Before you scour the market for the best chicken feeders, one thing you must do is identify your expectations. People have different needs and therefore have different expectations from the products they buy.
Remember also that even the best products have their flaws. When reading chicken feeder reviews, know what users complain about, or know what about their feeder has failed their expectations. Based on those, you can have a fair idea which model suits you most.
After doing our own research, we came up with five models for your consideration. We didn’t focus much on the cost factor, because we assumed that buyers are ready for whatever price it will take to ensure that their chickens are well-fed, happy and safe.
Best Chicken Feeders: Factors to consider
There are several factors to consider when choosing. Some feeders look cheaply-made, but don’t be deceived by appearances. Surely, there must be good points about them that can satisfy the needs of some people. Others boast of innovative construction and design, but that doesn’t mean they have everything that it takes to be a good feeder.
By focusing on factors that matter to you, you can form the right questions to ask without spending time considering the things that are not important.
Questions to Ask
One way you can make deciding easy for you is to identify your needs in advance and, based on those needs, proceed to pick two or three models. Make further evaluation on the remaining models by considering the following questions:
Will it make me clean poop out of the feed without end?
The feeder must not allow chickens to stand on top of the feed.
Does it have enough weight to resist tipping over?
A light feeder can be easily toppled. That means wasting money on feed wastage and the possibility of starving your chickens over long periods of time.
Can it keep water and dirt out?
The feeder must be able to protect the feed from weather, falling leaves, etc. The trough’s side must be tall enough to keep away dust and water from spoiling the feed.
Will rats and other feed stealers be prevented from getting their meals from the feeder?
Some models have automatic open-close lids. When the chickens are full and have left the feeder, the lid will close automatically, making it impossible for intruders to freely feed themselves.
Can it hold its content and keep feed wastage minimal or even nil?
Again, this is about the ability of the feeder to make your every dollar for feed count.
Is it large enough to hold an amount that will keep me from refilling every 5 minutes or so?
You want something that you can rely on while you are away. Get the one that will allow you to continue working on whatever it is you’re doing without interruptions.
Is the construction dangerous to my chickens?
Make sure that the movement of the feeder’s parts will not compromise the safety of your chickens. Chickens quarrel, make a lot of bodily movements, and don’t know when danger is lurking, so make sure nothing about the feeder is potentially harmful to them.
Here are additional aspects that may also be important to you.
- Materials – Plastic feeders can be better choices for those who want it light. Some users also talk about metal-made feeders being rust-proof, while others don’t like the idea of getting cut by their sharp corners or edges.
- User-friendliness – Is the feeder easy to wash? Do its surfaces get easily soiled or become oily?
- Lid movement – Are there moving parts in the feeder? Some chickens get startled by the slightest of movement. Do you think your chickens can get used to it? Check the manual for conditioning instructions.
- Kind of feeds – Does the feeder work with all sorts of feeds – crushed, uncrushed, pellets and crumbles? How about with fermented feed? Will it rust because of your feed?
- Flexibility – Would you like a feeder that you can also use for ducks, turkeys and other fowls?
- Weather-proof – Some searchers ask about feeders’ ability to hold up in the rain, or during winter or summer. Will it get too hot under the summer sun? Can winter temperatures freeze its materials?
- Shape – Some feeders are elongated and lay out horizontally on the ground, while others are round and tubular.
Maximum capacity is important when choosing a feeder. For this, you need to factor in the size of your birds and their total number, as well as your preferred frequency of feeding.
Some feeders use grills, some don’t. Some units can be hung, others cannot. You may also check if the feeder can be placed outdoors, indoors, or both if placement must be considered.
Top Five Chicken Feeder Models
The process of choosing has been very exhaustive and strenuous, but the efforts we’ve put are well worth it. The remaining products we now have is a bunch of chicken feeder models packed with great features.
1. Grandpa’s Feeders Automatic Chicken Feeder
We couldn’t take our eyes off of this model the first time we saw it. Particularly catchy is its well-built metal construction which we later found to be consisting of combined aluminum and galvanized. If you worry about the weather conditions, this is the best option to protect your feeds.
There’s also the expansive lid that ensures its feeding area is completely covered from end to end, but some users think that the lid is not so effective in keeping rodents away. Another good thing reported is it isn’t difficult to train chickens to get used to using this feeder.
2. Miller 9112 12-lb Galvanized Hanging Poultry Feeder
This US-made feeder holds about 12 pounds of feed and can be hung to save floor space. Since this is a hanging unit, it eliminates scratching and feed wastage.
This is a galvanized unit, and you might worry about any possibility of your chickens’ wattles sticking onto the metal during winter. So far there is no feedback about this happening on both this and the Grandpa unit.
This hanging model also works for chicks. Just put it on the ground if you’ve got little ones.
You must check if this feeder self-feeds well. We are hearing negative experiences in this regard.
3. MILLER 957772 Little Giant High Capacity Poultry Steel Feeder, 25 lb
For a feeder with a heavily-solid construction, consider this other option from Miller. This is something that can last for many years. It says 25 pounds in the description, but in truth, it can hold about 15 pounds more.
This is an easy-to-attach unit. You only need to drill 2 screws on your coop wall and it’s good to go. Now you can increase its height by putting blocks on its base, which makes sure there will be no scratching and there’ll be no one among your chickens that will use it as toilet. Such a great way to save money!
4. Ware Manufacturing Chicken Feeder Trough
We have this unit for people with few chickens to feed. Coming with a length of 24 inches and a width of about 5 inches, this model has a capacity of 8 lbs when filled to the rim. If you’ve got about 8 chickens, you will need to refill it every other day.
When put on the ground, however, it can easily tip over. Some users advise hanging it and using 2 S hooks for it. You can also bungee cord it from the floor, so you can enforce stability and prevent your chickens from pooping on the tray or dumping their feed away.
5. Chicken Feeder - One PECK-O-MATIC Demand Bird Feeder Kit
If you’re looking for a reliable waterproof unit, this is your best option. It is an on-demand gravity feeder that drops feeds when demanded. A very flexible feeder, you can also use this to feed other pets such as ducks, pheasant, geese, turkey and many more.
Because this feeder only releases feed when its feed tray is moved, you can be absolutely sure that there will be no mess after each feeding time and there will be not so much left after your chickens have their fill. Therefore, it is also great to use both outdoors and indoors.
We decided that the clear winner for this round-up is the PECK-O-MATIC. True enough, it will require the additional work of buying a pail from Walter or Home Depot but the various benefits that it can bring will surely compensate for that.
Consider the innovative design that will keep you from worrying about the right amount of feed to put each time. With this model, all you need is to check it for times that the pail needs refill.
This is also a waterproof unit that can serve its purpose no matter what the season is. The construction is mostly plastic that’s resistant to heat and very low temperatures. No worrying about wattle sticking.
We also like the certainty that this unit has the great ability of protecting users’ money. This feeder can be hung to a certain height that unwanted guests like rodents cannot reach but chicken pets can, and the fact that feed dropping will stop once the one feeding on it stops moving the feeding vessel will make sure that only a few bits of grains or crumbles will be left afterwards.