Introduction: PVC Chicken Feeder

Picture of PVC Chicken Feeder

We wanted a lot from our chicken feeder: it had to be easy to fill, hard to spill, safe from non-chicken life forms, weather resistant, easy to make, and inexpensive. We tried a number of other designs that worked to varying degrees, but this was the only one that did all we asked it to. Enjoy!

Step 1: Trial and Error

Picture of Trial and Error

There are lots of PVC chicken feeders out there, and several folks have gone with a design very similar to this one. But I haven't seen the extra three-inch piece added to the Y connector: without that small extension the chickens managed to spill quite a lot of food, but that three-inch piece cut spillage to almost zero! 

We tried a 180-degree elbow with the edge cut off: the birds were able to eat just fine but they spilled quite a lot, and closing the pipe for waterproofing and rodent-proofing would have required additional engineering. We considered quite a few other variations, but they all had drawbacks; mostly related to spillage and security.

At first the bottom part connected to the "Y" was only three inches long and the birds didn't like that much, so we set it up on a brick and the chickens seemed to like the altitude better, so the final version uses a six-inch length of pipe to place the food where the chickens can easily reach it.

Another way to go (and in response to some reader comments): if you add some kind of plug right at the bottom of the Y, the birds would be able to reach all the food. It will take you more than 3 minutes to assemble, but it would be more efficient. Of course, it's best to use plastic or something else that can be thoroughly cleaned. Most of the plugs I see out there would work, but you'd be back to the height problem (if you're concerned about chicken ergonomics). Easy to fix: just mount the feeder higher. Or: run a long carriage bolt through the base cap (or plug), letting the end stick out and hit the ground, like the spike that sticks out of the bottom of a stand-up bass or cello.

Step 2: Materials, Tools

Picture of Materials, Tools

We settled on three inch PVC pipe: two or four would work, too. The pipe itself normally comes in 10-foot sections, so you can get one of those and make at least three feeders using these dimensions.

-Three inch diameter pipe: 20 inches long. Or more. Or less.
-Three inch diameter pipe: 6 inches long
-Three inch diameter pipe: 3 inches long
-45-degree "Y" connector, like this, but this would be quite cool, too.
-Two three-inch PVC caps, like this.

-PVC cement

Step 3: Assemble

Picture of Assemble

Assemble according to the image, following the tiny instructions on the label of your PVC cement. Glue only the three pieces that touch the the "Y" splitter and the bottom cap.

That's it.

You're done. 

It only took like three minutes, didn't it?

Let it cure for 24 hours, or until it is no longer stinky.

Actually, you can get by without gluing at all, as long as you're careful when filling and moving: it would be no fun if the bottom cap fell off of a full feeder during transport! But then it would only take like a minute and a half to build, right?

Step 4: Enjoy!

Picture of Enjoy!

Remove the top cap to fill using a funnel, bungee the feeder to something, and invite the birds!

Place the cap over the opening at night to make the feeder weather- and critter-proof.

UPDATE: To add awesomeness, do what Flodado did:


SandiB25 (author)2017-05-05

Have you figured a way to make a rain canopy for this? PS love it, made two already, getting ready to make a couple more!!

Pernickety Jon (author)2017-04-14

Fantastic idea (and ideas)! Having a community that adds ideas and suggestions is gold. I'm going to try this out.

aaustin11 (author)2017-03-22

I made it, and used this part from lowe's to solve the excess space at the bottom -

guerroloco made it! (author)2015-07-05

Here's how I solved the problem of the "well" of unreachable feed. I just found a plastic cup that fit: 22oz, a standard to-go cup size at lots of restaraunts & bars. Jam it in the bottom of the Y-connector and cut off the excess plastic. Or, you could leave the excess on to raise the height of the feeder. (My hens are all bantams, so I needed to keep the feeder low.) It's simply a friction fit, which seems to work ok, bt you could also glue the cup in place.

ohbejoyful (author)guerroloco2016-11-30

and now I'm thinking DUH! Thanks.

mikecraghead (author)guerroloco2015-07-17


We haven't had any trouble with the feed being unreachable because our girls rotate through the feed so quickly, and we pour the last bit into another tube long before it has a chance to sit there too long. And we haven't had any clumping problems with crumbles, maybe for the same reason? We definitely live in a high-humidity town, but not a whole lot of heat. Could be the content of the feed, too - maybe some formulas have a higher clump factor?

guerroloco (author)mikecraghead2015-07-17

I agree w/ your last thought.... I'm currently using chick starter crumbles for my pullets. It seems like these crumbles are softer and more powdery than layer feed. The moisture content seems a bit higher, too. I might switch to pellets when they get bigger

RobynH made it! (author)2015-06-20

I used this pattern to make a feeder with a hopper, four feed tubes, and an extra tube for oyster shell. It came together in a few hours and well worth the time. Took more photos and measurements if anyone has questions. I had an old shop table frame sitting around and used particle board to give it a top. The clear plastic container tells me when I need to throw a couple more bags in.

ohbejoyful (author)RobynH2016-11-30

noyce :)

DenaP5 (author)RobynH2016-01-10

that is awesome!

qrb912 (author)2015-08-18

qrb912 (author)qrb9122015-08-18

How do you fill the feeder with out spilling feed all over the place? I love the design, but I am making a mess.

DenaP5 (author)qrb9122016-01-10

I know this is kind of a late response but I just found this. I cut the bottom out of a gallon jug of grape juice and use it as a scoop. When I transfer to the PVC, I merely place the container lid over the opening and twist it off. Works like a CHARM!

ohbejoyful (author)DenaP52016-11-30

LIFE CHANGER. Thank you!

qrb912 (author)DenaP52016-01-11

Cool. I like that. It is simple and free. Thank you.

SharonS162 (author)2016-07-25

How do you clean it? Mice get in my feeders at night and I have to clean out droppings. Is it high enough off ground to prevent it?

ohbejoyful (author)SharonS1622016-11-30

I haven't found a way around the mouse problem, Sharon.

mikecraghead (author)SharonS1622016-07-25

You'd cap it off at night. Cheers!

greatbigdragon (author)2016-10-14

This is awesome. I'm actually going to adapt this to make a wild bird feeder with multiple feeding stations by joining a series of the y-tees in a helical spiral, and the extension is genius, because one problem I have with our existing bird feeders is the birds peck in there and drop more food than they get. Thanks for putting this out there!

RCP 58 (author)2016-07-31

RCP 58Reply12 minutes ago

Awesome, I to have been looking for the right design. Your work and reworking to find what works for your chickens is what I've needed to do, but thanks to you I won't have to. I will be using ABS as it is cheaper where I live and I think a little stronger. I will be whiching to pellets for crumbles and also a bigger up pipe 6". I do like the chain down the middle of the filler pipe to help with any possible clog ups.

I' so glad I found you inscrutable ugarxfish, keep them coming.

Robert P.

vladivastok (author)2016-07-31

"Like it ok" "Just don;t see what the brick at the bottom is for" ? "Maybe a spacer to remove the bottom cap "? thank's [VLAD]

DannyO15 made it! (author)2016-04-05

This is my version of the feeder. I recycled an plastic oatmeal can to cap both ends. Since my chikens are small, I decided to deleted both 3 in niples. My materials came from my yard.

MikeM241 (author)2016-02-27

Before filling with feed, mix a shovel full of motor, grout or concrete and fill the base so the feed wont go below the Y. It will make the feeder heavy and solid and no feed rot in the bottom. You can buy a 6x3 reducer and have a 6" column of feed, easy to fill and less often. Do not spend the money for PVC pipe, use the cheaper Poly Styrene drain pipe and fittings.

indymedic (author)2016-01-06

I use a similar setup for now. My solution to the dead space under the "y" was to put a "plug" at the bottom of the "y" (not the heavy pvc plug, its more of a lightweight plug for keeping the unfinished plumbing for getting fouled by construction debris) and putting a pvc pipe section in that end of the fitting. You can make this piece any length to adjust the feeder height and no feed goes down the bottom section of pipe below the plug.

guerroloco (author)2015-07-17

After having made & used this feeder for a couple weeks, I'm finding that the gravity feed doesn't work so well with "crumbles" feed. Even though the pipe is capped, humidity & heat causes the feed to clump. I think this design may work better with pellet-style feed.

indymedic (author)guerroloco2016-01-06

Ive never used crumble, pellet only but you might hang a metal chain of some sort down the vertical pipe so you can give it a jiggle when you get clogs. Larger pipe would work best so you can hang a more substantial chain. I use a 4 inch pipe on the outside with a reducer to 2 inch, then two 45 elbows to pass through the wall. Just a thought.

WilliW1 (author)2015-10-28

I built the one with the 90 and the 45 coupling. Works nicely.

mikecraghead (author)2015-09-08

check out for an automatic door upgrade!

mikecraghead (author)2015-09-08

check out for an automatic door upgrade!

guerroloco made it! (author)2015-08-20

I had a problem w/ the birds perching on and pooping into the feeder (nasty!), so I made this simple fix:

cb11 (author)2015-08-12

In my version, i added a 2" pipe reducer that feeds into the Y- but now the starter feed gets sticky from the humidity & plugs everything up. I tried it without the insert, but the waste was ridiculous..

AshleyJ1 (author)2015-07-25

Hi all. Im from the UK and I cannot get end caps in this country at all. Anyone know a site that will deliver to UK from US for the 3" end caps and also the threaded ones in 3" and 2"? Thanks.

So cool...

Thank you :)

NickB20 (author)2015-06-04

The link in the Update at the end seems to not work.

mikecraghead (author)NickB202015-07-17

Apologies, not sure what went haywire there. Fixed, and thanks for the heads up!

Bloodbeard (author)2015-05-26

I really wanted to make one of these, but I've searched all over for the PVC and have had a lot of trouble finding anything over 2". I could use ABS, but that stuff is too pricey -- I'd wind up paying something like $40-50 for one feeder.

Magosaircraftsalon (author)2015-04-19

sohosh.soto (author)2015-01-12

If you use one of these 2 chken can eat at the same time

sohosh.soto (author)2015-01-12

If you use one of these 2 chken can eat at the same time

montyhl (author)2013-06-24

Instead of using PVC glue, avoid toxic fumes and allow for reuse by sealing joints with white electrical tape. Also, more then one chicken in the coop will crowd around and fight over access to the feeder. Why not create several outlets by daisy-chaining "T" connectors. Nice idea. An improvement over the wooden trough feeder I made as it prevents the chickens from walking in the trough and using it as an outhouse.

skylane (author)montyhl2013-06-28

Daisy chaining the Y connectors would make them go vertical.. the upper ones would
go empty as the food level diminishes. that type of feeder wont work horizontally, because its gravity fed. Maybe more then one if you have chickens with bad manners ;)

sohosh.soto (author)skylane2015-01-12

You could make a double feeder by using this instead of a "Y" Connector.

Although that part is over $100, you could probably get away with something like this and a couple 45 degrees and get similar results.

mikecraghead (author)montyhl2013-06-27

Whether it's a feeder or a nest box or a treat tossed to the flock, they are all about "prize envy:" the things they find most appealing are the things another chicken has. So yes, they do all want the same feeder, and every meal is another pecking-order negotiation. But yes, this design would br fine for a few birds, but out flock hovers around 15, and three feeders seems to sufficiently keep the peace.

Esmagamus (author)montyhl2013-06-27

Around here there are troughs with a rotating perch above the food, running lengthwise.

If chickens try and step into the trough, they'll fall.

You can do the same with a piece of pipe hanging on a steel wire.

BarryC2 (author)2014-12-08

I found this style worked better for my girls:

flodato made it! (author)2014-04-09

I used this to make my feeder. So easy and works great! I added a feed level indicator to it. I also made this little stand to hold it steady while I fill it.

mikecraghead (author)flodato2014-04-10

Very nice, love the meter and the stand, well done!

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