Galvanized Metal Vs. Plastic feeders...Which is better?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ChickenPie31, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. ChickenPie31

    ChickenPie31 New Egg

    Jun 11, 2011
    Hello, Newbie here;

    We are excited to be getting our first three hens (for egg production) and a hand built coop next week and have been rigoriously researching feeders and waterers.

    I've found two main material feeders and waterers on the market, galvanized metal and plastic. Does any one have any preferences that they can share? The "make your own bucket feeder" posted on another thread looks pretty amazing and inexpensive which is attractive but I was wondering if anyone had any feedback on the metal ones as well. Cleanliness? Bacteria growth? Etc.

    We live inland in Southern California and we have very hot, dry summers, my only concern with the metal is that the surface might be a little hot for the birds come August or September. Obviously shade would keep the feeder cooler, which we plan on but still when the temp hits 110-115 I want to be sure my birds can still eat and drink.

    I would appriciate any comments or suggestions.

  2. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    I prefer the plastic waterers because the galvanized ones rust. Too bad, because I like the way the big galvanized ones work.

    The plastic waterer I like the best has a hexagon shaped tray and a screw on lid. There is a little cap that you put on the water spout when you fill the jar and/ or move it around.
  3. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Really, either feeder will work. I have both. The metal does break down eventually (4 years I think) and the plastic hold up amazingly well, or mine have. I also find them easier to wash. You didn't ask about waterers, but I'll mention that sometimes you may want to add medicine, vinegar, etc. to the water, and you often can't do this with metal because it interacts. I'm not a big plastic person but I sure like it for the chickens. A little bleach when cleaning them, now and then, makes it so easy with plastic, but you don't want to put bleach in metal.
  4. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 19, 2010
    Montgomery County, TX
    My plastic waterers both broke, from sun damage. The galvanized stuff should not rust.
  5. duckinnut

    duckinnut Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2010
    Marshfield, Ma.
    Made my own feeder out of a 5 gal pickle bucket from a fast food restuarant,just ask the manager to save you one. And dont forget the cover. I went to Lowes and bought a planter bottom(14"/15"?) and a stainless bolt and wing nut for under $10. Of course there is work to do like drill holes,in the bottom for the tray and 1and 1/2" holes in the side of the bucket with a paddle bit. Got it hanging inside the coop from a rope with a snap clip,makes easy cleaning and filling.

    As far as waterer I have got one of the galvy ones,so far its holding up but not completely happy with it.Probably get a plastic next time or even make my own.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011
  6. CCFarms9559

    CCFarms9559 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2010
    Jeffersontown, Ky
    I like the metal waterers because I use the metal heater under it in the winter. Can't do that with a plastic waterer.
  7. LD Jackson

    LD Jackson Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 1, 2011
    Roland, OK
    Opinions on this seem to be split and I am no different. I started with a small plastic waterer and when the chicks outgrew it, I went with a bigger, 5-gallon plastic waterer, the type Oregon Blues says he uses. I just purchased it yesterday and the only problem I see with it so far is that it is so heavy when full. It was quite difficult getting it from where I filled it up to the coop. When it's time to refill, I will be bringing the water hose to the coop.

    As for feeders, I started with two of the plastic chick feeders, but when they outgrew those, I went with a 12# galvanized hanging feeder. I have a rope system rigged up so I can raise or lower it and they are not wasting feed, as far as I can tell. I looked at making my own, or using a small pig feeder than hangs on the wall, but I think this is going to work best for the way I have my coop set up.
  8. areyoumymother

    areyoumymother Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2011
    I have thing I like about both is that they were FREE [​IMG]

    Past down from my sister, her son raised turkeys for FFA but now he is in the Airforce.

    The only thing about the waterer is I can't put ACV in it so I will end up buying or making a plastic waterer anyway, the feeder works great and I will be using it for a long time to come.

    My sister did say they started out with plastic because they were cheaper to buy....but....they were not as sturdy and actually cracked after one year in the hot Houston sun.
  9. ChickenPie31

    ChickenPie31 New Egg

    Jun 11, 2011
    Great, thanks everyone for your feedback. It does look like both types are preferred. I don't really like using plastic either but the convenience of having something a little more light weight may serve us a bit better, especially when our 8 year old son will be part ofthe daily chicken chores. I may try both and see what works best for our gals.
  10. BellevueOmlet

    BellevueOmlet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    I like plastic best unless you are like areyoumymother and get it free, free is always nice.
    They are easier to clean and last longer as long if they are good quality - you do want good quality plastic so that it does not fall apart and nothing leeches into the water.
    For heating, if you use metal, you can place the heater under the bucket but you can heat plastic buckets as well. They make heaters that can be placed into the center of the bucket in the water and heats from there.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011

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