In addition to setting up the giveaway for the blog, I had another project on Monday: build a hanging chicken feeder. We’ve been using a standard chicken feeder in the chicken tractor, but as the birds get bigger, there is less and less room for a given number of birds to eat at one time. The reason this is a problem is because the bigger, stronger chickens (typically the roosters) will hog the feed, making it hard for the smaller chickens to get bigger. It would be nice if their weights didn’t vary wildly at butchering time, so we wanted to set up a trough-style feeder for our birds. After witnessing the poo ring around the other feeder, I knew it was time to switch things up.
This feeder was exceptionally easy to make and was completely free, thanks to the fact that we always have parts lying around! I think I spent about 45 minutes on the thing, including installing it, and it only took that long because the kids were helping. Had I done it all on my own, I probably could have been done in half that time. I used some old, small animal feeders that a neighbor gave me for the “trough” part. These were meant to be mounted on a wall or the side of a cage, and they had old rusted hooks or bolts in them that needed to come off for my purposes. The reason I did not just hang them on the sides of the chicken tractor is that none of the old parts fit.
I didn’t even bother to cut the board as it was the perfect length to give some spacing between dishes which would allow even more chickens to eat at a time.
First I took the angle grinder and cut off the rusted parts. (An angle grinder is a very useful tool for homesteaders/farmers/country folk. It may not be the most used tool we own, but it’s been very nice to have for the times we do need one.) I think I am going to keep the old hooks to reuse for something, but I am not sure for what. This was probably the most time-consuming part of the project, and it only took a couple of minutes.
Then I laid out half of the bins on one side of the board and screwed them in place. I don’t have much for washers laying around, so I didn’t bother to put any on to ensure that the bins won’t fall off, but I think it will be fine without them. If it is a problem, then I’ll pick up a few washers. Then I turned it around and screwed the next three bins on the back side. I did this to not only help space out the chickens while eating, but also to keep the feeder balanced so that the feed does not pour out.
Then it was time to drill a couple of holes, one in either end of the feeder board, and two spaced about the same distance apart in the center of the roof of the chicken tractor. Each hole was given an eye screw. The holes were drilled so that the screws would fit tightly in place. I started threading them by hand, and then took a screw driver and stuck it through the eye and turned until they were all the way in and tight.
After I was finished with the assembly, I washed all of those bins out, and we headed over to the chicken tractor for installation.
Lastly, I took a length of wire that was double the distance I needed to get the feeder hanging low enough so that the chickens could eat without issue, and high enough that it won’t drag on the ground when we move the tractor. I could have done a single thickness of wire, but I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t snap since chickens can get awfully greedy when it comes to their food and they are not above sitting on top of their food… I slipped half of the wire through the eye of the screw and pulled the two ends together, threading both through the eyes on the feeder, and then bringing it up to wrap back around itself.
Once it was hanging, the kids helped to put feed in all of the bins, and we waited to make sure that the chickens could reach and that they understood how their feeders were going to work. It took a few minutes, but we could see that they were catching on. We’ll continue to keep an eye on it to make sure that it’s working, but so far, so good!
I know that people will make these out of capped lengths of PVC pipe with a portion of the side of the pipe removed, but we were just working with what we had on hand… The objective was to make something that filled our requirements, without spending any money. Objective achieved.
Another “building” project from recent days: Scott made this fence puller for when we are finally ready to put the fencing onto the fence posts for the garden…which will have to be soon, because I planted certain vining plants to be able to grow up that fencing!
I think next on the list of projects is the second chicken tractor, and after that it will be the produce stand or the woodshed (or both at once, because that’s how I roll 😉 ). I’m also working on a few sewing projects indoors that I’m sure I’ll write about pretty soon, and Miss Lady’s 3rd annual Tea Party will be next month, so I’ll be writing about that sometime in the next month. Was there a post on something else that I promised? Don’t let me forget 🙂 What from our homestead would you like to hear more about? Don’t forget to let us know in the comments!
P.S. If you haven’t seen it already we are having a giveaway for the blog with a few items made here on the homestead. Check out this link to find out how you can enter to win. Entry open until July 4th at 1 a.m.