Treadle Feeder scares my flock

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by swingboy3, Sep 21, 2014.

  1. swingboy3

    swingboy3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2013
    Sparrows finally discovered our feed and so I made a treadle feeder. It works well and the link is to a video you can watch. I placed it in the coop and the chickens scatter whenever it opens up. I don't know how best to ease them into the feeder being their main source of food. Any suggestions?

    I have propped it open for a couple of days and coaxed them onto it using feed. I don't want to make it their only feed location until they are comfortable using it.

    Another thought I had was that my chickens are all rather old. Maybe old chickens don't learn new tricks.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2014
  2. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    Good job on the feeder! I would keep the feeder propped open so that the lid doesn't move at all for at least a week. During that time I'd probably remove any other food sources, I think they'll figure it out faster if they're more motivated. After a week make it so the lid moves only about an inch or less when the chicken stands on it. When they get used to that small movement then make it so the lid opens about half way when they step on the treadle. After a week of that they should be opening it without any problem. To prop it open you can use two concrete blocks placed on either side of the feeder and run a small board between them and under the lid. By adjusting the position of the board on the blocks you can determine how far the lid will move. I know you want to keep the sparrows out right away, but unfortunately you'll have to suffer through some more feed loss until they get the hang of it. In the long run you'll save a lot on feed though.

    I trained my first chickens to use a treadle feeder when they were over a year old using the above method so I think your older birds should learn too. Good luck!
     
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  3. swingboy3

    swingboy3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2013
    Thanks Gallo. Great suggestion. I started implementing it today.
     
  4. smcgill

    smcgill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How did you make out?
    Took a while for my brood to get used to the sound.
    Sean
     
  5. swingboy3

    swingboy3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2013
    I have had it propped open for a week now and will start having it close an inch today. I will just put a screw into the stud next to the lid so it can only close about an inch.
    I used some weather stripping on the lid to dampen the sound. I was hoping that was enough so they wouldn't get scared, but this other method seems to be working. They are eating out of the feeder when propped open no problem.
    I still find sparrows in the coop even if I close down the doors. They can make it through the one piece of chicken wire I have up.

    I'm going to have to make another feeder as well. Soon we will have to mix our ducks and chickens. My only major dissapointment with this feeder is that the feeding portion seems to be too low. It would also be nice to make one that sheds water and doesn't need to be in the coop.
     
  6. smcgill

    smcgill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You could build a table/ roof tall enough so the feeder will sit under it.
    My feeder is out in the run, but half of the run has a tarp over it.
     
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  7. swingboy3

    swingboy3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2013
    Thanks. I've thought of that. The only reason I want one outside is because my ducks will likely want to be outside more than the chickens once the snow flies. I would have to protect it fairly well though because the blowing snow seems to saturate everything. The ducks will saturate everything too, but there's nothing you can do about that.
     
  8. Brookliner

    Brookliner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would replace the chicken wire with 1/2" hardware cloth. Chicken wire is for keeping chickens out of something not keeping predators from getting in. The sparrows are predators as far as your feed is considered. A picture of the feeder in your run would help.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2014
  9. swingboy3

    swingboy3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2013
    I have thought of using a different material. I am using a window now that it is getting cold and the sparrows are fewer. But I like to let the chickens out daily and it is a dinner bell for the sparrows.
    As an update, the feeder is doing well. The chickens seem to be used to it and eat regularly from it. Stepping on the treadle does not bother them.
     

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