My first chicken coop automatic feeder did not do so well, part of it was a design failure, the rest was my laziness, but that was a design failure too, since I was trying to make it easier to feed my chickens. The trough did not shed water, so in the snow and rain it made chicken crumble mush, and I ended up dumping the feed in the trough through the wire, and than caused it to get everywhere.
Don’t Over Complicate
I want a feeder that simple to operate, and that does not waste food.
A Mason Jar Feeder is Key
I ended up using a Mason jar chick feeder, which is a galvanized metal tray that screws into the top of a mason jar full of chicken food, when its turned upside down and the chickens eat, more food drops in from the jar.
It works perfectly, however, a mason jar only holds a little bit of food, and with a lot of chickens, it doesn’t suit my needs.
Modify Some PVC Pipe
I modified it by gluing in a PVC reducer where the Mason jar attaches, then gluing in a 2 inch PVC pipe into the reducer. I attached an elbow to the other end of the pipe, and cut a hole in my chicken coop. By gluing in another elbow through the hole, the feeder is permanently attached. Because it is in the coop, I don’t have to worry about rain.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to get feed in 2 inch elbow, so I took another piece of PVC, cut a slip halfway down one side, and using a heat-gun heated and stretched the PVC until I made what looked like a dustpan. I must tell you that you should never heat PVC as it puts off toxic gasses when heated and if you do not have some sort of supplied air and good ventilation you will cause yourself some permanent damage. I am sure you can find a way to make a funnel without using heated PVC, something like a cut up soda bottle would work well.
This Works Pretty Simply
So it works pretty simply, I scoop feed into the “dustpan” and food fills the tube and enters the feeder, as the chickens eat the food, more food falls into the feeder. Food scratched out of the feeder is contained in a pie plate under the feeder.
To make the explanation more clear, watch the video that shows the setup.