Intro: Bird Bread Feeder
I have chickens and have been keeping them for 40 years. Quite some time back I discovered the local bakery outlet store sells bread for use as animal food. That currently is running about $20 for enough bread to fill 3 - 4 31 steel garbage cans. The cans need to be metal to keep the rodents out. I have about a dozen chickens, I feed them a loaf or two everyday in addition to letting them graze and they have a constant supply of commercial chicken layer feed. The bread is a treat to these birds and an inexpensive way to feed them. These bread in these cans will start getting moldy before the chickens eat all of it. I noticed that the resident and some migratory birds liked to eat this as well and one day put together a feeder to hold bread off the ground. Some birds prefer eating from an elevated feeder, some are ground feeders, this thing satisfies all. It also minimizes the food the opossums and raccoons are attracted to. They and chickens don't mix well and food thrown out for the wild birds that didn't get eaten was a treat for these chicken eaters.
Really nothing more than a wire cage that holds a full sized package of hotdog buns, hamburger buns or a load of bread. Very similar to some of the suet feeders I see on Instructables. The dimensions I came up with are: 9" tall X 10" wide X 3" deep. There is a platform on the bottom that some use, others prefer to cling to the wires. I had some scrap 1" X 2" grid welded fencing wire and put this together. It was easy for me to tack weld the wires together, it could have been put together using tie wires, or cut oversize and twisted together. The main thing is it holds the bread, is strong enough for me to stuff it full without coming apart and has a hinged top the drops over the bread to keep the larger birds (such as crows) from stealing large pieces. All are welcome, but we must share.
One of the pictures on this step shows the bread feeder, the other picture shown above this step is pretty much my entire "bird feeder station". It was simpler to combine all this stuff together and squirrel proof one item rather than many. From a "dog patch" perspective, I think its pretty cool.
Here are a couple pictures of the feeder showing how I "hinged" the top to the side. One of them shows one of our ground feeder birds, the neighborhood peacock comes by pretty much every day to see what has been dropped. I've pretty much figured out how to thwart the squirrels from reaching this, but if they do, they can only get so much at a time through the wires and I really don't care.
A little trial and error and I came up with a suspension system that keeps this thing pretty level and reasonably stable. And gives the clearance needed to open the top without fighting the suspension chains. Pretty much anything would work, a piece of wood dowel or threaded rod or whatever. For me it was easier to take a scrap piece of 1/4" rod, welded pairs of "bumps" on either end to act as stops for the chains and use it to keep the chains at a constant distance. I apologize for the quality of these photos, it is very overcast here in Western Washington and everything just sort of goes blah.
Someone with more imagination than me should be able to find a simpler way to do this. My projects almost always evolve, they are rarely planned.
I think pretty much everything shown here is recycled from something. In the case of the bread feeder, even the bread is "recycled" from the grocery store shelves.
I welded on a hook in the center to suspend it. This feeder hangs below my suet feeder that I fill with margarine - but that's another Instructable.
I realized today a couple of the benefits of this over a standard feeder. This allows large numbers of birds to feed at the same time. We get flocks of smaller such as sparrows and a couple times a week a flock of red winged blackbirds shows up - a couple dozen of them. In the spring the adults bring their young in to show them where and how to eat. That is so sweet. There is plenty of room for many to feed at once.