Rat Proof Feeder - Review

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Howard E, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with this product in any way. Builder is a BYC member and sometimes poster, which is where I discovered the product. I purchased it through their website.

    I am posting this in the Predator forum for a couple reasons. One is to address the problem with rats and mice in our coops, which creates yet another problem, and that is I am convinced that a concentration of rats and mice in our coops attract a whole host of other predators that arrive for the rats and mice, then quickly transition to the birds, eggs and chicks. Predators like weasels, snakes, etc.

    So this started when I discovered a nest of mice living in the coop. I had been seeing some signs.......tunnels.......rodent feces, barn cats outside the coop staring at the ground around it, etc. Then one day I turned over a hay bale and about a dozen mice boiled up and scattered all over the place. The birds were inside and managed to catch one and what ensued was one of the worst chicken fights I've ever seen. The unlucky mouse was ripped from limb to limb, but it took a while.

    Mice were dining on the open feed, plus what the birds were raking out on the ground, which was a lot. Judging from the rate they are eating feed now, maybe half of what they were going through was ending up on the ground, and attracting mice.

    So this is the feeder I purchased:

    http://ratproofchickenfeeder.com/Medium-Ratproof-Chicken-Feeder_p_1.html

    It replaced this feeder, which is maybe 90% the same:

    http://www.miller-mfg.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=171267

    Build quality of the LG is excellent, but despite claims to the contrary, my birds wasted huge amounts of feed using it. They liked to rake down.....more like hoe straight back.... new feed at the back, and filled up the pan in the process. They ate only new feed that trickled down at the back. So in the process, all the excess feed they dragged down spilled out the front and on to the ground. There is a wire grid in the pan to prevent this, but it is not nearly high enough. It was always buried under the excess feed.

    So the RP feeder is very similar in overall size and design, but with a cover in front of the feed pan. Birds must step on the treadle, which opens the cover to the rear, exposing only the feed in the front of the feed pan. Birds can't see the back of the pan (hidden behind the feed cover), so they only eat just inside the front edge. No accumulation of feed to rake or hoe out.

    I must admit my first impression of the RP feeder was not a good one. Since this is more or less a sideline project for the builder, build quality is not as good as for the commercially built LG. Materials and workmanship. BUT, it is good enough and it is a better design, so at this point if you gave me the LG and I had to buy the RP, I would buy the RP.

    So it was easy to assemble, but I immediately ran into trouble on the install. To prevent the feeder from tipping over, it needs to be installed to a back wall. Builder provides a 2 x 4 block for this purpose, but leave out some critical details on how to do it, which resulted in me doing it wrong the first time. I hung on the wall using holes I found in the sides, which was wrong on two counts. Holes I found were not for hanging the feeder. They were holes punched at the factory for assembly. You have to drill your own holes. Second issue was I simply hung the feeder on the wall, with no support below it. That was also a mistake.

    So here is how it should be done. Feeder needs to rest on a solid platform below it. I use deep litter, so I built an elevated platform out of 3 - 4" x 8" x 16" solid cement blocks, capped by 1 full and 1 half sized paving stone.......18" x 18" x 2" thick.

    Feeder 1.jpg Feeder 2.jpg Feeder 3.jpg Feeder 4.jpg

    This accomplishes two things. It will hold the feeder to the wall to keep it from tipping, and gives the birds a stable base, so when they step on it, it bottoms out on something solid that does not move. When the feeder was hanging on the wall, with the treadle in open space, it was "jumpy" and birds would not stay on it. It also bangs a lot when it opens and closes, which also makes birds nervous and they would avoid using it. Once set on a solid base, they started using it the same day. One figures it out, and the others, if they are hungry enough, will reach in from the side. The "reachers" eventually come back, step on the treadle, get a meal and from there they are home free.

    An improvement over the single block in back would be to use a "French cleat", which would be two blocks. Take a 2 x 6 and rip in lengthwise using a 45 degree rip cut. Then mount one half to the feeder, the other half to the wall at just the right height so when you set the feeder down on the base, the two blocks come back together just as they were before you made the rip cut. This will hold the feeder to the wall to keep it from tipping over from the weight of the birds on the treadle. Not likely when it is full, but could happen when it is nearly empty. The advantage of the French Cleat is the feeder is not fixed to the wall, so can simply be lifted up and out to clean it.....dump it....or clean up the base below it, without having to unscrew anything.

    A couple key features of this design. Cover over the feed pans hinges at the top and opens to the rear. Birds cannot see the back joint where feed enters, so don't rake feed out. They can barely reach over the front anyway, so eat at the front. Feed falls down on it's own, so no accumulation of old feed or excess feed. Feed waste is almost nothing, even without the supplemental lip extension, which I ordered but am not using.

    Cover is held shut by counterweight, plus a spring, which prevents rats from pushing the cover open. Treadle is out in space, so even if enough rats were to pile up on it to open the cover (not big enough to hold that many rats), they can't reach the feed without hopping off, in which case the cover slams shut before they get anything.

    And since this is all metal, they can't chew their way in.

    All in all, a great piece of work. I would like to see the treadle bar made of heavier stock....and of stainless steel, but that would increase the cost and it works as it is.

    In the end, within a week or so after cleaning out all the old litter, with all the waste feed contained within it, and after installing this contraption, the mice moved on. There is no sign of them in there now. And since that was the goal, I'd say the thing works as advertised.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
    Miss Lydia and GGBEAR like this.
  2. GGBEAR

    GGBEAR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nice post :goodpost:
     
  3. Winstarr Chicks

    Winstarr Chicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for the help. I ordered 2 "rat proof" feeders today. The ground in my coop is a half inch deep with spilled feed thanks to the squirrels.
     
  4. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My layer of spilt feed was closer to a full inch....all mixed in with the deep litter........but in my case the culprit was the birds and how they loved to rake the feed out. That has stopped........and with no more feed on the ground and no access to the feed in the feeder, the mice are no more.
     
  5. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Following - I have seen something like these on Ebay
     
  6. All Ball

    All Ball Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for posting about your ways of ensuring the best use of this feeder - muffling the noise and unsteadiness would really help calm chickens who haven't used a treadle feeder before.

    It's worth noting that some chickens will not take to treadle feeders. That happened to me with this one. At first they seemed to get it, but two got on board, one left, and the door came down on #2's head and after that no one would go near it unless I was holding it open.
     
  7. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you read the review, you may notice that mine also refused to use the feeder until it was installed as shown. Rock solid. After that, they started using it and have ever since. It is the only feeder they have.
    If installed as shown, and they have no other feed source, they WILL use it. Hunger will win out and it won't take long. Lock them up and offer no other feed source and make them use it and they will. Still no spilt feed and still no rodents hanging around. An effective weapon against vermin like rats, mice, starlings and sparrows stealing feed.
     
  8. Naser

    Naser Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use treadle feeders for years, I don't have any other way to feed the hens, all the hens use it, but it is much better if it is in a dry place, but if it is accessible to crows and rabbits they will learn how to use it. mine aren't, well "almost".

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/River-Syst...qid=1506763079&sr=8-9&keywords=treadle+feeder

    It is worth to try triggerhappy chicken feeders they are cheap, they work and hens love it, I used to use them on and off, but recently the crows learned how to use it.
    The one in the video is very low, that is how you start. but when the hens get used to it you should put it high in a way that the hens have to be on their toes to trigger it, even with that crows jump and get the feed. the funniest thing was a robin learned to fly to it and hit it to get food.

    The advantage of those feeders you fell them once every now and then, mine, the treadle feeders take 40 kg each and the triggerhappy chicken feeders take more than 80 Kg each.

     
  9. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have seen those before and they are a clever design. A person might not think birds would learn to use them, but clearly they do. The concern I would have with rats and mice is they there may be feed left on the ground the birds do not find or eat. Rats would (find and eat it). Wonder if a solid floor of some type could be used so feed does not fall onto the ground to be lost?
     
  10. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    BTW, on the rat proof feeder in the review, I have that installed inside my coop. The coop is an open air Woods coop, which does not have a run. The coop itself is essentially a covered run, enclosed on three sides, but wide open to the south, with side windows for cross ventilation. When I am not around to let the birds out, they can be left in there for days at a time. I recently did so for a week. So food and water are left in the house where other wild birds like crows, jays, etc. and rabbits and others cannot gain entry to, so no other animals can get at it. To my knowledge, the only animals getting any feed whatsoever are the chickens.
     

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