Introduction: Super Simple Chicken Feeder

Picture of Super Simple Chicken Feeder

I’ve had a few tries on building the perfect chicken feeder and this one has to be the best yet. As anyone knows who has chickens, they are very messy when they eat. Plus if you use a traditional feeder, then other birds and even rats can get at the food very easily. The bucket feeder stops most animals (probably not rats though) from getting at the feed and also ensures that it doesn’t go everywhere when your chicken feeds.

There are a few different ways to make one of these (just put in to Google – bucket chicken feeder), but I thought I would make a ‘ible to show how I went about making one.

Step 1: Parts and Tools

Picture of Parts and Tools


1. Bucket – I chose a medium sized bucket. It must have a lid as well.

2. 2 x 70mm PVC elbows. You could use larger ones if you wanted to. I found though that 70mm was a good size for the chickens to get their heads through.

3. Hot glue or silicone. I didn’t need any but if your PVC pipe doesn’t form a tight fit, then you may need some


I also added a window so I could see how much grain was left. Maybe wasn’t the best idea as the girls were pecking at it for about a week thinking that they could get at it (not the brightest creatures). It does however make it easy to see how much grain is left in the feeder

1. Clear piece of plastic

2. Rivets


1. Stanley knife

2. 70mm hole saw

3. Drill

4. Rivet gun

5. Hot glue gun (if necessary)

Step 2: ​Design

Picture of ​Design

The size of the bucket will depend on how many chickens you have. The bucket I used holds enough feed for the girls for about 10 days. Once you have the bucket you want, you’ll then need to work out where to make the holes for the PVC elbows.


1. Mark out where to make the hole in the bucket. You want the PCV elbow to be close to the bottom of the bucket but not touching. If you leave about 15-20mm then it will be far enough off the bottom so the grain can move up the PVC pipe.

2. Place the PVC pipe on the actual bucket and with a marker go around the edge to mark out the size of the pipe. If you imagine that the bucket is split into thirds, then each PVC elbow should be in one of the thirds – see drawing attached

Step 3: Making the Holes

Picture of Making the Holes

1. Find the middle of the circle you drew and drill out the sections using a 70mm hole saw.

2. You may find that you need to make the hole a little larger to allow the elbow to fit through. If this is the case, use a file or sanding wheel and dermal to remove some of the excess plastic. You want the holes though to be a tight fit for the elbows. This way you won’t have to add any hot glue or silicone to patch-up any gaps.

3. Once the holes are big enough, push the PVC elbow through it and turn so that they are facing down

Step 4: Viewing Window

Picture of Viewing Window

The viewing window isn’t necessary as mentioned in the intro. It does however mean though that you won’t have to keep on opening the lid to see how much grain is left.


1. Mark out the area to remove with a marker

2. Carefully cut away the area with a Stanley knife (exacto knife)

3. Clean-up the edges if necessary

4. Next, cut a clear piece of plastic so it completely covers the area removed. You will want to have the plastic a good 15mm larger on either side so you can attach it to the bucket. I did try superglue first but this was a monumental failure. Hot glue might work ok as well but I decided to use rivets

5. Drill holes around the edge of the viewing window and also into the clear plastic section

6. Attach with rivets

Step 5: Fill It Up

Picture of Fill It Up

That’s pretty much it!

Now it’s time to fill it up with grain and get the girls to use it. I placed mine on a couple of bricks so that they could easily each the holes. To get them to look into the PVC elbows, I pulled some grain out and placed it on the lib of the elbow. The girls are curious by nature so it didn’t take then long to work out that if they stuck their head in the hole, they’d find food.

This is a really simple way to feed your chickens and best of all there is hardly any mess as the food stays inside the bucket and doesn’t get flicked everywhere


lcoleman10 (author)2017-02-11

Thanks a million for sharing such a cheap & easy version!!! I am gonna make some for our girls using old chupa chup tins!!! I am super excited because after speding $160 on a "top of the range" treadle feeder (which works fine) I was extremely diheartened to find a constant pile of feed under and around it.... it isn't supposed to be possible. I have been hanging onto the chupa tins just knowing they had a purpose but not knowing what it would be... this is definitely it ????

Anytime! I find that there is a small amount of seed spilt but isn't very much. I guess there really isn't a fool-proof, non-spill chicken feeder but if you can minimalize it (and this feeder def does), then happy days.

Good luck with yours

eilu made it! (author)2017-02-09

Since my chickens are Bantams, I scaled it down. This uses a translucent 3.5 liter mayonnaise tub and two 1.5 inch pvc elbows.

I think the translucent plastic is a good compromise between being able to see the amount of feed and not confusing the chickens ?

Usage results: they're using it, but currently spend half the time squabbling over the holes. I guess they'll eventually figure out both holes lead to the same tub.

malus314159 (author)2016-12-03

I was hoping for a humane guillotine. Any ideas?

butchers cleaver and a steady hand

Stavros! (author)2016-08-06

I wonder if something similar could be worked for feeding feral cats...

EileenD8 (author)2016-04-20

lss - Fabulous! Thanks. Very interesting to hear that Rats do not like chili, and hens do. Now my grey matter is wondering how slugs will react to chili - I will check it out for a couple of days - they steal the cats' food, and get into the feed bins.

wwhere we

Dawsie (author)2016-04-10

I like the idea that you have done for the chooks :-)

While reading your Instructable and how you mentioned the problem of the side window I thought why not make the viewing window in the lid this way the poor dears are not peaking at the window trying to get to the food and you still are able to see how much there is in the bucket by adding some lines on the inside of the bucket making how many cups for that line :-) just a thought :-)

lonesoulsurfer (author)Dawsie2016-04-11

Definitely a great idea! Actually they no longer peck at the window - finally worked it out that you can't get at the food that way

Dawsie (author)lonesoulsurfer2016-04-11

Lol that's good :-)
I am looking at buying some chooks later in the year once I have the new veggie area built as I am going to have the hen house setup so that each month they are moved into the empty veggie box as they are great for eating all the peskie weed seed and Grubbs and the such like out of the veggie bed but they will also fertilise the box for me :-)
Took Dad and I to work out the best option, their house will be in the middle on a very large lazy suesie :-) and there will be a special cage built to fit over the veggie boxs that can be moved when needed :-) with the ramp to run between the house and the box all closed in as I do have 4 cats so safety is number one key :-) best of both worlds :-) the bird feeders will be large PVC tubes that will be hooked onto the frame work same with their water supply so the water will always be fresh for them.

EileenD8 (author)Dawsie2016-04-20

Dawsie - please share photographs when you and Dad get this completed. ED

davemcp (author)Dawsie2016-04-10

Rather than put the window in the side, put it in the lid. You could look down into the bucket to see how much food is inside and the chickens wouldn't see it.

mpwall (author)2016-04-19

Instead of a window you could use a clear pipe mounted through the top of the bucket and fill that so that when the feed level drops through the lid of the bucket you will see it. I would think that a 4 inch clear pipe a foot or so long above the bucket would double the feed amount and give a clear view of the feed level.

John T MacF Mood (author)2016-04-08

BTW, I have found that "Gorilla Glue" as advertised might have helped attach permanently your viewing window. Rough up the plastic surfaces, and moisten them, and the glue cures and seals very well. I don't work for them, but the stuff works like magic. And unlike SuperGlue (cyanoacrylates) it won't let loose after exposure to water, it actually hardens it and cures it more.

ooohlaa (author)John T MacF Mood2016-04-12

I know I sound like Debbie Downer from SNL but again, choose the least toxic adhesive. :(

John T MacF Mood (author)ooohlaa2016-04-12

Once it's cured, it's near impossible to remove or even peck away at the hardened adhesive. it won't even cut with my sharpest knife.

But, your caution is noted, and a good thing.

And there's the option of using NO WINDOW at al, but you have to check levels of feed every day for that.

Cool - sound like a great alternative to the rivets. Thanks for the idea

It will remain sticky for a long time. I glued some trim to my midnight blue car, that the factory glue had let loose, and the spring pollen now has attached itself permanently to the exposed glue. So, a "Tardis" colored car with yellow all around the trim. I'll touch it up with flat black paint!

Damn it does work good! def going to get myself some.

Good to get some "C" clamps to hold it while the window cures, you might get you finger stuck to it!

ooohlaa (author)2016-04-12

I would suggest being mindful of using a food grade bucket so that BPA's and other chemicals that transfer fumes into the feed, then into the chicken, then into the eggs can be avoided. This kind of toxic build up in our bodies is cumulative and its good to be aware to avoid toxic stuff whenever we can do something about it because we live in polluted times. I love this idea, and the chicken must feel great to have their stash free from the competition of other beaks. I don't have chicks but love them.

Claudia (author)2016-04-11


flyingpuppy (author)2016-04-08

Love this chicken-feeder design. Do you know if it keeps sparrows from eating all the chicken feed (our current feeder doesn't)?

Sparrows are pretty resourceful. Saying that, I think the food will be far enough down for them not to reach it.

I guess the only way to really know is to try it, eh?

One would hope sparrows aren't all that bright either. They do steal what they van!

Posession is 9/10ths of the law.

The sparrows know this.

One would hope sparrows aren't all that bright either. They do steal what they can!

Shadowghatt (author)2016-04-10

neat idea. How many chickens do you have? We have ten so I was wondering how many holes to make.

I only have a couple currently. If you used a larger bucket, say 20lt, then you could easily add 6 elbows

Thanks! That was what we were thinking. 6 elbows would fit relatively well using a 20L bucket without compromising the bucket.

VendicarD (author)Shadowghatt2016-04-10

make 10 holes.

John T MacF Mood (author)2016-04-08

This is a "keeper", since I'm planning on keeping laying hens, it will be very helpful! Thanks! I'll be building one myself soon!

Anytime - if you do make one, post a picture in the comments section

Will do!

I may add a few visual elements to put my "touch" on it. I had a pal who had hens, and they ARE quite "not bright", he put plastic mirrors around his henhouse to keep them busy pecking at their images. I won't do that, but I may add a graphic or two, as I like playing with my Cricut machine and colored vinyl.

They're like pigs, in a way- if they get bored they will fight each other. Pig farmers will hang a tire and some toys from the ceiling to keep them from fighting and injuring each other.

In my area, I'll be keeping them in a covered & elevated pen, as we have lots of large hawks and plenty of predatory snakes. I'll let them out daily while I watch them. Heck, I can't even let my two mini Dachshunds out alone, they'll get carried off by a hawk or an eagle. It's kind of rural out here in SC.

OctavioB (author)2016-04-09

Great concept.... sent to sister in NY state... shes got those chicken things up the in the snow... Super idea~!

lonesoulsurfer (author)OctavioB2016-04-11


carl5blum (author)2016-04-10


One pop rivet through the bucket to the bottom of the elbow would keep it in place without glue.


lonesoulsurfer (author)carl5blum2016-04-11

nice idea. The holes I made were just the right size for the elbow so I didn't need any glue to secure them in place.

liquidhandwash (author)2016-04-07

That is realy cool, plus looks funny when a chicken sticks her head in there.

Should have drawn a face on the bucket with the elbows as eyes! :)

Or a hatchet poised over the top of the hole !

what about a guillotine?

HA, I thought the same thing! It reminded me of those things they put chickens in to cut the heads off (eek). Otherwise, it's a great idea ;-)

CarlosJ23 (author)2016-04-10

Muy bueno..............excelente idea

lonesoulsurfer (author)CarlosJ232016-04-11

muchas gracias

SilkpurseTracy (author)2016-04-10

Great Idea, as for Rats if you put ground hot pepper in the chicken food it will

keep rats out of food. Chickens like the hot pepper. An Indian food store sell chili powder at great price.

Cool -thanks for the tip. Plus you get curried eggs without even trying

Karsemeyer (author)2016-04-10

Another good thing about this feeder is that the feed stays clean. Great idea.

That's true - as well as dry

About This Instructable




Bio: I've always liked pulling things apart - it's the putting back together again that I have some issues with.
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