13 Chicken Feeder Ideas: No-Waste, PVC, & More!

13 Chicken Feeder Ideas: No-Waste, PVC, & More!

If you’re raising backyard chickens, then you’ve likely also come across the pesky problem of raising mice and rats. A good quality feeder solves unwanted food freeloaders and keeps your feed fresh and bacteria free. In this article, you’ll find DIY chicken feeder ideas that’ll keep your coop a clean and happy place for your flock.

 

Rats and mice are a problem because not only do they eat your chickens’ food, they leave droppings, attack young chicks, and spread disease.

 

So, keeping them out and away from your flock is critical.

 

Let’s go over what you need to know, and how you can make your own DIY no waste chicken feeder.

 

(If you don’t want to make one, here’s the no waste chicken feeders I recommend. There’s links to different ones on Amazon and they’re all high quality and affordable).

 

What Can I Make A Chicken Feeder Out Of?

Anything can be a chicken feeder as long as it can be removed from the coop for cleaning and it holds food.

 

But if you’re here, you likely want something more sophisticated AND that’ll keep pests away from your chicken feed.

 

A bowl is great, but it won’t keep mice and rats out during winter, when they’re more likely to try to build nests in the nooks and crannies of your coop.

 

It’ll also attract ants, and give your flock a way to throw their feed everywhere – making clean up a nightmare.

 

So, let’s look at different DIY chicken feeder ideas that you can try at home!

 

List Of Possible Materials For A DIY Chicken Feeder:

 

  • Wood
  • PVC
  • Tupperware bins
  • Repurposed food-grade barrels
  • Metal
  • Rubber

 

The possibilities are really endless – this is just a brief list of possible materials. You might even have them on hand if you build your own chicken coop!


We’ve found it easiest to make a no waste feeder from PVC, from parts sourced at any hardware store. Another easy option are the repurposed food-grade barrels. (See our DIY horse feeder tutorial here – it can easily be adapted for poultry).

 

In my experience, these are the two simplest chicken feeder ideas to implement.

 

While wood seems like a good idea, and it’s readily available, it’s not very easy to clean, and it can harbor bacteria in the grain.

 

If you have access to welder (a simple one is around $100 at hardware stores), a metal chicken feeder is great also.

 

5 Gallon Bucket DIY Automatic Chicken Feeders

Making a DIY chicken water feeder out of a 5 gallon bucket takes just minutes. This one is my favorite!

 

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While this video is about how to make an automatic chicken water feeder out of a 5 gallon bucket, this idea can very easily be adapted for feed.

 

It costs about $12, and will take 5 minutes of your time. 

 

Easy access to feed and water will improve egg production and lower the chances of your chickens developing bad habits like feather picking (which can easily be confused with chicken mites, so make sure they’re truly bored).

 

Click here for the tutorial for 5 gallon bucket automatic chicken feeder waterer

 

Here’s a second idea, using an an extra PVC component

Wood DIY Zero Waste Chicken Feeder

Wondering how to make a chicken feeder out of wood? This idea is good – but just note that it’s made out of wood. So, you’ll need to take extra care to clean it.

 

If you have wood hanging around, though, it’s very easy to make!

 

If I were to improve on it, I would add a second door at the bottom, so it can be shut at night to keep rodents out. (While chicken wire will keep most rodents out, keeping the feed closed at night will reduce the temptation to raid your coop, and reduce your mouse population.)

 

Get the tutorial here

 

Here’s a second idea that looks easy to execute

 

PVC Pipe Feeder

We recently built one of these for our chicken coop, and it’s an easy chicken feeder idea to execute.

 

You’ll need to decide whether you want to drill holes into a PVC pipe for individual feeding holes, or remove the top portion of the pipe for easy group access.

 

You’ll also need to make sure there’s enough holes for each chicken – so if you have a large flock, like I do, then making access as easy as possible will also make your life simpler.

 

PVC Feeder Idea #1 (group automatic feeder)

PVC chicken feeder idea

PVC Feeder Idea #2 here (multiple individual feeder holes)

PVC feeder idea #3 (single feeder hole)

 

DIY Rain Proof Chicken Feeder

If you want to locate your feeder outside the coop, then you’ll need to make sure it keeps the grain dry. Sometimes chickens can be picky about the texture of their feed, and might turn their beaks up at mushy mash.

 

Muddy feed also molds fast (and can shorten your backyard chickens’ lifespan) – so, it should always be a priority to ensure your chicken feeder keeps your flock’s food safe from the elements that could cause it to spoil.

 

The easiest way to execute this chicken feeder idea is to add a rain hood or cap onto a PVC feeder.

 

This idea is made from an old kitty litter bin. Just be sure to clean the bucket before using it (and clean the bucket more often than this author has)

 

Get the tutorial here

 

You can also try to make the PVC feeder below – this one has a rain hood you can find at any hardware store. The only caveat is that because of the rain hood, it can’t be closed – so rats can still get in.


However, it IS a no waste feeder. You will need to make multiple ones, however, if you have a larger flock.

 

Get the tutorial here

 

DIY No Waste Chicken Feeder Bin From A Tote

If you have a plastic tote (aka Tupperware bin) hanging around, you can make an easy no waste feeder from it. You’ll need to drill holes into it (2-3 inch holes) and add PVC pipes. You can use glue to hold the PVC in place.

 

It’s easy to clean, reduces food spoilage, and keeps your feed dry!

 

Get the tutorial here

 

DIY Hanging Automatic Feeder

DIY YouTube chicken feeders are easy to execute because you usually get step by step instructions. If you have a lot of time, and are handy, then this chicken feeder idea might be for you. Looking at the video, it feeds chickens a few grains at a time when they poke at a hanging element.

 

It’s clever, but I think it also can be improved upon. I personally would opt for one of the feeders above (but it might work well for your situation!), especially if you feed a mash (it looks like this will only work with pellets or a textured feed)

 

It’ll also certainly keep rats out of your food. For more intelligent and mischief-loving breeds, like Speckled Sussex, a feeder like this will entertain them for hours. 

 

 

DIY Baby Chick Feeder

For chicken feeder ideas for your chicks, here are some incredibly creative and simple chicken feeder ideas for you to try.

 

It’s always a good idea to keep plastic out of landfills! These look like they can me made in just a few minutes

 

I love how this one re-uses a yogurt container

 

Upcycled 2 liter soda bottle

 

DIY Chicken Feed Recipe

If you’re interested in feeding your chickens with organic and non-GMO feed that will keep them healthy and happy without costing you a lot of money then you’ll find this recipe helpful:

 

Get my best organic non-GMO chicken feed recipe here

 

Don’t want to make it yourself? You can buy my favorite 100% NON-GMO layer feed here

 

What Do You Feed Organic Chickens?

A high-quality layer feed with 16% protein and supplemented with nutrients is the best thing to feed backyard chickens. You can make your own feed using my layer feed recipe here, or find a high-quality non-GMO chicken feed here. You can also supplement their diet with table scraps, alternative chicken feeds like dried insects, and high quality chicken treats. It’s also critical to know what chickens can’t eat, like avocado and dried beans.

 

Here’s a brief table of what chickens can eat (not comprehensive):

 

Fruit Legumes Vegetables Seeds Proteins Dairy Grains
Berries Peanuts Spinach Sunflower Mealworms Milk Wheat
Cantaloupe Alfalfa Hay Tomatoes Flax Black Soldier Fly Larvae Greek Yogurt

(Plain)

Oats
Watermelon Peas Squash & Pumpkin Pumpkin Dried River Shrimp Cheese Rye
Bananas Clover Kale Hemp Eggs Whey Millet

 

You can also find a list of what chickens eat here.

 

Here’s a list of what chickens SHOULD NOT eat:

 

Vegetables Fruit Legumes Grains Other
Potato skins Avocado skins & pits Dried beans Dry rice Salt
Onions Apple seeds Uncooked beans Chocolate
Chards Peach pits Lots of sugar
Rhubarb leaves Coffee

 

Should I Hang My Chicken Feeder?

Yes, hang the chicken feeder to keep vermin out of it and so your chickens don’t poop in their grain. Be sure to at an appropriate height – 8 to 12 inches off the ground is best. You can also hang it about the middle of your bird’s back, if you think 12 inches is too high. In addition, by hanging your chicken feeders, you prevent vermin and predators from getting to the food.

 

How High Should I Hang My Chicken Feeder?

8 to 12 inches off the ground is best. You can also hang it about the middle of your bird’s back, if you think 12 inches is too high. Remember that some chicken breeds like Silkies can’t fly, and Cochin bantams and Sebrights are very short, so make sure your feeder is at the right height for everyone to get a meal.

 

How Do I Keep Rats Out Of My Chicken Feeder?

To keep rats out of your feeder, you’ll need to use a feeder that closes. Also store food away, and make sure to clean up any spills as they are likely to attract unwanted guests. You can check out my automatic chicken feeder ideas here.

6 Automatic Chicken Waterers That Are Pure Genius

6 Automatic Chicken Waterers That Are Pure Genius

It’s really important to make sure your backyard chickens have constant access to clean water – and it’s easy to do with an automatic waterer.

 

You can buy one, or make one yourself. It takes just a few minutes!

 

(I have a full tutorial here. It cost me $12 to make this waterer, but a reader recently told me she did it all for free. Better than spending $50 on Amazon for essentially the same thing!)

 

 

Here’s a collection of DIY chicken waterers we found on Instagram – they look pretty easy to make, too!

 

Automatic waterer out of an old barrel

This one looks pretty easy to make. Some nipples, a drill with the right bit, and you’re good to go. Just make sure if you buy a used barrel, it only contained food and is food-safe.

 

We use barrels in this DIY horse feeder tutorial – they previously had coffee in them.

 

Use PVC for easy install

This waterer uses PVC. You can’t see the rig outside the coop, but if you had a rain barrel outside the coop, then the waterer could stay full by gravity.

 

The set up below should only cost a few dollars to make – PVC is pretty cheap. Something else to consider is keeping it unfrozen during the winter. It will either have to be insulated or you can try PEX.

View this post on Instagram

Hey Laura @thechickenfountain! Our girl Etta wanted to know why Frank hasn't invented a mealworm flavoring system for the Chicken Fountain yet! 😂 We all love our automatic waterer from @thechickenfountain – I love it because I don't have to lug buckets of water out to the coop every day (it is hooked up to a rain barrel that collects water off the roof of the coop!). And the birds love it because it's easy to use & they get a supply of fresh, clean water! 👍 #WinWin #chickenfountain #chickenwaterer #mealworms #freshwater #farmlife #farmanimals #farmproblems #farmchores #homesteader #automatic #homesteading #iamcountryside #backyardpoultrymag #backyardchickens #birdsofinstagram #thepopahomestead

A post shared by Emily Popa (@wildershomestead) on

 

Add nipples to a 5 gallon bucket

My tutorial up there uses a dish as the bottom of the waterer, but you can also try hanging the bucket. This one looks easy to build – you would just need the nipples and a drill, and a sturdy place to hang the waterer.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkDkS4QlBWp/?tagged=chickenwaterer

Easiest DIY Automatic Chicken Waterer You’ll Ever Make

Easiest DIY Automatic Chicken Waterer You’ll Ever Make

With it getting hotter, I wanted to show you a DIY automatic chicken waterer we made right on the homestead.

 

It cost us under $5 to make, but it solves so many problems on the farm. The last thing we want is for our animals to be thirsty or get heat stroke, and this DIY automatic chicken waterer prevents health issues.

 

Here’s a step-by-step video, and there’s also directions below.

 

The chickens love that it makes water available all day, and I love that it’s close to the ground and shallow enough that chicks won’t drown in it (unless their seriously committed).

 

It’s easy to disassemble and clean and because it’s made of plastic and rubber, it’s easy to sanitize.

 

Here’s the DIY automatic chicken waterer we made:

 

DIY automatic chicken waterer with chick

 

You can use galvanized steel instead of rubber, if you prefer.

 

Seriously, this took us about 5 minutes to make. Once you have the materials, it’s super simple.

 

What you’ll need to make this DIY waterer:

  • A 5 Gallon bucket
  • Plastic top that fits on the bucket
  • A 1/2″ to 1″ drill bit
  • Electric drill
  • Ground feeder or oil pan


Here’s how to make it!

 

Start with a 5 gallon bucket

 

We found one at our local big box store, but you can buy it on Amazon as well.

 

The most important part of choosing a bucket is to make sure it’s food grade, since your chickens will drink from the DIY automatic chicken waterer.

 

 

How do you tell if it’s made of food grade plastic? If it has a 2 and the HDPE designation, it’s safe for food.

 

Time to make a DIY automatic chicken waterer and reduce the amount of time you spend on barn chores. Make an automatic chicken waterer in just a few easy steps!

 

If you do use a bucket that’s been hanging around, either clean it with bleach or avoid making a DIY waterer with it altogether if you don’t know what’s been in it.

 

Our bucket was brand new and cleaned with bleach when we brought it home.

 

Drill holes in the bucket

 

We got a 1″ drill but for about $3.

 

With the bit, drill evenly-spaced holes as close to the top of the bucket as possible – it’s these holes that will create the automatic part of your DIY chicken waterer.

 

Time to make a DIY automatic chicken waterer and reduce the amount of time you spend on barn chores. Make an automatic chicken waterer in just a few easy steps!

 

If you don’t have the right drill bit, here’s what we use:

 

 

You want to DIY holes so they’ll be large enough to let out enough water, but not so large that the water will come gushing out and all over the place.

 

 

Drill a hole in the top

 

We were able to source a bucket top for our DIY waterer at our local big box store.

 

Once you’ve drilled holes in the 5 gallon bucket, drill a 1″ hole in the top.

 

Time to make a DIY automatic chicken waterer and reduce the amount of time you spend on barn chores. Make an automatic chicken waterer in just a few easy steps!

 

Secure the top to the bucket by snapping it into place.

 

This forms an air-tight seal when under water so the pan refills only when the water level has sunk low enough.

 

 

Get a ground feeder or oil pan

 

We used an old ground feeder for horses that we had lying around, which made this project super cheap, since we just had to buy the bucket and top.

 

Time to make a DIY automatic chicken waterer and reduce the amount of time you spend on barn chores. Make an automatic chicken waterer in just a few easy steps!

 

Ours is rubber, but a galvanized steel one will work well since it also will be easy to clean.

 

Whatever you use, the water line must be able to rise higher than the holes you drilled in the 5 gallon bucket when it’s inverted and placed into the ground feeder.

 

Here’s the rubber one we use (and next to it is the steel one, if you prefer):

 

 

Fill the bucket with water

 

Through the 1″ hole, fill the bucket with water.

 

After the bucket is full, quickly flip it upside down and place it into the ground feeder or oil pan.

 

Time to make a DIY automatic chicken waterer and reduce the amount of time you spend on barn chores. Make an automatic chicken waterer in just a few easy steps!

 

The ground feeder will fill up with water, and should stop filling once the water line exceeds the holes in the 5 gallon bucket.

 

Anytime your flock drinks down the water, the bucket will automatically fill.

Time to make a DIY automatic chicken waterer and reduce the amount of time you spend on barn chores. Make an automatic chicken waterer in just a few easy steps!

 

Doesn’t get much easier than that, and our flock loves to drink water from it!

 

Have the DIY waterer mastered? How about trying a DIY automatic chicken feeder?

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Would this DIY automatic chicken waterer work for your flock? Why or why not? Email me at [email protected] or comment below!

 

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