Today we get to revisit our old friend gravity. Webster’s Dictionary defines gravity as: the gravitational attraction of the mass of the earth, the moon, or a planet for bodies at or near its surface (2) : a fundamental physical force that is responsible for interactions which occur because of mass between particles, between aggregations of matter…blah…blah…blah. Anyway, it keeps stuff from falling off of the Earth.
Gravity Feeder for Chickens:
Again, Stone and I used our superior skills in technology and engineering to come up with a very simple solution to feeding the chickens. You will notice a theme with us. We are lazy and only like to do a job once. Gravity is constantly with us and it is free. So, being of the “Free’gan” mind-set, how could we pass up a chance to use this free resource.
Simple enough. We had an old 30 gallon trash can lying around and a square-ish 5 gallon bucket (no idea where that came from), some 2 inch PVC pipe and a flat 2 inch pipe fitting. With these common household items we created the wondrous spectacle you see before you now.
We broke out the trusty 2 inch hole saw again and cut a hole in the center of the bottom of the trash can. Mounted the pipe fitting to the bottom of the can and then inserted the pipe. Mounted the trash can to a support post on our coop. We cut a hole in the lid of the bucket and ran the pipe through the hole. I also cut holes in the sides of the bucket for the chickens to have access to the feed. Again, make sure the holes are big enough for the birds to fit their heads in without scraping off their combs.
Now comes the tricky part. The feeder will only allow the feed to drop as long as the hole at the bottom is clear. So, you only want about an inch of clearance so that all of you feed doesn’t run out all over the place. I had to fill the bottom of the bucket with dirt and then placed a concrete block on top of the dirt to act as a feeding platform. I then placed a smaller chunk of concrete block on top of the platform to decrease the distance to the pipe down to about 1 inch. By having the holes in the bucket a couple of inches above the feeding platform it helps prevent bill out. Your heights and distances will have to be figured out by trial and error.
A 30 gallon trash can holds 50 pounds of feed with just a little room left over. Make sure you put the lid back on after filling the feeder, otherwise, rain, snow, or chickens will get in the top and foul the feed. The feed we use is your basic all stock with molasses. You will, at times, have to shovel the food at the bottom of the can through the hole. This only happens when the feed gets low. You want to do this fairly often so that you don’t end up with moldy feed stuck to the bottom of the can. Every time we add a new bag we check the bottom of the can and make sure that there is no mold and scrape the old feed through the hole.
The Scrap Door: Left-over food stuffs that you would normally throw away or put down the garbage disposal should go to your chickens. The scrap door allows you to toss these items into the pen without risking life and limb.
Side Note: I joke about how evil or stupid our chickens are, but I really do love those tiny T-Rexes.