Automatic Feeders

October 13, 2019

  I have played with a few different styles of PVC feeders. Every time I think I have a good idea I find the birds can still sling feed on the ground and create waste. I also found my larger comb birds [Cream Legbars] are not comfortable getting their heads into those feeders. So we changed feeders a few times and we finally have some auto feed and water systems we are happy with. 

I am going to have a separate post on my auto watering system and on this one discuss the auto feeders we created and will comment on how well they did or did not work.

The first feeder we tried was with 3" PVC and a Wye shown in the first photo. You can make the feeders as tall as you want to get many days of feed. We converted all our feeders to this style one weekend then was a bit dismayed as some of the birds flung out all the feed looking for the little pieces of corn in their crumbles. While it was a good feeders for some, it was not what I was hoping for to keep from wasting feed. So.. back to the drawing board, or plumbing section of Lowe's,  we went.

The second time around we got 3" PVC and some 90 degree fittings. If you look at the photos below you will see there is an angled 90 and a 90 that looks like a corner of "L". This set up uses the first 90 to funnel a good amount of feed into the other 90 and the feed stays deep enough in the fitting it cannot be slung out.

I love this setup and have these in most of my pens. A 4 foot section of PVC on the top of these fittings will feed 10-12 birds easily for a week before needing topped off again. This makes my feeding chores a once a week topping off of the feeders. It took a few weekends to get all the pens converted over.. but they have been well worth it with the feed staying where it belongs. 

While I love this last feeder I found my Cream Legbars roosters and cockerels did not. This breed, at least for me, has HUGE combs. So, when they stuck their heads into the new feeders, it was rubbing and curling their combs. So we had to go back to Lowe's and see what we could use that had a bigger opening for these boys.

I found  in the irrigation section a fitting that has a larger 6" opening and also an opening for the 4" pipe I used as a stack to be filled as a reservoir. It is called a 6 inch Single Basin Kit.  I have no idea what this is used for outside of poultry, but it is the perfect solution for my feeders. Get your 4" PVC that is sold in the irrigation section that is a lighter weight [and cheaper too] than the regular PVC pipe. This pipe also has one end wider to slip over another piece of PVC. Look for 4 inch sewer pipe.

To connect the PVC pipe to the Basin Kit you need a sloped 90 degree fitting. They call this a street elbow. Look for the fitting where one end is wider than the other. The wider end will slip over 3 inch PVC pipe and the other end will slip into the Basin Kit.

This feeder has turned out to be ideal for my Cream Legbar males. The larger opening is a perfect size for my roosters to comfortably eat and the feed stays way in the bottom so no slinging feed out and onto the ground. My younger birds, those that cannot stand on the ground and reach the bottom, will perch on the side and can then reach the feed in the bottom of the fittin. Since this feeder is a little more expensive,  I only use this in my Cream Legbar pens. This fitting also comes in a double basin that can have two stacks attached for even more of a feed reservoir. 

Overall the PVC feeders are a great way to go. They are easily cleaned, easy to create, and can hold a lot of feed to make feed time a little easier. There is a bit of investment of time and money to set them up.. but there is no waste in feed and the time they save when feeding many birds during the week is immense. Overall these feeders are worth adding to your poultry pens.