving them a reason to move in (taking away food), and cats.

    For waterers, the store bought ones don't work very well for similar reasons as the feeders, namely dirt and poop due to the design. The chicken nipples are for sure the way to go. You could maybe elevate one of the store bought ones to minimize the contamination. Or just use a gallon jug with a hole cut out too high for dirt to get throw into it. Easier to clean and/or throw away.
  9. Chickletz

    Chickletz Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 1, 2016
    Looking for suggestions for heated water bowls and what seems to work best. Also need to use them pretty much now so as economical as building your own is unless it's an east setup that can be done in a day purchasing would be my option. I've heard heated dog bowls work well (I have a small flock of 5). Any help???
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    There are dozens of threads about heater waterers, try this link I've searched for you:
    advanced search>titles only>heated water

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