Gravity feeder with PVC and a galvanized garbage pail (PICS)

cassiadawn

Songster
11 Years
Apr 13, 2009
75
30
126
SK, Canada
Built this last fall (with my dad's help) and never got around to posting it!

I moved my chickens out of their tractor and into an old shed for the winter (well, actually I parked the chicken tractor next to the shed and cut a pop door between the shed and the tractor run!). I have a tube PVC feeder in the tractor, but thought it would be nice to have something that could hold more feed, and didn't need me to shake it every day or so to get the feed down to the end. So, I designed a gravity system with PVC and a galvanized garbage pail.

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The PVC parts used:

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The most important piece here was the straight connector (shown in the middle). I can't remember what it's called, but the small side fits inside a standard piece of pipe, the larger side fits around the outside of a standard piece of pipe, and it has that nice flange on it in the middle. The wider side we ended up cutting down so it was only a 1/2" or so above the flange (the wide side ends up inside the garbage pail - leaving it full length means there's 2" or so of food that never makes it down the pipe!).

Cutting the hole in the bottom of the garbage pail. We drilled a hole in the bottom first, then cut around with tin snips. The hole is just large enough for the narrow side of the PVC connector to slide through, so the flange rests on the metal.
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The connector is put through the bottom of the garbage pail from the inside, so the narrower portion sticks out the bottom. A length of PVC is slid over-top of the narrow portion, so the metal of the garbage can ends up sandwiched between the flange on the connector piece and the piece of PVC pipe. We drilled 2 holes through the connector and pipe, and secured it with screws.
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The PVC T-connector was attached to the bottom of the pipe with 2 screws, as well.

Next we cut 2 short sections of PVC, and cut oblong holes in them for feeding ports. We did this by drilling 2 large holes with a hole saw in each pipe.
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We then used a hand saw to join the holes. There's probably no reason you couldn't just have round holes - this was really just an aesthetic choice.

We attached these short sections to the PVC T-connector, then attached the caps to the other ends. We positioned the tubes so the feeding holes aren't right at the top of the pipes, but rather rotated to face towards the chickens a little bit.

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We built a shelf out of scrap lumber for the feeder, and hung it in the coop. Since this feeder will hold an entire 50lb bag of feed, we made sure to attach the shelf securely to a stud!
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This feeder is working perfectly for my coop of 4 red rock (black sex link) hens. It keeps the food clean and unscattered, and it runs fine by itself until there's only about a 1/2" of feed left in the pail. My only complaint is that the chickens occasionally sit on top of the pail and have left a bit of a mess on the lid! This summer I'm going to attach some of those plastic spike mats to the top that are used to discourage pigeons.
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I wouldn't hesitate to add 2 more chickens with this set-up, but much beyond that, and I'd probably want to make the tubes longer and add some more feeding ports. I think it could be extended far enough to have one more feeding hole on either side while still having the feed make it to the ends without help, though it might be a little sparse at the ends. If you wanted to go longer, you'd probably have to replace the T-connector with a Y, or otherwise change the angles so the bottom tubes weren't completely horizontal.
 
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catdaddy66

Songster
10 Years
Nov 18, 2009
1,050
16
151
Lugoff, SC
That is one of the very best designs of a bucket and/or PVC pipe feeder that I have ever seen!!
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It is a simple but beautiful design that is easy to clean/fill/maintain/extend/etc. It also saves floor space, can be indoor or outdoor. Even the cleaning of the lid is easily solved.

TOUCHDOWN!! Gamecocks win! Gamecocks win!!
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cassiadawn

Songster
11 Years
Apr 13, 2009
75
30
126
SK, Canada
Glad you all like it.
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It does seem to cut back a lot on waste - I've got it set at upper chest height for the chickens, and it's too round for them to perch on, so there's no scratching out of food. It's also deep enough that they don't spray food out when they peck. In about 6 months, they also haven't managed to kick any bedding up into the feeder.

There was a tiny pile of feed on the floor the other day (first time ever), I'm thinking probably one of them attempted to perch on it and knocked some food out as she slid off.
 

briteday

Crowing
Dec 16, 2008
1,215
107
256
Northern Nevada USA
AWESOME job!!! That is exactly what I have been wanting to build...as soon as the weather warms up a bit here. I was thinking about putting the garbage can outside of the coop and using a flexible rain gutter extension to feed it into the coop...then into gutters or tubing, like yours.

What size pipe did you use?
 

cassiadawn

Songster
11 Years
Apr 13, 2009
75
30
126
SK, Canada
It's the standard size used for sanitary sewer... I believe it's 4". It's the only size of white PVC that the Home Depot here seems to carry, in any case.
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