Buffet of Life

These Girls can be messy with their feed. I have been watching them over the last few months with our cheap hanging feeder. They seem to love shoveling through the feed looking for the perfect piece to eat. In doing so they manage to spill a large quantity of feed on the ground, which then gets stepped on, kicked around and defecated on. When I clean up the run all that wasted food gets raked up and tossed in with the compost. So, even though the feeder itself was very economical, the volume of wasted feed is not. This had to change. We still needed something cost effective, no matter how much I love Grandpa’s Feeders, I cannot rationalize spending $200 on any feeder. I toyed around with the idea of crafting a wood version but figured there would be hardware and other bits that would need to be purchased. I really wanted a functional feeder that the Handsome Hubby and I could craft with materials we already had on hand. We did have quite a bit of scrap left over from the construction of the coop & run. We have been utilizing it here and there for whatever impromptu need we have had. The image of a feeder I had seen on another chicken blog was running on repeat in my mind’s eye. It was simple and seemed like it would serve to keep the feed in while providing a deep enough bowl for our little cross-beaked Chiquita to get into to eat. It was nothing more than a wooden planter box from the home improvement store with the addition of a little pitched roof. The roof is key to keeping the hens out of the feeder cause a hen in the feeder equals feed scattered everywhere, feces mixed in the feed and most likely the tipping of the feeder when they would inevitably try standing on the side wall.

I originally started with the idea of doing a half planter box version that could be hung on a wall. Only problem, the walls in the run are wire and the wall posts are too far apart for the size feeder we wanted. So then I scratched that and mocked up a quick plan for a floor model.

Have I told you what a great guy I have? I am so lucky to have him, he is so patient and so willing to work with me on all my crazy schemes. This Saturday he was in high demand too. Midge was rearranging things in her room and needing him to install some shelves and I was ready to create the new feeder as I couldn’t stand by another day watching the girls wasting the feed. So there was a lot of “Daddy could you?” “Honey, when you have a chance.” going on at our house. Way more than the usual amount of demands that he takes on any given day

When it finally came to my turn, again, I had the wood scraps selected, the idea drawn and measurements figured (kind of). Hubs did the cutting and planned to have me do the assembling. I have used the pneumatic staple gun plenty but this time he handed me the pneumatic nail gun that shoots 2 inch nails. This wouldn’t be too big of a deal if not for a few things. 1- the feeder was constructed of 5/8’s inch plywood making for a very thin target for me to hit. 2- the walls of the feeder are on a slant, meaning the nail gun had to be held at the same, very precise 22.5 degrees (I think) and 3- The Hubby was on the receiving end should I miss fire one of those nails. YIKES!

So, after a few scary attempts on my part, some jumping on his end, we opted for him to do the assembling. Fine by me. I’ll happily wait for a much larger project to try that particular nail gun on in the future.

So here is the feeder before the beautification process. I wanted to be sure all the girls could, and would, get into eat easily and that the issue of feeding the dirt floor was also sufficiently solved.
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This is Raven, the worst of the wasters, giving it a try. Every once in a while a little feed flies out when one of the girls is feeling particularly puckish, but nothing to the extent that we had with the previous feeder. Even cross-beaked Chiquita seems to be getting on just fine with this newer feeder.
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After function comes form and I just couldn’t leave this bare wood. Sure I could have stopped at a coat of paint but why not take it a little farther and create a thing of beauty. So here is the finished feeder. And yes, the roofing is purely form, as this feeder lives in the covered run.
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