Building PVC chicken feeders
Recently we decided that we didn’t feel the store-bought feeders we have were the best option for our chickens. The humidity has been up lately and it’s been raining quite a bit and the feed in our feeder is either lightly caking or soaked into big chunks. When the food starts to get “cakey” it frequently doesn’t fall out the bottom like it’s supposed to and we worry our hens aren’t always able to eat as much as they’d like. We looked around the internet for better options and decided we would build our own PVC feeder. We headed off to Home Depot and stood around and chatted about what angles we liked, what diameter to use, etc. We settled on 4″ PVC pipe with a 45 degree angled joint at the bottom. We also decided we needed a cap for the end of the section the hens would eat out of and a threaded cap for the top of our feeder pipe (to keep rain, mice, etc from going down the top).
The kind sales guy who helped us pick our pieces also recommended we get a special PVC saw rather than trying to cut our large pipe with a hack saw as we’d done in the past (with 2″ pipe). This turned out to be great advice!! We took all our pieces home and started assembly! We decided that we wanted to top “food holding” pipe to be as long as possible but still comfortable to fill. The longer the pipe, the more food it holds, and the less often we have to worry about feeding the birds. We cut it at 3′ and pressure fit the screw on cap onto the top and the angled 45 degree fitting onto the bottom.
Then we decided to make the trough for the birds to eat out of about 1 ft long. They don’t all need to eat at the same time and we weren’t sure how far gravity would pull the feed. So we started cutting! Even with the good saw it took quite some time. Beware that the smell of heated PVC (from cutting) smells really bad! Then we cut the 1′ length in half to make 2 troughs. This was kind of tricky, but totally do able. It certainly helped to stand around together and talk about it before starting so we didn’t screw things up Once we were done cutting, we found that the half pipes didn’t fit into the fittings as tightly as they use to, so we had to figure out a way to make them fit snuggly again. We cut off the end of the half pipe we weren’t using and fit the back into the fitting again. Then using PVC glue. we stuck all the pieces together and let them dry. Below are photos of the process and pieces.
With all the pieces put together we headed to the chicken yard. We knew we wanted the feeder under one of the window overhangs so it wouldn’t get water in it. Since we weren’t sure how it would work or if it would need any modifications, we hung it with bailing twine and a stump to hold it in place (so it didn’t swing on the twine) – see featured photo at the top of this post. We added feed and took the other feeder away, then laid some feed on the ground and called to our hens. It took them a while to figure it out (sometimes new things are scary) but they all got the hang of eating from the new feeder.