May 27, 2011

My PVC Chicken Feeder. DIY instructions!

Wasted chicken feed drives me nuts and I was determined to build a feeder that would put an end to chickens billing feed out onto the ground. After much research, contemplating dozens of designs and several iterations of my own, I am now happy with my PVC  feeder. There are no longer piles of wasted grain on the floor, which makes me, my chickens and my feed budget happy. Mine cost approximately $12.00 to build and was finished in 20 minutes.
This is the finished feeder in my "Little Deuce Coop." 
Side view of the feeder in the little run.  
MATERIALS LIST:
A PVC pipe or irrigation tubing, cut to the length that will fit your chosen location. (I used a 4" wide pipe for the feed and a smaller one for the oyster shell,  various sizes will work)
A PVC pipe cap for the top. (I used a 4" cap, found in plumbing section of Home Depot)
a piece of scrap wood
extra long zip ties
3 screws
3 washers

The high corner litter pan:

Drill four holes in the pipe, two on each side where they will align with holes in stud. (see photo above)

Drill two holes through the stud at measured increments that mirror the holes in the pipe. ( photo below)

Mark where the "feed dish" will be mounted. The pipe should sit approximately 1/4"-1/2" above the bottom of the feed dish. If the dish is too close to the bottom of the pipe, the feed will not flow out into the dish.
 Secure the scrap piece of wood to the stud with screws and washers. (as shown below). 

For an oyster shell or grit dispenser:  pre-drill one hole in a PVC pipe cap . Cap should be two inches wider than the pipe. 

Secure the pipe cap to the stud with a screw and washer.
 For a feed dispenser using a corner litter pan for feed, pre-drill two holes in the back of the litter pan where it will mount to the stud. Space them so that the washers align one above the other.

Secure the corner litter pan to the stud with screws and washers.

Thread a zip tie through the two holes in the pipe and then the two holes in the stud and secure the zip tie to itself. Do the same for the second set of holes in the pipe and stud.
*NOTE: If installing feeder in the run, be sure to securely cover it at dusk to guard against rodents.
The finished oyster shell dispenser:
The finished feeder:

I cap my feeders with a PVC cap.




103 comments :

  1. Great idea, I love it!

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  2. Nice Job!! You're pretty smart! Very Impressive. Paul Boutiette, President/CEO EggCartons.com

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  3. Thanks Paul. I've got to do somthing worthwhile with this law degree! ;)

    If you'd like to discuss some other ideas I have that involve your company, I'd love to speak with you about them.
    service@CustomEggCartonLabels.com

    Kathy

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  4. I was moments away from over-engineering a PVC feeder, then thought I’d turn to all mighty Google for answers and stumbled across your design. Simple and looks to be extremely affective and durable. My chickens and I thank you :)

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  5. @Anonymous: I'm happy to know that my design helped you! Thanks for letting me know. This project represents the first time I ever used a drill, (seriously) so it had to be a simple project because I'm just not handy in the tool shed. lol

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  6. @Jeff Hamons: Mine probably holds 12 pounds of feed but obviously it can be as tall and as wide as your PVC pipe is. Thanks for asking!

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  7. Really awesome design - the best I've seen (and boy have I looked hard!) ingenious use of materials too. Thanks for bringing my search to a finish and my build to a start
    -greeneggsam

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    1. Thanks greeneggsam! I'm happy to have helped. Share a photo on my Facebook page when you're finished!

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  8. I really like this idea and am going out to buy some pvc pipe today... I have been stockpiling on supplies for when I get my first chicks in May and this is fantastic!!! Thanks for all you ideas :-)

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    1. Let me know how it turns out, Naomi! Welcome to chicken-keeping, you will love it! Would love to have you join us on my Facebook page, we have lots of chicken-related fun over there! http://www.facebook.com/Egg.Carton.Labels.by.ADozenGirlz

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  9. Hey there, It finally worked I am a follower now, well I think so, I will try to send this, hoping it will go thru... love this idea, thanks for sharing

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    1. Hi Jackie!! You did it! Happy to see you here. :)

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  10. Love this! So much easier than the feeders I built for my big coop. I am going to make these for the other two I am building in the next month or two. It will make my life so much easier! Thank you!

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    1. I'd love to see pictures when you're finished, Kristin!

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    2. Yay! Is it hard to fill though? I have a similar design in mind but I was thinking I'd go the route of a flanged top so I can funnel feed into it, but if this design is working you'd be closer to a solution than I am!

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  11. I've read through almost your entire blog over the last 2 weeks (new chicken momma LOL) I've loved all your ideas & learning things bout chickens I never knew!
    I did have a question about the feeder: What do you do to keep the feed from getting wet? (I see the top is covered with a cap, but what about the feed in the corner feeder, when it rains, does it get ruined?)
    ~Thank you for all your information!
    ~Audrey Siebert

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    1. Hi Audrey!
      Thanks so much for checking out my blog! I'd love it if you 'followed' it, the posts will come directly into your inbox each time a new one is posted.

      I have a roof on my run, so there isn't an issue with rain. I do have a second coop (which you may have seen if you took my Virtual Tour de Coop) in which I have an identical feeder, so it is possible to put them in the coop too if you don't have a roof on your run.

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  12. Simple and effect! Awesome.

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  13. Love the idea! My fiance bought 8 little chicks, and once i build the coup (must be this week, they are starting to fly lol), I will have this feeder inside it. A very big thank you!

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  14. How about this question... how do you fill the feeder? I can't imagine trying to pour feed into a 4" pipe from a 50# bag of feed. I'm sure there is a simple explanation?

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    1. I carry the feed in a bucket from the basement and add it into the feeder using a recycled 32 ounce yogurt container. :)

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  15. I am sure she probably uses a feed scoop to full the pipes with feed. That is how I am going to fill mine as soon as we get them made. And I might even fix a spout to come out of some of my chicken runs on the days I do not have to go all the way in to feed. I will just have the spout coming outside of the runs so i can fill the feed pipes from the outside.

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  16. Love, love this idea. Will be sure to share with my readers. Brilliant Idea!

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  17. Hi, I'm very new to all this. My chicks come next week, but we're modifying a shed for the coop now. We've purchased the PVC pipe and high end litter pan. But I have two questions. Does the litter pan have to be placed at a slight tilt forward so the feed doesn't get hung up under the pipe instead of flowing forward and to the sides, or will that happen naturally? And, would a larger size (double) litter pan work? Or will the chickens roost on the open area and poop on the feed? There would be about six inches of open area for the feed with the larger size.

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    1. The litter pan doesn't need to be tilted slightly as long as the PVC pipe rests against the back of it so that feed can't get between it and the litter pan. In practice, the litter pan naturally tilts a little forward, which is enough.
      The litter pan should be installed slightly below the bottom of the feeder so that grain can flow out easily. If you find that grain isn't coming out at the rate you would like, simply cut a small notch in the front of it.

      Enjoy your new feathered pets and please let me know if you have any other questions!

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  18. ive made a thing my goat menerals! but i used a Y pice at the bottom! i may try to make a few of these!!! bobby sue kbjabat@att.net

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  19. My husband built a similar gravity-fed feeder using PVC, except he used the aluminum bottom of a large old open poultry feeder we already had, attached to the pipe with L-shaped aluminum brackets that also allow enough space between the two for the feed to flow through. That pan sits on a cement slab, well away from the fencing & predator's paws. The pipe goes straight up, then angles over & inclines upwards, passing under the nesting boxes, where the opening is accessible from the outside the coop. The opening is currently covered with an old coffee can, which gets hung on two nails when we add new feed. Since the squirrels quickly learned to remove the can, we also lay a large plywood board against the can. (Having to disassemble the feeder once to rescue a very fat but irate squirrel was more than enough lol!

    Using a slightly smaller diameter pipe & cap, some heavy-gauge wire, and a nicely-whittled block of wood, he built a longish "bucket" to carry the feed in. One end of the pipe is capped, the other is cut on a rounded angle for easy pouring into the gravity-feed pipe. The handle fits into two holes drilled on opposite sides of the pipe, aligned so the pouring lip is centered. Its just long enough to clear the lip so that knuckles don't get scraped, & just wide enough to keep the bucket from sliding down the feeder tube. (Having to disassemble the feeder once to rescue the container we'd been using was more than enough lol!)

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  20. We are planning on making two of these this weekend, super excited about them. Thanks so much for the directions! =)

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  21. We are planning on making two of these this weekend! Thanks so much for the instructions!!! =)

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  22. You could cut the bottom off a plastic milk jug to use as a funnel, too, for help with filling the two.

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  23. How high off the ground should the feeder tray? Also we have lots of mice. How do you keep the mice from getting to the feed

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    1. The base should be at the height of your smallest chicken's back so eveyone can reach it. I don't have trouble with mice but if I did, I suppose I'd address the eradication of the problem first, before leaving my feed in the run. Of course, you can always put it in the coop.

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  24. We used to raise and show chickens. Wish I would have found some of your ideas then. Great job.

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  25. This is an awsome idea! Going to go put one together today!!! Thanks for the great idea...-Misti-

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  26. This is an awesome idea!! Going to go out and put one together today.. Thanks for the great idea!!!

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  27. I have the same principle in my chicken tractor, but I used metal ductwork for my tube and metal caps on top and bottom, bottom one being 2 inches larger than my section of ductwork. Since it's larger around than most PVC, I can put more feed in a shorter tube, which with my setup works best!

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  28. look like a good idea but curtians in the coop

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  29. What a great idea! I will definitely use these for my chickens when i finally get some! This would have to be used in a mouse proof cages,  if you leave it out in the run at night, the mice will devour your feed!

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  30. I LOVE this....and I don't have chickens lol....what a great design! I want to get chicks now lol

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  31. TheChickenChick1/8/13, 11:39 PM

    Mine is in the run and I haven't had that problem, thankfully!

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  32. Thank you so much for sharing this awesome food feeder. I am so going to make this for my girls and also for my brothers in NC. I think I am going to use a milk jug as a funnel to put the food into to PVC pipe. Thanks again for this GREAT idea !!
     

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  33. I really like this. But I'm curious if the chickens jump up and rest on the edge of the litter pan and end up scratching out food or pooping in it. After having it for a while do you still like this design?

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  34. TheChickenChick4/3/13, 10:49 PM

    Only rarely will a very small bird hop up on the edge of the litter pan. Some chickens do bill out some of the feed, but I find it is much less than when using traditional feeders, which are very shallow.

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  35. How many chickens will this feeder work with?

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  36. TheChickenChick4/7/13, 11:46 PM

    It depends how big you build yours. The wider and taller it is, the more feed it will fit and the less often it will need to be filled.

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  37. Mine keeps getting moisture in it. Any ideas how to prevent that?

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  38. LOVE IT!!! This is MUCH simpler than the other PVC feeder I found and I can make 2, maybe 3 of these for the price of the other one! Thanks for yet another brilliant post!!

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  39. Is it inside or outside the coop? I have one inside the coop and one in the run, which is covered, and I've never had any problems with moisture.

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  40. It is inside a covered run, but the top sticks outside so that I can fill it easier. I do have a cap on it also. It may just be all the rain and humidity that we have had here in western NC.

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  41. Great project, thank you. I'm new to chickens & have a question. I have a coop w/ separate run & roosting area. I will close the sliding door at night. Do I need to supply them with food and water in the roosting area too? They are going into the coop this weekend. Thanks for a wonderful site! Carl

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  42. They don't need food at night, but if you're not going to be opening the door at the crack of dawn, they will need water.

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  43. The rain is probably running down the PVC tube. I had the same issue and purchased a rubber boot, like the ones for a sewer vent pipe on your roof, which worked great.

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  44. Thanks for sharing this awesome idea!!!! I am going to do it!!!

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  45. Ana Saavedra7/17/13, 8:13 PM

    This is the best feeder! I made one in May and it works beautifully, there is virtually no waste (unlike my last feeder where at least 20% of the feed just got kicked out.) We made a minor modification, and that is that we attached it to the coop wall with metal brackets purchased at home depot specifically for the purpose of attaching PVC pipes to walls or studs. It is not hard to fill as long as it is not too tall. Mine is 4' tall and holds about 5 days worth of food for my hens. (They also free-range) Thanks for the brilliant idea, Kathy!

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  46. Mary Cuffman7/24/13, 9:54 AM

    Will this feeder work with mash type feed?

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  47. TheChickenChick7/25/13, 11:22 PM

    It does, Mary.

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  48. I want to make this feeder! But how do you cover it at night to keep the rodents out?? :)

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  49. Donna Richardson Baker8/24/13, 1:39 PM

    i love my husban he s the best

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  50. My husband made me your feeder, LOVE IT!!! Thanks so much!

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  51. TheChickenChick9/6/13, 12:44 AM

    Cool! I'd love to see a photo of it in action if you'd be willing to share on my FB page. :)

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  52. Done! Thanks! I love showing off my girls ;-) My husband did make the lid different to my feeder. He used a screw type lid VS a cap. I have bad wrists so he figured it might be hard for me to pull the cap off. Works great. He did forget and put the bad side of pipe in the front (with the writing, ha) but oh well. I don't think the girls notice, ha.

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  53. My husband made this for both of my coops, and they are AMAZING! Not only do they help reduce feed waste, but they are very sturdy and they tuck out of the way. He put them in the corner near the human door...filling it is a breeze!

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  54. Lavenderchick10/10/13, 10:49 AM

    Thank you so much...This will be great for my girls.

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  55. Cool design, I just came up with this one myself. I got a little carried away and even added a feed indicator so i know when to add feed to it. You can check out how I made it here http://prepforshtf.com/diy-pvc-chicken-feeder/

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  56. Nicholas Bennett10/10/13, 10:59 AM

    i have tried this 2 times my chickens will use beaks to dump all feed on ground then scratch for it , i think its a little cruel to deny chickens to do what comes natural and scratch for food

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  57. We made this exact feeder and there is a big pile of pellets on the floor! I don't understand.

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  58. Deven Campbell Kriegl10/10/13, 12:22 PM

    How do you cover the feeder for rodents. I see you cover the top but how do you cover the bottom that collects the food?

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  59. Malka Essock10/10/13, 3:56 PM

    cool! (and easy) and i also never have seen the corner litter box, now i need one for the hens and one for the cats!

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  60. Betty Rieves Alfonso10/10/13, 8:22 PM

    Does this really work that well? It looks to me that the pan food area is big, and not very deep. Seems that the hens could really dig the food out more easily. It looks larger than the typical round feeder with a 2" (moat) food area. My hens plow their feed out of that at lightening speed..

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  61. TheChickenChick10/10/13, 8:41 PM

    I guess you'll have to try it for yourself to believe it, Betty!

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  62. TheChickenChick10/10/13, 8:43 PM

    You probably have the PVC pipe too far away from the litter pan, which will allow too much feed to drop into the pan. The feed should not fill the pan more than 1/2 way. You can always wrap a piece of chicken wire around the pan and secure it with zip ties to further deter the beaking-out.

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  63. TheChickenChick10/10/13, 8:45 PM

    Right on!

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  64. TheChickenChick10/10/13, 8:48 PM

    Try a tarp with a bungee cord.

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  65. The litter pan is actually a small (ferret) animal litter pan. It is not in the cat isle as I had originally thought, there is no way a cat can fit in it. I also switched to pellets, and I was surprised as I mixed it with the crumble to transition and my hens go for the pellet first. In my opinion, and if constructed as the directions state, this actually takes a lot less space than a hanging feeder.

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  66. I could have done this easily in my old chicken coop which was large and like a fortress - now I have a hanging feeder that I must pick up due to rats chowing down after dusk. It's a great idea for people who have big chicken houses. I downsized after moving to California.

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  67. TheChickenChick10/11/13, 9:54 AM

    I indicated that this is built with a corner litter pan, sorry you got confused with the word "litter," but glad you built it and it works for you!

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  68. Cristina Lee10/19/13, 8:42 PM

    We are going to make your DIY feeder next weekend. I can't wait! Thank you for sharing such wonderful knowledge with all of us.

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  69. Looks like this may be my next project.. My peachicks and a couple chick babies seem to love sleeping in the feeders I have.. thanks for more inspiration

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  70. TheChickenChick10/19/13, 9:51 PM

    Let me know how you like it!

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  71. TheChickenChick10/20/13, 12:41 PM

    You can try- if it doesn't work for some reason, you can always move it.

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  72. Alicia Granger10/31/13, 12:47 PM

    Will be making this.

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  73. TheChickenChick10/31/13, 2:27 PM

    Let me know how you like it!

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  74. Caitlyn Ralston12/28/13, 8:43 PM

    I'm going to make this feeder for my chickens and I am so excited! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  75. Do you have to use pellets with this type of feeder? Also, how much feed does this hold...given the set up that you show?

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  76. TheChickenChick2/26/14, 7:25 PM

    No, you can use pellets or crumble. The taller you make the feeder, the more feed it will hold.

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  77. TheChickenChick2/26/14, 7:27 PM

    This link will help you with your questions about helping a broody hen hatch eggs: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2013/08/caring-for-broody-hens-facilitating-egg.html

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  78. Nursefarfar3/5/14, 7:27 PM

    Went to Petco and got this litter pan, made the feeder with some pipe from Home Depot. What a great!!!! project. Thanks for sharing!!!

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  79. TheChickenChick3/5/14, 8:35 PM

    That's great. Happy building!

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  80. Jeannie Palmer3/19/14, 11:42 AM

    Wow, this is awesome. thank you so much for sharing. This will be my weekend project to help clean up the coop.

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  81. TheChickenChick3/19/14, 2:16 PM

    I use a wide-mouth funnel, but the tube is big enough that I can fill it without a funnel.

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  82. Dennis Doyle3/22/14, 5:41 PM

    Wow Kathy sure wish i thought of this. now that I have this information my chicks will soon have feeders in their run. Has anyone tried to put something above the litter tray to shelter the feed from foul weather? If there are any ideas let me know. As always thank you Kathy for all you do!

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  83. TheChickenChick3/25/14, 2:28 PM

    I don't know why it wouldn't work. Give it a try and find out!

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  84. Can I use this for chicks as well? Thanks :);

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  85. Tammy Eyler4/10/14, 9:08 AM

    How do you make sure that the teenagers eat only the grower rations? And, if the big girls eat the grower rations, will it harm them? BTW
    - I am SO making this feeder!!!

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  86. I was curious how you cover the litter tray to protect the food at night?

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  87. I built , it works great problem is I think I have it too close to the ground and the chicken feed still is spilling out. There's only a half inch space from the PVC pipe to the corner litter pan. I think maybe that I have the litter pan installed too close to the ground. How far above the ground should that litter pan B

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  88. there is a black rubber cap for a 4 inch PVC pipe. My son is a plumber and he suggested that. I got one and it works absolutely great

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  89. This sounds great a friend of mine and I will be making a feeder for both our pens, thanks

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