Chicken feeder, like other chicken rearing equipment, is arguably the most important of them all. It is the container, regardless of shape, that carries the chicken feed and most times serves the secondary purpose of preventing rodents from access to the feed.
Chicken feeders are made of different materials, some stronger than others, but all serving the same purpose. They can be plastic or metallic, automatic or somewhat crude, and always open at one end. All of the types of chicken feeders that are available in the market range in price and durability. However, the high-priced ones do not necessarily pass as the best chicken feeders.
For you, as a new entrant into rearing backyard chickens, some of the available chicken feeders will not serve you and your chicken well as you will need outdoor chicken feeders. Also, considering the cost of feed for chickens, you will want to get the best chicken feeder to prevent waste. As time goes on and your expertise increases, you might be able to make some of the best Chicken feeder diy.
In this article, you can expect to get a compilation of the best chicken feeders you can choose from for your first purchase. These feeders will suit different systems of chicken rearing and we will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each. Also, you will get answers to some questions that have been bugging you concerning your chickens’ feeders and feeding. Get answers to your common chicken questions. Read our starter guide regarding raising backyard chickens.
Some Questions to Ask Yourself Before Your First Chicken Feeder Purchase
While it is essential that you get your chickens the best chicken feeder that suits them and their environment, it is also important that you get answers to some question, so you don’t spend unnecessarily on feeders with features your chickens may not need. Consider these questions and let the answers you have determine the type of feeder you purchase for your chickens.
Why Do You Need a Feeder?
You and your chickens’ need for a feeder needs to meet at least two of the following answers. You may have other reasons that are not as important as these, and that’s okay. However, if your answers have nothing to do with these, maybe you should hold off on getting a chicken feeder, at least for now.
One of the things that make chicken rearing interesting is the consistent need to see your chickens and their environment as clean as possible. However, their feeding habit and equipment can oppose this objective.
Using a chicken feeder collects the chicken feed in a place where your chickens can go and eat and leave when they’ve had their fill, depending on the type of feeder you choose. While some feeders promote neatness more than others, they all help to keep the chicken run and coop neater.
Control Feed wastage
Remember how your grandparents used to throw grains on the ground for their chickens to eat? How much of those grains remain on the ground after the chickens have left? In some cases, when the chickens are numerous and they come back to the spot where they’ve been fed, they’ll pick the left-over grains until almost none is left, but most times, the grains go to waste.
They can come back to pick those grains because they’re sizable. Imagine what will become of mash chicken feeds and the impact its waste will have on your laying hens.
Track your Chickens’ feed consumption
Accountability is a quality that is needed whether you are raising chickens for commercial or personal purposes. Using chicken feeders gives you more accurate data on how much your chickens eat daily.
This helps you time their feed supply and feeding frequency aptly. It also saves you from wasteful spending on chicken feed that may eventually go to waste.
How Many Chicken Feeders Do You Need?
Your answer to this question determines how much you have to spend. Does that amount correspond or not far away from your budget?
The main decider of your answer is the number of chickens you have. The more chickens you rear, the more chicken feeders you’ll have to purchase.
Should Chicken Feeders Be Off the Ground?
Generally, it is preferable if your chicken feeders can be above the ground as it helps to address the issue of messing the feed up with bedding and chicken droppings. Although your chickens might use the hanging feeders as a roost, it also helps to maximize space.
You can also be sure that there is less feed waste as big chickens can easily tip a feeding trough over when they roost on them.
Types of Chicken Feeders
Here are the different types of chicken feeders and how well they function in different conditions.
These types of feeders have no fancy features and possess one of the simplest structures a chicken feeder can have. They include:
Trough Chicken Feeders
Trough chicken feeders are usually made from plastic or galvanized metal. They are long, closed on three ends, leaving one end open for chickens to feed through. It is suitable for feeding a large flock with little cases of some chickens not feeding due to bullying. It can be tied to the wall or a fence, but not too high that the chickens cannot reach it.
On the downside, the feed in the troughs is susceptible to getting contaminated by chicken droppings, rodent droppings, and bedding materials. Also, chickens can decide to roost on the trough, which may lead to messy feed. If not placed away from the reach of weather elements, the feed can easily become soggy from the rain.
Open Container Bin Chicken Feeders
The open container bin chicken feeder is probably the cheapest chicken feeder you can find. They operate the same way as troughs but they do not have a trough’s length. They are easily accessible to chickens but also have the same accessibility for rodents. What they lack in length, they have in-depth.
However, they can only feed so many chickens at a time. Some chickens can also jump in the feeder and scratch.
Automatic feeders are generally any chicken feed that provides feed when chickens demand them. They usually have features that prompt the hopper or bucket to release feed into an adjoining tray or smaller hopper that is easily accessible to the chickens. They include:
Basic Dispenser Chicken Feeders
These types of chicken feeders are usually placed at a height from the ground, preferably hanging, to discourage roosting on them. They hold a large quantity of feed, usually about 20 kg, at least, providing feed to your chickens all day long. It can be used outdoors, especially during summers as the plastics are usually resistant to the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
They provide good protection against rodent contact with feed and keep the feed clean as chickens cannot scratch the feed, poop or introduce bedding materials to the feed.
However, they are not suitable for use in heavy rains if your chickens are raised outdoors.
Treadle-plate Chicken Feeders
Treadle-plate chicken feeders also supply feed to chickens when they need it. They are more sophisticated because they possess a plate that chickens can step on to open a smaller hopper where feed is for them to feed. Because it is usually covered, it protects the feed from all forms of contamination.
However, only a few chickens can use the feeder at a time, therefore, one will need more of it in a large flock.
PVC Tube Feeders
PVC tube feeders are simple chicken feeders that can be done by anyone. It is usually placed on a wall or fence and can feed a chicken at a time. Its simplicity and practicality make it a good option for feeding the few chickens that may be bullied off feeding by other chickens.
They are usually UV-resistant and last for a considerable time.
Our Top Chicken Feeder Choice and Why
1. Treadle Feeder – Best chicken feeder that protects feed against rodent contact and keeps feed fresh.
2. OverEZ Chicken Feeder – Best chicken feeder that curbs feed wastage and spilling. It also protects feed from contamination.
Best Feeder for Chicks
With chicks, special attention has to be given to the height of the feeder as it must be in agreement with their little size. Another issue is the introduction of bedding material to their feed. Chicks are mostly easy to handle but some can be aggressive.
The WSERE Multi-hole Dispenser Chick Feeder helps to reduce the contamination of chick feed with bedding material as it is made a little taller than the height an average chick can kick bedding materials. It is also an excellent chick feeder because it allows many chicks to feed at once. One feeder has 16 holes that can be used by one chick each. Since it comes as 3 – in – 1 pack, you can have more than 40 chicks feeding at once.
It is made of durable plastic that does not lose its colour and remains strong for a long time. The plastic is treated to be resistant to the ultraviolet rays of sunlight.
However, it offers no protection against rodent contact with feed and is best used away from rain or you provide an overhead cover for the feeder.
- Durable and long-lasting plastic
- Keeps feed free of chick poops and bedding materials
- Can be used to feed a large flock of chicks
- Not suitable for use outdoors during rainy seasons
- No protection against rodent-feed contact.
Chicks are delicate; therefore, they need equally safe equipment during brooding. E-Kay Baby Chick Feeder is designed to help chicks have access to feed without allowing the contamination of the feed with poop and bedding material.
With the size of chicks, it can easily feed 12 chicks at once as its tray is separated into parts, big enough for each chick.
The plastic used to make the feeder is durable and can withstand the harshness of the sun. however, it does not protect the feed from water in any way.
- Suitable for chicks
- Can comfortably feed 12 chicks at a go
- Durable plastic material
- No protection against rodents
- Feed cannot be protected from rain or water
The Turbo Pro Baby Chick Feeder is made from strong, heavy-duty poly, which makes it a durable chicken feeder. You don’t have to worry about recurring expenses on chicken feeders with this feeder. It can also hold about 10 lbs of chick feed and allow about 10 chicks to feed at once.
Its tray collects food from the hopper and automatically refills as the chicks consume the feed in the tray.
However, it has no cover to protect the feed and can only be placed on the ground.
- Excellent for chicks
- Can feed up to 10 chicks at once
- No protection against rodents
- Does not keep feed fresh
The Best Automatic Chicken Feeder That Will Last
Keeping chicken feed dry during the rainy season when raising chicken in the outdoors can be a challenge. It leads to waste of feed and that doesn’t sit well with one’s pocket. However, the Royal Rooster Feeder, which comes with a drinker to form a set, is one of the solutions to this problem.
Royal Rooster Feeder is made of plastic that can withstand that heat of the sun for a long time. It is a white, 20 inches tall tube chicken feeder that has brackets made to attach it to walls and fences of different types. It is made with a short cover that protects the feed that is led into the small tray at the other open end of the tube, from rain.
At the height it is usually placed, only an adult chicken’s head can reach it, so they can comfortably feed from it. Unless the fence or wall it is attached to supports rodent climbing, they cannot reach the feed. Also, contamination from bedding material or chicken poop cannot reach the feed.
- Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
- Durable plastic material
- Considerably safe from rodents contact with feed
- Protects feed from rain
- Not suitable for large flocks
- Cannot be used by chicks
The Best Chicken Feeder to Prevent Waste and Spillage
If you are on with little time in your hands, OverEZ Chicken Feeder might be your choice chicken feeder as it carries a huge feed volume. It is also the answer to your summer and winter season chicken rearing because it can be used all seasons.
OverEZ Chicken Feeder is an automatic chicken feeder that provides feed to your chicken as they need it. It supplies feed from its tank through gravitational action. When chicken feeds on the available feed, on the enclosed trays below the hopper, it automatically refills the trays.
Its tank can hold about 25 kg of chicken feed and it will comfortably feed 15 chickens for 2 weeks. You do not have to refill during that time, neither do you have to worry about your chickens starving.
It is suitable for use both indoors and outdoors as its plastic is made of strong plastic that can withstand the extremities of weather elements. This discourages the entry of water as its opening at the top is sealed and you only need to provide a little shade over it to prevent rain from getting in the feeding tray.
It also discourages feed spilling and waste as the feeding tray is situated deep inside the structure, prompting chickens to pick feed from inside and making it difficult to spill feed outside the tray.
- Holds a large amount of feed for a long time
- Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use
- Reduces feed wastage to the minimum
- Easy to clean and manage
- Rodent can have access to the feed
- Only feeds three chickens at once
- Not suitable for chicks
The Best Chicken Feeder to Prevent Rats and Attracting Other Rodents
Galvanized steel, grill screen, mounts, fortified against rodents; these and more are what you get from the Treadle Feeder. It is the real definition of an automatic chicken feeder as it not only provides feed for them when they demand for it, it also keeps the feed fresh for them.
The Treadle Feeder is made of galvanized steel, meaning it cannot be chewed through by rodents. This material also ensures that it is durable both under indoor and outdoor conditions.
Its edges and openings are sealed so that rain cannot gain entry into it, thereby protecting your chickens’ feed from water and, you, from waste of feed. The feed is kept fresh in its hopper (which varies in size).
Your chicken can easily learn to use the Treadle Feeder as it helps them learn to use it in 3 steps. You can also lessen and increase the resistance weight under the lid, depending on the size and weight of your chickens. It is important to know that this Treadle Feeder can only be opened by chickens that are 1.5 lbs heavy or more.
- Durable material – galvanized steel
- Totally pest-proof
- Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use
- Keeps feed fresh for chickens and provides food on demand
- Teaches chickens to use it
- Not suitable for chickens that weigh less than 1.5 lbs
Frequently Asked Questions
Should You Feed Chickens Outside in the Chicken Yard/Run or Inside their Coop?
Where you feed your chicken doesn’t really matter. However, if your chicken coop is not very spacious, and you have a fairly large flock, it is better to feed them outdoors and let the coop serve the purpose of the shelter alone.
Make sure that your chickens have protection in the run where their feeders and drinkers are. That protects them from the harsh weather and helps the feeder last longer.
When Feeding Chickens, do you use a hanging feeder or Throw Food Down Every Day?
Both ways have been known to be used in feeding chickens, but the latter is old-fashioned while the former is more effective.
Hanging feeders help chickens access feed any time they want. It also keeps feed clean and fresh, away from the reach of rodents and contaminants. However, throwing food down for chickens can allow for feed wastage.
How to Keep Feeders Clean?
To keep feeders clean, you need to avoid the growth of bacteria in the feeders, especially in feeders that hold large volumes of feed for a long time. You can follow these tips in cleaning your chicken feeders:
- Empty the feeder of any left-over feed.
- Mix a little apple cider vinegar with water and some detergent.
- Detach all parts of the feeder (if detachable)
- Wash the feeder, every corner of it.
- Sun dry the feeder.
Chicken feeders are as important as chicken coops and chicken waterers. Depending on your flock and their housing style, they will need the best chicken feeder to prevent rats, as they may cause contamination to the feed and a host of diseases to your chickens. Sometimes, what they need is the best chicken feeder to prevent waste to help you determine how much feed your flock actually consumes.
Regardless, do not compromise on quality as it is beneficial in the long run.