Using PetSafe 5-Meal Electronic Pet Feeder to avoid mice at night?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by bayareapilot, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. bayareapilot

    bayareapilot Out Of The Brooder

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    I have an idea I want to try. I found the PetSafe 5-Meal Electronic Pet Feeder online and should be getting it sometime today.

    I have three hens and figure they eat approximately one cup of layer feed a day (not counting the treats, BOSS, apples, etc I also give them).

    This device has 5 bins (each hold a cup of food) which can be rotated according to a digital timer program that the user sets.

    Had this idea: What if I alternate filling the bins; full, empty, full, empty, full,,,, and so forth...? I could program the first bin with food to be available. When nighttime comes I would have programmed the feeder to move to the next bin which would be empty (nothing for the mice to eat) then come morning, program a feeding then,,, the bin rotates to the bin with food,,, and so forth..... Seems like this might work? Only problem is that I'm guessing that eventually mice could eat through the plastic to get to the other bins. Anyway, I am going to try the experiment (after I am sure that the device will work properly inside the covered run area). I'd likely keep the regular feeder out for the first week just to be sure the device was going to function reliably.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2011
  2. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    Sounds like a plan. Let us konw how it worked.
     
  3. bayareapilot

    bayareapilot Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 8, 2010
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    Update: The feeder is in the coop and the hens are eating,, so far so good. BTW, since the rotating feeder has FIVE bins and not four, my original plan off alternating between full and empty bins had a logical snag in it because of the odd number of feed bins on the device. SO, what I did is create two 'non-feeding' times just two minutes apart to cycle through the 'extra' empty feed bin. Doing the latter preserved my FEED - NOFEED - FEED cycle.

    So tired of the mice so, hoping this works. I am a little concerned about the batteries since it has been getting down into the high 40's at night (although I guess that is pretty warm, compared to other parts of the country). Likely the batteries will do just fine, but I'll keep an eye on the function.

    Will keep you all updated as this project goes along. The main thing I'm wondering about is if mice can chew through the hard plastic,,, time will tell..... At least for now, though, there will be no available feed in the covered run during the time that the hens are roosting.
     
  4. bayareapilot

    bayareapilot Out Of The Brooder

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    The feeder is working beautifully. It occurred to me that a better way to go would be to simply fill four of the five bins and leave the 5th empty. That way feeding is divided among the four bins and it isn't as easy to mess up on the programming to assure a food bin is available when the hens are out and about. Not sure why this obvious approach didn't occur to me sooner, infinitely more logical approach and less prone to programming error, as I said.

    So far so good! Will try to update on status when it has been going a couple of months.
     
  5. Zoomom

    Zoomom Certified Cackleberry Consumer

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    sounds like a great idea to stop the mice from stealing and eating so much food! [​IMG]
     
  6. bayareapilot

    bayareapilot Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:That's my hope! I'm tired of inadvertently, feeding the outside rodent population, not to mention that I really don't want them running around in my covered run.
     
  7. bayareapilot

    bayareapilot Out Of The Brooder

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    UPDATE: My concern about the battery life (exposed to the cold outside and continual operation) seemed to be well-founded; appears to be around one month (before batteries need replacing). What I did was to use an ac/dc adapter (battery eliminator) and wired it into the battery compartment. Works like a charm. [​IMG]

    So far the unit is working well, with the exception of a minor snafu when the batteries were low.

    Right now, I'm playing with the notion of creating a separate, small, outdoor housing to contain a UPS - uninterruptible power supply. Things like the automatic feeder I'd like to have on the device. Especially since the unit loses memory of the programming when it loses power. This way I could assure that it would have some power to operate (as well as a few other items around the coop) for the occasional power failure.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2011
  8. bayareapilot

    bayareapilot Out Of The Brooder

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    UPDATE: [​IMG] The motor is behaving erratically,,, sometimes works flawlessly, other times sounds like it is laboring, other times keeps turning in circles. I've tried removing the power and plugging it back in and it seems to work for awhile..... Oh well, it was a nice try, back on the lookout..... Maybe one of those feeders with the automatic lid??
     
  9. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    I'd just take all that money you're spending on feeders and invest in mouse traps.
     
  10. bayareapilot

    bayareapilot Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:Problem is that the live catch traps (the kind with the trap door), which I'm already using, are all but ignored. The mice would much rather go for the easy pickin's on the ground of the run than fool with some mysterious device. Nice thought though! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2011

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