Free, Homemade Chicken Feeders That You Can Build

A crafty farmer has come up with a design for building hanging homemade chicken feeders that cost nothing.

| March/April 1978

The trough poultry feeders sold in hardware and feed and seed stores are expensive. They're also wasteful: They collect droppings, and birds can — and do — scratch both homegrown grain and store-bought mash out of the best of 'em.

Winston-Salem, North Carolina's Eric E. Wiggin doesn't think today's homesteaders and raisers of backyard flocks of chickens should put up with that situation. Not when it's so easy to recycle a few free and/or scrounged-up materials into hanging homemade chicken feeders that [1] do not collect droppings and [2] do not waste feed.

"I make my birds' feeders out of metal or heavy plastic 5-gallon paint or food pails," says Mr. Wiggin. "The containers can be picked up free from painting contractors, restaurants, bakeries, and other commercial food operations in almost any part of the country. You'll need one of the buckets for each feeder you want to build plus twelve 1/8-inch-by-1/2-inch stove bolts, a few feet of clothesline, and a 1-inch-by-5-inch dowel whittled from scrap wood."

MOTHER EARTH NEWS' Emerson Smyers recently followed Eric's directions for fabricating one of the hanging homemade chicken feeders. First he thoroughly cleaned — and removed the bail and lid from — a plastic 5-gallon paint bucket that was just taking up space in our research shop.

Then he measured 2 inches up from the bucket's bottom and made a clean cut all the way around the container's base. The bottom — complete with 2-inch "rim" — was then set aside to serve as the base of the finished feeder.

Next, the "tube," which was left, was slit all the way up the side. The edges of the tube were then overlapped, the overlap was trimmed off and the remaining tube was drilled and bolted in four places to form a 6 1/2-inch diameter cylinder. This cylinder would become the feeder's barrel.

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