PVC Chicken Feeder

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About: Warthog-faced buffoon.

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

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

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.

-Hacksaw
-PVC cement

Step 3: 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!

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:

https://www.instructables.com/id/PVC-Chicken-Feeder-with-Meter/
Cheers!

5 People Made This Project!

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111 Discussions

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guerroloco

3 years ago on Introduction

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.

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mikecragheadguerroloco

Reply 2 months ago

We definitely have had better luck with pellets, both for spillage and clumping.

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indymedicguerroloco

Reply 3 years ago

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.

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VickyK51

Question 8 months ago on Introduction

I love this discussion but now I can't remember if someone said to make sure to wash the inside first before putting food in. I did find the comment about the chain and we are going to try that for the crumb. Fingers crossed. Thanks for your help!

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mikecragheadVickyK51

Reply 2 months ago

Washing first is probably a good idea; these are clear for potable water so I wouldn't worry about offgassing over time, but it couldn't hurt to wash them before their first use in case there's some residue left over from the manufacturing process. And a god soaking now and then becomes necessary over time, depending on how much moisture is in the air or how dirty it gets where you've placed it.

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mikecragheadVickyK51

Answer 8 months ago

We just pour one into another as we refill, if you were to keep adding food without pouring it out routinely, things would get gross.

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KristyTX

Question 2 months ago on Step 1

I made this without the 3 inch peice at the bottom. My chickens have mocked me and emptied the tube within a few hours. There is a mess in the coop and a lot of wasted feed. Any ideas how to keep them from shoveling it out of the hole?

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mikecragheadKristyTX

Reply 2 months ago

We've had better luck with pellets than with crumble, and some individual chickens (like those jerks you have) are definitely better at making messes than others. At the moment we only have one who seems to have figured out how to spill, the other girls in our current batch are much better behaved.

I feel like a small arc of PVC at the bottom edge/lip of the Y might foil the mess-makers, but I haven't tried it.

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dg.cutter707

Question 2 months ago on Introduction

Nice work!
I had a question though...
How does this design do when it rains??
Does your feed get wet? Or does your "y" connector fill up with water??

I would appreciate a reply. Many thanks!!

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mikecragheaddg.cutter707

Reply 2 months ago

For sure. As designed they're not going to keep the weather out, so you'd want to keep these under something rainproof, or move them under cover when it rains.

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VickyK51

Question 8 months ago on Introduction

Hi, We are really excited about using our new feeders. Made 3 of them. Only put one out but the chickens don't seem interested. Also we feed crumb I think its called and it seems not to feed to the bottom that well. Any advise or information about this?

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mikecragheadVickyK51

Answer 8 months ago

It did take them a while to figure out there was food in there, then they were fine. We’ve never had issues with the physics of the food itself, but our chickens definitely prefer pellets to crumbs.

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kirkod

Question 1 year ago

for four chickens, how many of these would you think?.....

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VickyK51kirkod

Answer 8 months ago

If they are like our they all like to eat at the same time....so four or I like the idea someone one had with the triple head on the feeder part. We already bought and put together the single one.

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ShawnD87

9 months ago on Step 4

Excellent job! Thank you for posting! How do you solve the problem of stagnant food at the bottom rotting?

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mikecragheadShawnD87

Reply 9 months ago

We always pour it into another one when it gets low, so the stuff at the bottom never sits for too long.

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SDM123

Question 1 year ago

Hey there, thanks for the great design. I just got my first chickens
(bantams) a few weeks ago. I was about to pick up the supplies for this
but I was surprised at how large the Y connector pipe was. Does anyone
know if bantams will be able to access the feed with this design?

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mikecragheadSDM123

Answer 1 year ago

Ive often been surprised at how resourceful the birds are, stretching to reach higher than you think they will. I’d say give it a try. And if it’s too tall for your bantams, either whittle the Y so it’s shorter, or cut a hole out of a 2”x8” and sink the feeder into it. That has the added bonus of making it free standing. You could even create “stairs” by stacking two thick boards of differing sizes.

Hope that helps. Good luck!

Mike

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SDM123mikecraghead

Answer 1 year ago

Thank you for the response! I think I will give it a go and try those modifications if needed!

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katerlyn

1 year ago

THANKS nice looking chicken.
I have spent literally Hours upon hours searching for the term Y Connector,

I was looking for elbows, connectors, etc. to add a sewage pump to make two pumps in pit...thanks so much, finally found it on amazon thanks to your post here.