A simple, inexpensive way to feed the chicks and minimize waste!
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Step 1: Parts Needed!
For this project, we found everything at Lowe's. We opted for PVC drain pipe rather than the schedule 40 (standard) PVC pipe & other pieces due to length of the curve at the bottom when completed & cost of pieces. Here's the supply list:
10' piece of 3inch PVC drain pipe
4 - 3inch 90 degree street elbows
4 - 3inch 45 degree elbows
4 - 3inch threaded caps
4 - 3inch cap adapters
screws with rubber washers (length doesn't matter tremendously)
metal pipe strap
2 - 3inch PVC pipe caps (standard, not drain caps) This is for the update given later.
Step 2: Putting Them Together!
First, cut the connecting end of the drain pipe off. This is the 6 inch wider end of the pipe. You can use a saw, but I used our power miter saw and it did a great job, leaving a smooth finish to the cut end. Please have someone hold for long end of the pipe when you cut so that it doesn't pop back on you.
Cut the remaining pipe into 4 equal sections. I cut mine at 27 1/2 inch lengths.
Connect the 90 degree fitting to one end, then a 45 degree fitting to the 90. I didn't use any glue or screws to connect the fittings. They fit together tightly. I wanted it to be able to take apart to clean when necessary.
Place cap adapter on other end. I did have to use a screw in one of my cap adapters due to it having a loose fit and spinning on the pipe. Screw cap into adapter.
Assemble all the pipes and you are ready to install!
Step 3: Installation!
Here's where you have to make it fit your coop. I chose to put it in the middle of the coop wall so that it has the most protection from rain. I installed a piece of 1X4 (shown in picture) to give me an area level with my bottom board. I painted the board and allowed it to dry.
Using the metal strap, mount the pipe at the intervals that you decide. I suggest doing the top strap first. I chose to use a single piece of the strap instead of cutting 4 sections. I didn't measure the strap but can tell you that I place a screw every 18th hole to secure the pipe. Secure the bottom with metal strap as you did the top. The pipe will be a little loose, but that is necessary for now. You will tighten towards the end.
(My chicks were quite curious during this project!)
Step 4: Adjusting Height for Your Flock
The height of the feeders will depend on the coop and the chickens. I have 2 bantams in my flock, so I positioned mine to make sure it was easy for them to reach. Once the night is determine, drill 2 holes in the pipe using the holes in the straps as the guide.
If your feeders are placed on an outer wall and will not need to be raised, skip this next step.
If your feeders will be in a place that will block areas that need to be cleaned such as ours, follow this additional step. Before putting the screws in place, raise the feeder up as high as possible and drill a hole in the pipe using the bottom metal strap as the guide. A screw placed through the strap and into the pipe using this new hole will keep the feeder up and out of the way when you are cleaning and maintaining your coop. When lowered for the chicks to use, keep the screw in place to keep the feed from coming out. The rubber washer screws work the best.
Once your holes have been drilled, move the feeder pipes into place and secure them to the metal straps using the screws. You're almost ready.
Step 5: Tighten the Straps
Now is the time to tighten those straps if necessary. I used my multi-tool knife to press and bend the straps around the pipe. A little pressure on the metal strap with any flat edge tool should be all you need to tighten the pipe to the wall. Do both sides of the pipe to ensure a good fit.
Step 6: Fill Them Up!
Ok, you are now ready to fill them up with feed! We use crushed feed, but I am pretty sure pellet feed will work in the feeders as well. Remove the screw in lid and pour in the feed. I set the lid on the opening of the feeder to keep the feed from coming out while filling the pipe.
Replace the lid and get ready for the chicks to have a feast!
Note: If you are getting close to time to clean your coop and the feeders are in a place such as ours (in the middle of the run area), fill only as much as your chickens will eat by the time it is cleaning time. You want to have the feed below all the screw holes before removing the screws to raise the feeders up. The amount wasted when the screws are removed is minimal if you have to raise them before the feed is below the screw holes, but I prefer not to make a mess if possible. I don't think this would be an issue with pellet feed.
Step 7: Happy Chicks Lay Yummy Eggs!
Here is the finished feeders! As you see, the girls seem to like it. They didn't waste any time trying it out. Now, we will see if they can keep the coop a little cleaner by not scattering the feed.
Hope you find this helpful!
Step 8: UPDATE!!!!
Added the cap after noticing the girls were scattering the feed more than we had anticipated, negating the entire reason for this project!!! Well, a simple fix did the trick! We purchased 2 of the standard PVC 3inch caps and cut them in half. That covered the end a little too much for our bantams, so we removed them and cut a little more off. It ended up being about a 1/3 of the cap for the right coverage. If you use a power miter saw, make sure to have a board to hold in place. We had a bit of an issue, but my hubby used boards to hold it in place while cutting. The first cut was a little scary, but the cap was salvageable.
We used a short screw in the bottom to secure the cap in place. The screw should be just long enough to secure the cap to the bottom.
I did put a board under the feeders for my bantams. They were having to stretch their little necks a little too much to reach the feed. I will replace the board with a couple of nice stepping stones in a couple of days.
smartrem made it!