Plastic or galvanized metal feed/water containers pros&cons

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Thunder Bay Chicken, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. Thunder Bay Chicken

    Thunder Bay Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 21, 2010
    North of Thunder Bay
    Just wondering what everyone uses for feed and water containers, how they hold up? any recommendations? brand or product.

    I live in cold climate and in my experience nothing plastic lasts for very long. however it is very easy to keep clean.

    metal containers do rust and dent are also easy to clean but can be heavy.

    Not sure which way to go, price not an issue if it's quality item that will meet the chickens needs.

    Also not sure on the number and size of containers either, having never owned a flock before I don't know what they will consume and at what rate... I don't want to be a slave to my chickens feeding and watering needs.

    Any suggestions?

    Thx in advance for any replies!
  2. 2DogsFarm

    2DogsFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2009
    NW Indiana
    I can't agree that plastic won't last.

    I inherited an old 1gal glass waterer with a plastic base from the former owners of my house who kept chickens.
    The thing could be 10 or 20yo & it is still useful.
    I will admit the base is a bit fragile, but that is after it has seen many years of use.

    They also cobbled together a hanging feeder from a plastic lid of some kind that I am using & it is in fine shape.
    It does have a bell-shaped galvanized top piece that I cannot figure out how it was intended to be used, so I just fill the bowl [​IMG].
    Going on Year 3 and it is good as new.

    The heated plastic 1gal bowl I use for water now has held up fine in its 2nd Midwest Winter.
    A similar one for my barncat lasted in my barn for 5 years before it shorted out - the bowl was still good, but the cord got damaged.

    I have 6 hens & 1 rooster and the feeder holds a day or two worth of pelleted feed - about 6 cups. They eat less when they are out freeranging, more when bad weather confines them to the coop.
    The water bowl lasts them for 2-3 days but I generally empty & refill that daily.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2011
  3. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    I have mine inside a large coop, that doesn't have a rodent problem. I have a couple of heavy duty plastic trash bins with a hinged lid. One for the complete feed and one for scratch. We've had them for many years. Honestly, I think we got them in the mid 1990s. They're heavy duty Rubbermaid trash bins. My husband just pops the bag right in, rather than pouring it in.

    If you have them outdoors or your coop has rodents, metal won't get chewed through like plastic will. I had one with bird seed that was fine for many years, also, but eventually a squirrel decided to chew through it.

    I think metal can have more of a problem with condensation, though.

    Edited to add that I was thinking that you were talking about storage bins. I just realized you probably meant the feeders and waterers. Sorry! If you have a really large flock, I think the metal styles come in the largest sizes. For smaller flocks, you could go either way. I've used all kinds and they all worked great for me. Even bowls of water in the summer. I do really like the plastic feeders with the spokes in the tray, that keep the chickens from billing out feed by swiping their beaks through the tray. In the summer, a bowl or small bucket of water is really easy to dump, clean and refill, compared to fiddling around with some water fonts. Really, though, they all work.

    The deciding factor on what to get for water in a freezing area is usually how you want to handle the water freezing. Some people use the rubber bowls and just knock the ice out a couple of times a day, then refill. I've used the metal fonts on a metal heater for large flocks, a heated dog bowl for a few chickens and a submerged heater in a small stock tank. This year we tried the new plastic font that's heated and it's worked surprisingly well, too.

    How many chickens are you planning to get?
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2011
  4. BellevueOmlet

    BellevueOmlet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    I was concerned about plastic with all of the media on plastic bottles so I was going to switch to metal just for that reason. After looking into it, the plastic they use in the waterers and feeders is a much more compound solid platic that doe snot have the leeching that bottles have.

    I would go with what you think looks better.
  5. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    The only plastic feeders or waterers that I use are in the brooder because they are easy to clean and I can get the design I want.

    In the tractors and in the hen yard it's all galvanized steel tube feeders and double wall founts. Nothing made of plastic survives more than a year or two in the Florida sun. The metal waterers typically last me about five years or so and I'm still using the first metal tube feeder I ever bought.
  6. ginormous chicken

    ginormous chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2011
    Elverta, California
    I use the plastics for everything including my chicks. Believe me I would love the metal 3 gallon feeder but it is like 26 dollars! (I saw it today at a feed store.) My trash can is galvanized metal. And I also have 1 long metal chick feeder and I bought a metal hopper feeder today. The thing is, the plastic ones are just so much cheaper at TSC. They work fine.

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