Pigeons and Dove are Eating all my Chicken Feed

sittinghenlove

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 10, 2013
37
0
32
What the heck? I live in the desert and have tried everything to keep the pigeon and dove out of my coop and out of my chicken feeder. I use a 10 gallon metal feeder that hangs from the ceiling of the coop and every day pigeons fly in and eat out of the feeder. I have an open space where the chicks can get in and out throughout the day (like a doogy door in the coop) and I have done everything to deter the other birds. Any ideas how to keep the pigeons out? The only thing I can think of are those bird spikes. Have those worked effectivley for anyone? I even have those fake plastic Owls out, but they do NOTHING. At any given time there could be 2 dozen pigeons, walking around with my chickens, eating. Why don't the chickens run them off?
 

ChickensRDinos

Songster
7 Years
Aug 19, 2012
2,242
240
208
Los Angeles
I have been battling the exact same problem for a long time with these little sparrows -- it started out with just a few and then there were TONS all the time.

You can try building a treadle: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/building-a-treadle-chicken-feeder

I made one and it actually worked pretty well. It takes a bit of patience to train them how to use it. I propped it completely open the first week and then gradually shortened my prop stick every few days after that. They were a little scared of the foot peddle at first but they got over it. I have a mixed flock and all it worked fine for my various large fowl and my cochin bantams....my only issues was one silkie who is......very special. She just could not do it. She can't do much and even consistently had a hard time finding her way home when I let her out so I think she is an exception but because of that one bird I had to give up on the treadle.

I tried a pellet gun but im a city girl and they just laughed at me. Too many to make any difference.

I then tried just feeding twice a day instead of free feeding. It did help with the birds but I could not maintain it with my work schedule. The sparrow-rage plus one brutal hawk attack and now I have a completely inclosed run and let the birds free range in the evenings and some weekends. When the coop is open I remove the feeder. At first I was really unhappy with the run idea but now I kind of like the control.

edited: you can also buy metal treadle feeders if you aren't the building type but they are on the pricey side.
 
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enola

Crowing
11 Years
Jan 23, 2009
13,143
1,472
378
Irwin, Pennsylvania (Pittsburg area)
I had the same problem with squirrels. I had to resort to feeding the chickens all they would eat 2 times a day. Then I cleaned up any thing that they left. By doing this there was nothing there for the squirrel when he came by to eat.

I wanted to shoot them, but, life in a well populated area makes that impossible.
 

sittinghenlove

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 10, 2013
37
0
32
Thank you so much for the info. My husband is awesome at building stuff, so we will try the treadle, I go through so much feed it is ridiculous! But I have one bird that will probably be like your silke and not catch on but this is totally worth the time to try. thank you thank you!
 

Gallo del Cielo

La Gallina Resort & Spa
10 Years
May 6, 2010
5,230
496
326
Tucson
My Coop
My Coop
It seems like hordes of wild birds eating the chicken feed is a common problem in the desert. I agree that the treadle feeder will help keep wild birds from eating your food, it certainly worked in my situation. I would also point out that some people use a trigger feeder that should keep wild birds from eating the chicken feed. People seem to like them and they are relatively easy to make and inexpensive. There is still the issue of teaching the chickens to use it though.

A curtain over the door that the chickens use to get in and out of the coop might also help. I made one with layers of strips of shade cloth, but it could be made with just about anything. It effectively keeps doves and pigeons out of the coop, but not sparrows. It would be easier for the chickens to learn to use it if you introduce it gradually; you can read about how I did that on my coop page.

56638_doorcurtain.jpg
 
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sittinghenlove

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 10, 2013
37
0
32
we thought sbout something like the strips you used but figured the chickens would learn to use it. so glad to hear yours learned. gonna try this first since it will take just a few steps. thank you!!
 

Kelsie2290

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Feb 18, 2011
36,684
4,957
586
Ohio
http://www.sparrowtraps.net/
To catch them, these work really well for small birds like sparrows and starlings, if you are handy you can make bigger ones for pigeons. For the coop door, chickens will also learn to use dog doors with the plastic flap entrances, as long as the magnetic strips aren't too strong
 

sittinghenlove

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 10, 2013
37
0
32
im amazed they will learn this! sometimes my chix run into walls and lizards scare them. i cant wait to add this to my coop....and not buy so much feed!
 

BeautyforAshes

Hatching
Oct 21, 2021
1
0
4
What the heck? I live in the desert and have tried everything to keep the pigeon and dove out of my coop and out of my chicken feeder. I use a 10 gallon metal feeder that hangs from the ceiling of the coop and every day pigeons fly in and eat out of the feeder. I have an open space where the chicks can get in and out throughout the day (like a doogy door in the coop) and I have done everything to deter the other birds. Any ideas how to keep the pigeons out? The only thing I can think of are those bird spikes. Have those worked effectivley for anyone? I even have those fake plastic Owls out, but they do NOTHING. At any given time there could be 2 dozen pigeons, walking around with my chickens, eating. Why don't the chickens run them off?
Did you ever find something that worked for you? We live in the desert and have the same issue, except all the feeders we have tried including the treadal feeder are killing the doves and they either go in and eat while the chickens are eating then the flap kills them when it drops or they get stuck inside and eat the food for days until we open the treadal feeder to refill and find several doves inside the box! I see online there is a new style with a small hole at the bottom of a 5 gal bucket and a weighted eyebolt added that the chickens peck on and drop only a few grains out at a time that apparently birds can't get to. I would like to try it.
 

Al Gerhart

Crowing
10 Years
Sep 29, 2011
842
740
251
Oklahoma City
You need a treadle feeder. Avoid the ones with wide steps as pigeons are flying rats and about as intelligent, they will figure out that enough of them standing on the wide step will open the door. A narrow and distant treadle is better plus it stretches the chicken out so it is harder for them to rake feed out of the feeder. A spring loaded door is also needed, nearly all feeders on the market sold on Amazon do not have this feature because it requires a much stronger door axle. Most of the feeders including the Grandpa feeder are made in China so look around and find a U.S. made feeder with the needed features.

Making your own is an excellent temporary solution but the wooden feeders quickly get wet, swell up, and stop working from the humidity. Then again, you made it, you can fix it! That beats spending double on feed.
 

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