Grandpa Feeders and Larger Flocks

Lizzy733

Crowing
Nov 13, 2018
1,028
1,847
251
New Zealand
Can you share details on that wider feeder? We are also in the market for our 30 girls who waste a $lot of food...
Here's what we've ended up with. Very similar to the feed-o-matic. Only 10kg capacity, but looks like it'll fit 4 fluffy butts at once.

My little ones (almost 6 weeks) have been using it and all 6 can easily fit under at once.

Not sure the big girls like the tread on this one as much as the feed-o, haven't caght them using it just yet, but my flock is currently only 4 adults and the 6 little upstarts.

For 30, I'd probably want at least 3-4. They do queue, but I like to make sure I'm well covered for integrations.

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Al Gerhart

Crowing
10 Years
Sep 29, 2011
863
757
251
Oklahoma City
Thirty birds, even a two bird feeder (10.5" wide) would cover 30 birds with two feeders. Once the pecking order is worked out there will be little fighting at the feeder as with two feeders one will be open at any given time other than right off the roost in the morning. You would need to refill two thirty pound feeder every eight days.

Folks, the pecking order is gonna happen. Either over feed, over roost space, they will "have a discussion" on who eats first and who is the boss no matter how many feeders you have. We have found with commercial free range flocks that as many as fifty, even sixty birds per feeder with enough feeders. A two thousand bird flock can get by with 30 feeders, even 24 feeders as long as they are refilled each day. Dialing that down, a 100 bird flock could get by with two feeders, three at the most. A 30 bird flock with three feeders isn't going to have any fighting for feed once the pecking order is established.

The only reason to have more than three feeders in the average backyard flock is because you want to go on vacation and not have someone coming over to feed.

The reason that I don't make a wider feeder is that with width comes more mass/weight on the door. Smaller birds have more trouble opening a feeder over 14", even when counterbalanced with a twin counterweight and twin spring system that is just a lot of mass being pushed around by a small bird. We have an extra large and a large feeder, both have doors openings around 14", three birds can eat easily.

The 20" feeder in the picture has a very light door with zero resistance to being simply pushed open by a rat or mouse and you need that to keep the vermin out. Gotta pre tension the door with a spring if want to stop vermin. I do like that treadle design much better than the Chinese made Grandpa feeders and the clones, you aren't going to have toes cut with that wire versus the punched holes. Something like this is a good idea as a bridge feeder for that time when the poults are not large enough to use an adult feeder but with that close in wide treadle rats will be able to use it once enough of them get on the treadle even if they don't figure out they can just push the door open.
 

Lizzy733

Crowing
Nov 13, 2018
1,028
1,847
251
New Zealand
Thirty birds, even a two bird feeder (10.5" wide) would cover 30 birds with two feeders. Once the pecking order is worked out there will be little fighting at the feeder as with two feeders one will be open at any given time other than right off the roost in the morning. You would need to refill two thirty pound feeder every eight days.

Folks, the pecking order is gonna happen. Either over feed, over roost space, they will "have a discussion" on who eats first and who is the boss no matter how many feeders you have. We have found with commercial free range flocks that as many as fifty, even sixty birds per feeder with enough feeders. A two thousand bird flock can get by with 30 feeders, even 24 feeders as long as they are refilled each day. Dialing that down, a 100 bird flock could get by with two feeders, three at the most. A 30 bird flock with three feeders isn't going to have any fighting for feed once the pecking order is established.

The only reason to have more than three feeders in the average backyard flock is because you want to go on vacation and not have someone coming over to feed.

The reason that I don't make a wider feeder is that with width comes more mass/weight on the door. Smaller birds have more trouble opening a feeder over 14", even when counterbalanced with a twin counterweight and twin spring system that is just a lot of mass being pushed around by a small bird. We have an extra large and a large feeder, both have doors openings around 14", three birds can eat easily.

The 20" feeder in the picture has a very light door with zero resistance to being simply pushed open by a rat or mouse and you need that to keep the vermin out. Gotta pre tension the door with a spring if want to stop vermin. I do like that treadle design much better than the Chinese made Grandpa feeders and the clones, you aren't going to have toes cut with that wire versus the punched holes. Something like this is a good idea as a bridge feeder for that time when the poults are not large enough to use an adult feeder but with that close in wide treadle rats will be able to use it once enough of them get on the treadle even if they don't figure out they can just push the door open.
I've had great luck with at least the feed-o-matic quickly ending rat visits to our run. That one has varying balance points to adjust the weight required to open it. This new one only has one balance point, so yeah, adjustment may be in order. Particularly, I would like to replace the foot pedal at some point. It did seem a bit flimsy until I got it properly secured and the old girls do seem to prefer the tried and true feed-o-matic at this stage.

I've primarily gone for these because they are wholly ignored by our local rat population, unlike the gear feeders, and keep the wild birds from scabbing food.

Only took one week of my putting a gear feeder out for the babies for a rat to come calling - that feeder is now gone since they're using the treadle, and the rat along with it. My babies found out they could get in with teamwork - they're clever little cookies.

Integration's actually been really easy this time around. I think my girls were glad for the new additions since the flock had gotten down to 3 - I've only needed 2-3 days see but don't touch and well monitored run-sharing time to get them through.

All the grandpa designs make me think they'll guillotine my birds...

We're moving rural and I'll soon have much more space to work with and I intend to run a few separate flocks, so it's always been the more the merrier for me and feeding\watering equipment.
 

TropicalBabies

Hanging loose 🌴😁🤙
Jun 12, 2018
2,984
12,911
697
Kauai, Hawaii
I have the grandpa feeder and really like it. I just threw some scratch inside infront of my roo and it took him 2 seconds to figure it out and showing the hens who showed the pullets. I have other feeders and my chicks use them instead of the grandpa. I have never had a problem with it.
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