Storing feed in plastic trash cans


8 Years
Feb 23, 2011
Gilroy, CA
I'm becoming allergic to plastic! I'm really learning to hate the stuff - for storing food. Its impermeability means with temperature changes, it sweats. And if your corn is in it, and it sweats.......

I've been keeping whole field corn for the geese in 2 plastic buckets, yesterday I was horrified to find the plastic bowl I use for a scoop/measure was half full of WATER. Well, the bucket lid I had on there has one of those openable holes on it for pouring paint, and I think that developed a leak. Maybe it got pecked by a jay or something. The grain on top was dry, but I Wasn't Too Sure About This, and poured it out until I got to the bottom which was wet all right! I put the super-wet stuff out on the field for some lucky finder, the wet-ish stuff into a wooden bushel basket with a grain bag over the top and into a location that's dry but has lots of WIND riffling through, lots of air movement. Air movement is the KEY to getting stuff dry. The very driest went into an open cardboard box and into a location without tons of wind but some air movement.

If I had room in my place, (I live in 200 sq. ft.) I'd just keep the grain in here. Impermeable substances are just BAD NEWS for storing grain. Cardboard, wood, etc., breathe.

This means .... Hmm ... those wooden barrels used in the old days are looking pretty good.

Those baskets you get for cheap at thrift stores, lined with cloth could be good. I harvested a LOT of walnuts in the fall and I have them in pillowcases - cloth breathes. Walnuts need to dry and we had a wet spring, it took some learning to figure out how to get them dry enough to bring inside - in pillowcases and turned over frequently at first - for final drying. I also put just a little spritz of pyrethrin-based bug spray on the outsides of the pillowcases. Walnuts can get buggy! Right now those are stacked at the head of my bed lol. I had open cardboard boxes turned into trays, holding my half of the popcorn harvest, stacked up for a while, an inch or two of popcorn in each one and stirred just about daily, it took time but the stuff dried enough that it pops. Now it's in cardboard box. No mouse problem because mice don't want to live with me.

Plastic is just too much of a moisture-magnet. I think galvanized steel, with some provision for air movement, is the way to go. Like a galvanized trash can, with some stainless steel mesh in the bottom so air can move.
I do generally store my feed, scratch, DE, etc. in plastic tubs and plastic garbage cans, and haven't had any issues (at least with the ones that have a pretty good seal). But mine are all kept in the garage. So no exposure to the elements may have helped me in that regard
You're probably getting a far narrower temperature variation. It was probably in the high 30s *inside my trailer* this morning, high 20s overnight outside, and will get up into the 50s outside.
I live in the Pacific Northwest with lots of humidity and store my feed in a plastic garbage can with a screw on lid.
It sits outside against the coop with the roof jutting out over it.
It is on the North side away from the prevailing winds and I've never had a problem with moisture.
The pellets are kept in the heavy paper bag that they come in inside the plastic bin and maybe that's why they stay dry.
I have a metal bin inside the coop with their scratch in it. It's okay too.
I'd keep all feed bins inside but don't have enough room.
I keep a small amount of seed, so I don't have a big volume problem. Also I keep it in a shed, which probably changes temperature slowly enough that I've never had a moisture problem. But my point is, I've never considered plastic as a viable container material, because mice, squirrels and chipmunks can get into my shed. I've seen the results of all of them chewing holes in plastic. My volume of seed is small enough that I can keep it in tins. Those big popcorn tins that are about three gallons. I found enough of them at rummage sales. I wish I could find something like the old lard pails. I think they were ten gallons.
I've read that a lot of BYC folks use the BIG plastic containers for feed and seed. They have thicker walls, of course, and probably are more than the average mouse wants to deal with. I would think that rats could get into those easily, but no one here has said so.
There must be some kind of large, galvanized metal container available at farm supply houses. It would be fairly easy to cut a large hole in the cover and screw on some screen.
I've always kept my feed in plastic garbage cans that are out in the elements. Never had a problem with them sweating or leaking, and we get lots of rain and humidity.
what about a galvanized trash can. i went to ace hardware and picked up a 30 gal can w/lid for $20. i had some 3/16" cable and a couple of carabiners and clipped them to each handle on the side of the can through the handle on the lid to keep out any critters looking for a free meal. tractor supply has smaller cans if space is a concern. i have had no problem with sweating or moisture at all. the can is outside in the open all the time.
I always thought condensation was a bigger problem with metal, than with plastic.

There are good and bad things about metal and plastic. Sometimes it depends on the particular type and weight of the plastic, too. There are a lot of reasons to go with metal, but if condensation is a big issue, I don't think metal is the answer.
Maybe so, but it's news to me. This is a humid climate. My coop is quite open air. My feed is in galvanized garbage cans in the coop. Maybe it works because of the good air flow, but I've never had a condensation or moisture problem. Never occurred to me that it might be. I chose galvanized because I've had critters chew through plastic while on camping trips.
Last edited by a moderator:

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom