Hanging Chicken Feeder

Most hens waste more mash than they eat, but you can put an end to their spendthrift ways with a hanging chicken feeder.

  • hanging chicken feeder - finished feeder in use
    The finished hanging chicken feeder. You should hang it at an appropriate height — the middle of your birds' backs is a good rule of thumb.
    Photo by Ray Meloy
  • hanging chicken feeder - cross piece and bolt
    Attach the crosspiece and bolt.
    Ray Meloy
  • hanging chicken feeder - inverted feeding pan and support disk
    Fasten on the pan and support disk.
    Ray Meloy
  • hanging chicken feeder - assembly diagram
    The feeder's assembly diagram.
  • hanging chicken feeder - cutting out the bottom of the plastic pail
    Leave a 1" border when you cut out the bottom of the pail.
    Ray Meloy

  • hanging chicken feeder - finished feeder in use
  • hanging chicken feeder - cross piece and bolt
  • hanging chicken feeder - inverted feeding pan and support disk
  • hanging chicken feeder - assembly diagram
  • hanging chicken feeder - cutting out the bottom of the plastic pail

I like raising poultry about as much as anybody does, but let's face it, chickens have absolutely rotten table manners. If given the opportunity to do so, they'll walk all over their feed, scatter the provender to and fro, and worse yet, leave droppings on perfectly good (and danged expensive) mash.

Sure, there are commercial feeders on the market that are designed to discourage such misdeeds (the common trough models, for example, are often equipped with loose center rails that keep the birds from standing on or over their food), but even those devices have their shortcomings: They can be difficult to fill, hold only a small amount of mix, and have a way of disassembling themselves between feedings.

That's why I designed a hanging chicken feeder that can be raised as your birds grow or lowered for youngsters. It also prevents spillage and spoilage, requires only infrequent refilling, and best of all, can be cobbled together in just a couple of hours from little more than common household and workshop items.

Feeder Construction

The main component of my invention is a hopper made from a five-gallon plastic pail. If you don't already have a bucket that you can spare, you can probably get one at a fast-food restaurant. The quick-eats emporiums often buy margarine and other foodstuffs in such containers, and either give away the empties or sell them for a dollar or two.

You'll also need a shallow circular pan with a lip all the way around its circumference. I used the lid from a metal garbage can (I removed the handle first) but any similar item that has a diameter 1 1/2" to 3" larger than that of the hopper, and is no more than 4 inches deep, will do. (If you're handy with sheet metal, you could even make a suitable tray yourself.)

Turn the plastic pail upside down and snip out its bottom, leaving a 1"-wide border all around. Now, cut a strip of 1/2" plywood about an inch wide and as long as the bucket's interior diameter. Place the piece inside the pail so that its ends rest on the 1" rim. After drilling a small hole at each end of the plywood and through the plastic, secure the strip in place with a couple of nuts and bolts.

5/22/2009 1:46:37 PM

Nice feeder, i purchased a large dog feeder at a flea market for 2 bucks, it was almost new,holds about 20 lbs. probably more. I slide it under the coop, I lifted the coop off the ground a few feet so they (and their food)could stay dry in bad weather, it fits just right and they can't stand on top and poo in their food, that is working great for about 3 years. I also have a small feeder installed in their door in case it snows so bad they can't get to the feeder.

12/15/2007 11:37:59 PM

Hi Ray, My name is Tony I live in a Rural town within NSW, Australia, and was inspired by your hanging chicken feeder. I used a bucket as you said, cut the hole as you said, I used a Tomato stake cut down as my brace, the bottom i used a plastic pot plant base, and in the middle I cut the neck of a plastic drink bottle to the height of the base lid. this helps the feed to slide to the outside. Great mate hope that makes sense? The Girls love it Regards, Tony Dowling

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