Wildlife feeder to feed the chickens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by texas hiker, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. texas hiker

    texas hiker In the Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2009
    East Texas
    My wife and I have been talking about getting some chickens, and I am trying to get everything planned out before hand.

    My idea for feeding the chickens - besides letting free range - is to setup a wildlife feeder in the pen. It would be a deer feeder with a solar charger on it. I would also like to build a platform next to it so I would have something to stand on to pour the feed into the hopper.

    Has anyone seen this type of setup before? Maybe a member of this forum has posted some pictures of their setup? Has anyone heard of using a deer feeder to feed the chickens?
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2009
  2. Big dreams

    Big dreams Songster

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    What does your deer feeder look like, do you have pics?
     
  3. MIKE555444

    MIKE555444 Songster

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    Jun 8, 2009
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    I was thinking this might be good for treats... however i would think you would want to keep an "all you can eat" feeder out for the chickens all the time.
     
  4. texas hiker

    texas hiker In the Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2009
    East Texas
    Quote:Most deer feeders have 3 legs and a hopper that will hold anywhere from 200 - 1,000 pounds of feed. Some of the bigger ones that hold several hundred pounds - a couple of thousand pounds usually have 4 legs and are solid steel construction.

    I took this picture from the deer stand a couple of years ago. Its the thing on the poles. It has a motor that runs off of a rechargeable 6 volt battery. The motor has a timer that spins twice a day for X number of seconds that you set it to. The time the feeder goes off, the spin rate (how fast), and the duration of the spin can all be adjusted.

    [​IMG]


    Quote:It would not be a "all you can eat feeder". I was thinking of setting the timer to go off once in the morning and once in the evening.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2009
  5. babyspice35

    babyspice35 Songster

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    Mar 10, 2009
    Maui Wowee
    That looks like a good idea![​IMG]
     
  6. Big dreams

    Big dreams Songster

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    Wow, that is cool, I think it could work, I always wonder how many wild birds do you feed when you have outdoor food available, I was thinking of adding one but I am sure the crows would wipe me out. [​IMG]
     
  7. codybird

    codybird Songster

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    I'm a relative newby but here is my take on it.

    Chickens forage all day. I don't think their digestive systems are set up to run off of two meals a day. If they are truly free ranging all day then I'm sure it would be an OK supplement to keep them alive. If there is any food left after they finish eating one meal you will probably be feeding alot of wildlife.

    I don't know your application, ( layers or meaties or pets ) but I wouldn't think it would be very efficient.

    If your reason is to only pour feed once every two weeks then it sounds good.
     
  8. texas hiker

    texas hiker In the Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2009
    East Texas
    I found a couple of close up pictures of the feeder. The picture with the person next to the feeder - that feeder holds around 500 - 600 pounds of corn. When its full, its holding enough corn for 3 - 3 1/2 months - throwing twice a day for around 7 seconds.

    Instead of just throwing 1 type of feed, I was thinking of mixing different things together, such as feed and minerals together.

    Keep in mind the timer is fully programmable. You can set it to go off once a day at a certain time and for it to spin to X number of seconds. Some timers allow up to 8 feedings a day.

    In the bottom picture, those are wild hogs eating the corn. It was taken by a trail camera I had set out.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2009
  9. The previous post is totally right - chickens do not have a digestive system which can cope with set 'meals'. They need to graze/eat pretty much constantly and therefore a twice a day 'binge' isn't going to be at all good for them. Binge-eating causes the birds to go completely nuts for the feed and choke to death, and if the birds are going hungry inbetween 'meals', you can bet that behavioural problems such as feather picking, cannibalism and fighting will ensue.

    To lay well and remain healthy, their diet needs to be very well balanced, so you would want them to be eating about 80% balanced layer feed/ 20% treats and forage foods. Relying on forage foods for the vast part of the day probably won't give them what they need to thrive - therefore balanced layer's rations should be available at all times.

    If you're going to use this set up purely to feed their small amount of twice-daily treats, then fine (honestly, I don' think it wouldn't be worth the trouble though, in that case) but I definitely wouldn't use it to feed them their main feed. That needs to be available to them all day, every day.
     
  10. texas hiker

    texas hiker In the Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2009
    East Texas
    Quote:I do not mean this as an insult, or to offend you in any way, but did you miss the part where the timer can be programmed up to 8 times a day? A full hopper, at 6 feedings a day would equal to about 60 days worth of food before the feeder would have to be refilled.

    The place I am looking to moving to is around 30 acres. The closest neighbor is 1/4 away. The land is a mix of woods and pasture with 2 creeks running through the area.

    The plan was to let the chickens roam as they wanted, then have the feeder throw some feed a few times a day.

    Ok, so its been agreed that twice a day is not good. So how many times a day does the timer need to be set to? 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8? If more then 8 are needed, I could set up 2 feeders and have them throw the feed at rotating times - for a total of 16 feedings a day. The amount of feed thrown at each time can also be controlled. So it can go from a handful to several cups of feed at each time.

    --------- edit ------

    To give you an idea how much room the chickens will have, the pen I am looking at is the same one my grand mother used for her chickens - its a little less then 1/4 acre in size. Next to the chicken pen is a 10 acre field with timber running along the fence line. That field was used for cattle.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2009

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