Jun 25, 2013

Grandpa's Feeders, Save Money on Feed & Protect Chickens from Disease

 Grandpa's Feeders
When a representative of Grandpa’s Feeders in New Zealand contacted me about test-driving one of their treadle feeders, I was not inclined initially to try one because I didn’t believe I needed a new feeder. I made my own PVC feeders and have been happy with their performance, besides, I believed treadle-style feeders were designed to keep rodents out of the feed and I didn’t have a problem with rodents- or so I thought.
 
I read through Grandpa’s website and the product appeared to be solidly constructed, still I thought it would be difficult to justify the purchase of a feeder that started at  ~$200 a pop…until I found a dead mouse in my run and began researching rodent control. I quickly realized that the actual and potential costs of rodents in the feed and around the chicken coop can far exceed the cost of one of Grandpa’s Feeders.
Product arrived mostly assembled.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that approximately $2 billion in poultry feed is destroyed by rodents annually.  Extrapolating from the startling data found here, I calculated that 25 rats can consume 500 pounds of feed per year; at $20 per bag, the feeder would pay for itself in short order. But feed lost to rodent consumption is not the only price paid for the presence of rodents- they are known carriers of approximately 45 diseases, including salmonellosis, pasteurellosis, leptospirosis, swine dysentery, trichinosis, toxoplasmosis and rabies. Mice and rats can carry disease-causing organisms on their feet, contaminating ten times the amount of feed they consume with droppings, urine and hair.  So, between the risk of disease posed to my flock and the destruction/consumption of feed, I began to realize that a well constructed feeder that keeps nasty beasties out of the chicken feed and chicken coop/run is worth its weight in gold.
After finding the dead mouse in the run, I set up an electronic trap to see if I could catch any of his friends. Much to my surprise, this ginormous rat was in the trap and rodent warfare was ON.  <shudder>
I just received the feeders last week, so this isn’t as much a review of the product as it is an introduction to the product. Here’s how they work:  Grandpa’s Poultry feeders have a cantilevered lid over the feed trough that lifts to expose the feed when a chicken steps onto the attached platform and closes when the chicken steps off it.
This large Grandpa's Feeder holds 40 pounds of feed, which will last 12 birds 10 days. 
FEATURES

  • The standard feeder requires 14 ounces of weight to open the lid. An adult rat weighs approximately 9 to 11ounces. Rats, mice, sparrows, rabbits, squirrels, etc are all too light to open Grandpa’s Feeders.
  • Anti-flick grill: prevents the birds from scooping feed out of the trough onto the dirty ground where coccidiosis and other diseases can contaminate the feed.
  • Capacity: a standard feeder holds 20 lbs of feed, which services approximately 6 chickens for 10 days. Vacation, anyone?
  • The feeders are made of galvanized steel with an alloy tread plate. They are waterproof and can be used inside or out.
  • Poop-proof- chickens can’t poop in it when the lid is closed. BONUS!
  • There is a 12 month, money-back satisfaction guarantee. Ya can’t beat that with a stick! 
 
There is a training period that allows the birds to become accustomed to the operation of the feeder, but it requires no effort on the part of the chicken-keeper. For the first week of training, two bolts prop the lid open fully and the birds get a feel for standing on the plate and putting their heads into the trough to eat. The second week, the bolts are lowered a notch so that the plate and lid move slightly when the plate is stepped on. The third week, the bolts are removed and the birds operate it themselves- when they step on the plate, the lid opens, when they step off, the lid closes.
I'm pretty sure that's not where the washer belongs, but...you get the idea. 
 Interestingly, my Tolbunt Polish Frizzle pullets, Calista Flockheart and Ally McBeak were the first to explore the standard feeder in one run and Doc Brown, my White Crested Black Polish pullet, was the first to check out the feeder in the other run as the bigger birds looked on curiously. Next week, we lower the bolts to the second position. Stay tuned for the report after training has ended!
Amazon Affiliate disclosure statement at The Chicken Chick®
Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick®

30 comments :

  1. Wow, interesting concept. I can't wait for your update!

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  2. I bought one of these (ugh, the price) because we did have a terrible mouse problem in the run/coop. Using the old feeders that swing freely and the chickens put a ring of feed all around it made for fun times for the mice. They had food and they had water! why go anywhere else! So we switched to the Grandpa feeder and also to Brite Tap waterers... no more mice that we can see!!!!

    The chickens learned very quickly how to use this... we did what they said, one week completely open, second week partially and then closed. I dont think they need this much time. All they need is the dominant hen to try it and they are all on it! So watch them and if some of them are using it, they all will. We found that the grill that holds the feed back is kind of a pain as it keeps the food back when there is still food in the hopper. We dont fill ours all the way just because of moisture in the air. So maybe the weight of having it FULL pushes the feed down and is always available.. I would not trust it to feed chickens for 6 days though, just because of the grill issue... But it was well worth the money and really feel like it has saved us a ton in feed! Hope you have the same results!

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  3. Would love to add this feeder to my coop!

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  4. Wonder what happens if four rats get on treadplate at same time ? That would weigh it down .

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  5. Pretty ingenious, I wounder if it would work for ducks?

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  6. Makes good sense. I think there might be one in my future!

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  7. It's a great feeder, I have one in my coop.

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  8. Eewww! My cats brought a little mouse into the house the other night for some inside entertainment. Everyone (three cats) was having fun until the little mouse died.



    This makes me think that if they found one outside, then there could be some in the chicken run too. I am doing some serious thinking about feeders that will prevent mice from being able to eat the chicken food. Don't know if I can afford Grandpas feeder just yet, but we will see.

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  9. I want to get one. I just built a coop for my hens and it is a ways from the house, closer to the barn. This could increase the risk of rodents. I don't like mice at all.

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  10. This looks easier than using my T-shirt. :)

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  11. Kathryn Botard6/28/13, 10:37 PM

    It doesn't look like this feeder would be possible for scratching the feed out either. I like that.

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  12. I have a swing 11 pound feeder with a cone cover. I can never fill it though due to the rain (causes the food to clump in the feeder and rot). I like the idea of this keeping blowing rain our of my feed (and wasting it), unwanted rodents and feed spilling on the ground and poo.
    I do wonder about the chick warning though. How do you deal with that if you have the odd chick (mother nature and a rooster in the hen house and all)? Do silkies have issues with this? Oh and the price.

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  13. The price issue is a real one, but consider how much money you are losing in feed to waste due to rodents, rain and wind. It'll pay for itself in no time.
    My Silkie can open it with no problem. If you have a random chick, you can always put in a small chick feeder for her and remove it at night.

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  14. Deborah Paterson6/30/13, 9:22 PM

    I am still catching jokes from hubby about my solar powered, light sensored automatic door lol, but I love it and I'm glad I splurged for it. I can see the value in this to, as mentioned when the rain blows my swing feeder clumps up and food is wasted. I still may have to put it on my wish list.

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  15. Diana Dunn Wilson1/25/14, 10:10 AM

    Is this made to be used by only chickens or could duck's as well eat from it? It would be well worth the investment if all my birds could eat from it. The chipmunk's will be so disappointed!!

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  16. but what happens when 2 or more rats step on the feeder bar at the same time? their combined weight will open the feeder, right? I'm new to this and am searching for ways to decrease my chances of attracting rodents in my coop/run.

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  17. Lee Ann Lynn9/29/14, 4:54 AM

    Can bantams open it?

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  18. I'm researching on buying a "Grandpa's Feeder" I know you had mentioned you where going to update about how it worked for you. Seems like the people who have them like them...... any negatives (other than cost..) Thanks.

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  19. None at all. I love them, Val!

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  20. What a useful thing to own! I hope I win one.

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  21. Could sure use a Grandpas Feeder!!

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  22. Grandpas feeders are gorgeous! I would love one :-)

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  23. Lisa Edwards1/26/15, 9:44 PM

    Would love it

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  24. I love that this keeps the feed dry and rodent free! Just what I need!

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  25. Charlene Westberry Fisher1/27/15, 12:35 AM

    Would love to win this!

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  26. Valerie Jensen1/27/15, 1:25 AM

    I'd love this!

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  27. I need to have a Grand paws feeder. It will save me so much money.

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  28. This is such a neat idea!!

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  29. Peggy Denton1/29/15, 12:27 AM

    I need one of these.

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