Treadle feeder = wet moldy food?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ibarbidahl, Oct 30, 2014.

  1. ibarbidahl

    ibarbidahl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I bought a treadle feeder from "The Carpenter Shop" and have had problems with it from the start. I have emailed them and received no response.

    Any suggestions on ways to prevent the food from getting wet or how to make it easier for the hens to get the food? I didn't realize the problem was so bad until they molted prematurely and when I picked one up she was light as a feather. I knew the food was getting wet- so I was putting less feed into it and I saw and heard them opening the door, but when the hen would try to get food she would fall off the step.

    So - I need someway to make the treadle wider as well... here is the model I have:
    [​IMG]

    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If the feed is getting wet, that sounds like a design flaw to me. What a PITA. All you can do with that (assuming you can't return the stupid thing) is provide some kind of coverage to keep it out of the rain.

    As for the treadle, you need to keep it light, so a platform out of balsa or a very lightweight plastic?
     
  3. matt44644

    matt44644 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How is it getting wet?Is it sitting outside?
     
  4. ibarbidahl

    ibarbidahl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    plastic. I didn't think about it, but I"m in need of some corrugated plastic and it sounds like I could use a scrap. Thanks for the idea!

    As for the wet stuff... *sigh* it's impossible to cover it without building a box of it's own. That may be what I have to do... then again I could crazy glue some more plastic to the top so it has an all around roof. LOL...

    Sheesh. Would have thought I'd figure it out on my own. I think I was just so frustrated I couldn't see it.

    Thanks!
     
  5. ibarbidahl

    ibarbidahl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    matt- It is outside, covered by lattice (the lean to pictured) with tin roof. There is a 1-2" gap at the back where rain can get in and it's enough to make mold. :-(
    [​IMG]

    Wow the plants are every bit of 6' tall now and it makes the run so cozy. :)
     
  6. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Maybe make a slipcover for the top out of something waterproof (like the plastic picnic table cloth they sell at most fabric stores)? Or just pull a BIG ziplock bag over it and secure it with tape?
     
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  7. Al Gerhart

    Al Gerhart Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 29, 2011
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    ibarbidahl,

    Actually you did get a reply email back five minutes after your email arrived. I also counted six email threads containing your email address starting in April and the last in September.

    Your latest email came in on Saturday, September 6, 2014, 12:42 PM and my reply went out to you on September 6, 2014 12:47 PM The first part of the email address is Barbe.

    You never replied. Your spam filter probably ate our September email.

    And our email records show emails from you back in April along with our replies and your replies to our replies.



    Why say we didn't respond?




    The original purchase was sometimes in April because you emailed asking about putting a wider step on the feeder. Your husband sent in the order and the payment after computing the shipping charges himself, overpaid somehow (we didn't send a shipping quote, somehow he doubled the shipping charges when he sent the payment) and we refunded the overpayment after you caught the overpayment. Our shipping clerk lady thought it was an Ebay sale which are sold at a higher price to cover their ridiculous seller fees. We also walked you through the training process as you mentioned the birds wouldn't use the feeder "due to the sound of the door".

    Maybe five or six people have emailed in the last two years stating that their birds won't use the feeder. In every case we learned that they either propped the door open to "train" their birds or they kept other sources of feed in the coop, scraps, compost heap, even other feed trays.

    Never, ever, prop open a treadle feeder to "train" a bird. What you are doing is training them that the door isn't supposed to move when they eat. Chickens are prey animals, see how their eyes are set on the side of their head, not facing forward like a predator? Chickens can be curious about new things but are usually skittish around a new contraption in their world. Teach them to use the feeder as they will use it, door swinging and making noise. Hungry chickens are brilliant problem solvers.

    However the hardest to train is usually the flock owner. But once they A.) remove all other feed sources and B.) allow the birds to be hungry for a few hours prior to showing them the feed then the bird will learn to use the feeder in one day. We do recommend that you check before they go to roost on the first day to make sure they remembered the morning's lesson and don't go to roost hungry. Then again in the morning show them how the treadle opens the door just in case.

    You did ask about a wider treadle but that is one thing that should not be done. Wider treadles allow rats to swarm a feeder and allow squirrels to easily use the feeder. Making the birds learn to reach for their food is very easy, around two thousand of these feeders have been sold since we started making them so tens of thousands of birds have learned to use the feeder and are using the feeders. But we get asked that question once a month usually, can you make the step wider? Today a lady emailed a picture of a feeder with a big wide aluminum step and asked if we would consider adding that feature. We went to the website she linked to and found the feeder sells for 50% more than our feeder and they warn that you have to "latch" the feeder at night to keep the rats out. Heck, the rats I had when I started designing this thing ate day and night. Bottom line = wide treadle steps are not rat proof.



    As for putting a our feeder outside, don't do that. The feed will get wet. : )



    We warn folks on our website that the feeder is an inside feeder. If you want waterproof spend the big bucks and buy a Grandpa feeder, three times the money allows for a water tight feeder. On our website we do show a coroplast shed on that a customer made for their feeder, out of a political sign no less. As long as the shed is a fairly close fit, has some front projection, and doesn't allow rain to blow inside then the feeder could be placed outside. Other folks have placed their feeders in the middle of a large roof, maybe five or six feet from feeder to the roof edge and they claim the feed stays dry.

    The shed roof shown in your photo is way, way, too small to protect the feeder. Rain doesn't just fall straight down, the wind blows it. And if you have it properly installed with the wood spacer block screwed to the wall and the feeder screwed to the wood spacer block there will no gap in the back. Usualy that gap is between the lid and the back panel/side panel junction and is needed to allow the lid to clear the recessed back panel which is needed for the spacer block. However unless you have your shed roof sealed to the wall the water will simply run down the wall and into the feeder. The back of the feeder is set forward about 5/8" but the water will find its way inside if enough water is flowing down the side of the building.

    Our feeder is probably the lowest priced feeder out there except for a few wooden models so we aren't the best choice for everyone, especially if they are picky about fit and finish. To me, it is a dang chicken feeder that is going to be setting on chicken poop. It doesn't need to be fancy or pretty. Just good enough and keep the price down so more people can afford the feeder.
     
  8. skunknchatter

    skunknchatter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have one of these feeders. I have been using it outside for 3 years now with little problem. I'll admit I was a little disappointed when it first arrived because it was really wonky. The bends in the metal were less than straight and I had to make a few adjustments. However, for the price, you can't complain to much. As stated above, it IS going to get pooped on. Function over form in this case. So, like I said, I did a little fine tuning and put it in the run. Took the chickens a couple of days to figure it out then we were golden. Best part was no more starlings eating my feed. That saved me more money than the feeder cost in the first year I'm sure!

    Back to having it outside...Mine is in the run exposed to all elements. Rain, snow, wind, you name it. On occasion, if it gets left in mud, some of the feed will get damp, clump up, and mold. That was totally my fault but really easy to dump the bad food out. I now make sure it is set on a board so it doesn't get moisture from underneath. I haven't had problems since. Also, I don't fill it all of the way up. I still like to monitor how much my chickens are eating so I only feed them about as much as they will eat in one day. That also really helps keep the food from getting wet or moldy. Fresh food every morning.

    If you are still having a lot of trouble with it you can take a rubbermaid tote and set it up on end. Stake it down with some yard stakes and set the feeder inside. That will help keep rain from blowing in the gap in the back. Good luck! I think once you get the water situation under control you'll be pretty happy with the feeder.
     
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  9. ibarbidahl

    ibarbidahl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Al-

    I was only complaining about the moldy food issue- I certainly have no complaints about the previous times I contacted you. I did not mention that I overpaid nor any other issue I have had. Be sure to bring up everything you can to show just how stupid I am.

    I was only complaining about the wet/moldy food.(which in turn created the issue of my bird not being strong enough to feed properly). And about how my chicken will still topple forward every time she tries and would fall off. So while she may be smart enough I guess she just not physically strong enough.) If you'll notice in the picture the entire run has walls on 2 sides so with a 4' roof over an 18" (Or so) wide feeder I wrongly assumed that would be adequate shelter.

    Just for reference I DID mention that it may be my own issue as it is outside and it does rain frequently here and simply asked for advise on how to fix it. I never said it was an issue with the feeder itself. As I said in the first response I made, I was frustrated at the mold issue and was unable to see an easy solution, which has so generously been offered here by the wonderful members.

    Keep in mind when you decide to berate someone that these members are the ones that are purchasing from you. I still think that for the money your product can't be beat... if you can utilize it inside. Unfortunately I cannot and now am building it a small housing structure just for it. My hen is slowly putting weight back on and hopefully the combination of her getting stronger and the feeder having a box around it will solve both of my issues.

    It's nice to know that you are still around the boards here. So many people come, sell a product and take off. Bravo!
     
  10. Al Gerhart

    Al Gerhart Out Of The Brooder

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    Loved that honest review of the feeder! They area bit "wonky" as the treadle bars are never perfectly bent but we figure that they are easily adjusted after they are assembled. And we do our best to warn customers that the treadle bars will need tweaking and also that the lids will sometimes need pushed to the side to so they will close. That actually makes them more vermin proof as the lids need a bit of force to open. It is tough hand punching the lids and getting the accuracy needed and the making a perfectly square sheet metal box isn't easily done with the equipment we have to work with.

    We also really can’t afford to spend a hundred grand on proper stamping equipment so we cut and form the metal one part at a time by hand on shears and sheet metal brakes..

    If you have one of the earlier models that is three years old they were really wonky as we were learning to work sheet metal and had a metal/hybrid feeder till we worked out how to hang a sheet metal door. Had to invent a steel axle with a flat bar welded to it, too small to arc weld so we had to invest in brazing equipment, then attaching the door became an issue so we used a small wooden block behind the door to interface axle and door. The metal was a lot thinner in the original metal feeders and wood/metal hybrids. Now with a heavier shearing machine we are using 29 gauge on the back/bottom sheet, 26 gauge on the side panels and front cover, and 24 gauge on the lid, door, and inner feed tray. Anything thicker has proved tough to punch through during assembly and for the pop rivets. The only wood left in the feeder is that small block behind the door and the treadle step itself.
    But your review nailed exactly what we feel our niche is; making the feeder as inexpensive as possible so more folks can raise backyard birds and eliminate the one major complaint about backyard birds, the rats that show up for the buffet. Just good enough is the idea. Nice break from making high end cabinets. And reading some of the Grandpa feeder reviews shows that some of the buyers said it took weeks to train their birds as opposed to a day or two for our feeder.
    I love the fit and finish of the Grandpa feeders, they are exceptionally well made but too expensive for my tastes.

    We do recommend that the feeders be well secured to a post or wall to avoid too much vibration from the feeder rocking back and forth when the feed starts being used up. That shakes too much feed down into the lower feed tray. But if they do like you recommend, adding fresh feed each day, that solves that problem
     

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