If you are like me you got too excited that you were getting chickens and didn’t take your time to research the finer details. The day I got my 4 hen’s I took a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude, had nothing prepared, but had an idea in my head of what I needed to do. The idea didn’t include what sort of feeder I should have for the new comers and I spent the next few months feeding not only my chicken’s but all the neighbourhood creatures.
Chickens are foragers, they continually look for food and eat small amounts throughout the day. This means to have happy healthy chickens there should be food available at all times of the day.
There are plenty of feeders on the market that caters for all situations and budgets. Lets take a look at them.
Open Air Feeders
While we are going to look at the best feeders we will start with one that is the easiest but also ends up costing you more in chicken feed.
Having an open air feeder is a 24/7 buffet for not just your chickens but all the neighbouring creatures. You will soon see that your chickens will run out of feed because other critters are helping themselves to it.
If this is what you have now, start looking for a better alternative.’
PVC Pipe Gravity Feeder
If you are handy with power tools this is a nice easy option that you can make at home. You could fashion something to suit your chicken run, or utilize many of the online sites that provide step by step instructions such as The Owner Builder Network.
A positive for this style is that you can store several days worth of feed within it.
Unfortunately this feeder still doesn’t fix the availability to other critters and you will still have to employ other methods of keeping them out of the chicken run and away from the feeder.
Another popular style is a hanging feeder. This is a great option for a small flock of chickens because they are able to gather around the feeder and not fight for space. The feeder can hold a good store of feed ensuring your chickens always have access to nutrition.
These can be found made out of metal and also plastic, both are hard wearing with the metal feeder being more durable in my experience.
You will find that additional anti pest measures will need to be put in place to reduce the opportunity that animals other than your chickens will have to eat from this feeder.
Treadle feeders are by far the best type of feeder you can get for your flock. The initial outlay may be a little more, however the money you will save over time by not feeding pests balances things out.
Let’s look at some of the other benefits to having a treadle feeder.
Capacity – most have a very large capacity meaning you can store enough food for days and not have to worry about continually topping it up.
Access – after an initial training period the chickens learn to step on the treadle to open the lid of the feeder.
Pest proof – The way of accessing the feeder means that it makes it extremely difficult for pests to activate the lid opening.
Construction – these types of feeders are solid and sturdy. They keep the contents inside dry.
When choosing what sort of feeder you want for your flock the most important thing to keep in mind is that your chickens need to have access to food whenever they want it. The options that we have looked at above all provide food, but have different levels of your attention, from daily topping up of an open air feeder to the treadle feeder that can last for several days without needing additional food top ups.
What ever you choose your feathered family members will be happy just to have food.
2 thoughts on “The Best Chicken Feeders For Happy Hens”
How do you train chickens to use a treadle feeder?
Kia ora Nina, thanks for your question. This is how I trained my chickens:
1. I made sure they saw me putting the food into the feeder
2. I used a stick to prop the lid open slightly so the chickens would come over to investigate in doing so they stood on the treadle and opened the lid wider
3. After the birds were consistently walking up to and standing on the treadle I removed the stick
The hens continued to operate the feeder, the younger ducks still startle when the lid opens, but they use the feeder.