DIY Chicken Bucket Feeder

Update:  The Lowe’s lids and buckets are being transitioned to better quality food grade buckets.  The Lowes lids crack after a few months, and we’ve had one crack around the street elbow.  

We’ve tried a number of different feeders over the past few years, some purchased and some homemade.  We’ve settled on one we really like.  The design came to us when we purchased an inexpensive chicken coop on Craigslist.  A family had been keeping chickens in their backyard when a neighbor turned them in to the homeowners association. Along with the coop came a home-made bucket feeder.  We’ve taken the design and made one improvement.  
It’s a simple design, requiring 15-20 minutes to build.  There are only two pieces and these can be purchased at any hardware store.  The original design utilized silicone to seal the water out, but we found this to not be sufficient in keeping the water out.  Instead of using silicone, we “weld” the two materials to keep water out. 

Materials Needed:

5 gallon bucket with lid

3 inch PVC street elbow 


Drill (optional)

2 inch Hole saw

Hack saw

Plumbing torch (or similar heat source)


1. Prepare the 3″ elbow by using the hack saw to cut notches out of the male end of the elbow.  I’d recommend two or three 1.5″ wide by 0.5″ high notches.  It does not have to be exact.  When installed in the bucket, the notches allow the feed to fall into the inside of the elbow and be accessible to the chickens.

2. Determine the installation location for the elbow on the bucket.  The shoulder of female end will be flush with the outside of the bucket and the male end will be flush with the bottom inside of the bucket.  I roughly eyeball this location and mark it by holding the elbow as shown in the photo below.  Mark by tracing the circumference of the elbow on the bucket.

3. Using a 2″ hole saw drill a hole in the center of the previously marked circle.  I turn the hole saw by hand.  If using an electric drill, make sure the bucket is secured as the hole saw tends to catch and rotate the bucket.  If you don’t have a hole saw, you can cut by making a hole with a smaller drill bit and making the 2″ hole with the hack saw.

4. Being careful not burn yourself, use the torch to heat the edges of the hole until the plastic is malleable. See below.  Gloves are advisable.

5. Quickly, insert the street elbow into the hole, with the male end sitting flat against the bottom of the bucket.  Hold the elbow briefly as the plastic cools.  Remember that the plastic is hot, avoid contact and wear gloves.  Finished product below.

6. Clean the bucket, fill with feed and install the lid.  Your ready to go! 

If desired you could put in multiple PVC elbows for multiple spots for the chickens to eat. I personally prefer to only put one and put it in the opposite direction of the prevailing wind (to avoid rain blowing into the bucket).

Note: A five gallon bucket will hold 20-25 lbs of feed.  This will last 10 chickens about 10 days.  This is dependent on forage availability, age of the chickens and other factors.  In general, chickens consume about 0.2-0.4 lbs per day.  We have about 50 chickens and use 5 bucket feeders. 

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Smoked Sausage and Cabbage Soup

Smoked Sausage and Cabbage Soup

(Modified from

Things I did differently from the recipe:

1. I pan fried the sausage. I wanted it crispy not boiled.
2. After I put the sausage in the pot I made a roux/gravy of sorts (see pictures). This helps the flour not be clumpy in the milk. I do the same trick with potato soup.  In the drippings from the sausage I poured the flour in the pan and stirred it a little. You leave it until the flour almost looks like it will burn (before it burns) and you pour the milk on and stir some until thickened (can use a fork to stir in milk). I used 1.5 cup milk.
3. I didn’t use as much salt. I just shook some salt and pepper in.

Next time I would have bacon or bacon bits to serve with it to add a little more salty and crunch but as is it was really good.

Definitely would recommend. This is the first recipe I have used the smoked sausage with. Usually we just pan fry and eat for breakfast but this was also excellent.

Sausage – Not Just for Breakfast!

Sausage is not just for breakfast! This is a hodgepodge recipe I started making that I love.
One Pot Stuffed Peppers
I love stuffed peppers but I don’t have time to do all the steps. So this is what I have started doing.
10 dashes balsamic vinegar
5 dashes garlic powder
3/4 brick of cream cheese
1 can spicy tomato sauce
2 bell peppers
1 lb sausage
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Cooked rice
Pre step 1. Start rice in rice cooker or stove if doing slow cook ric
1. Brown 1 lb ground sausage
2. Dice 2 bell peppers and toss in with meat halfway through cooking.
3. Drain fat if desired.
4. Cut up 3/4 of a brick of cream cheese and spread around pan.
5. Add balsamic vinegar, spicy tomato sauce, and garlic powder. I usually do the balsamic vinegar to taste but it was about 10 dashes last time I cooked it.
6. Stir till everything melted and combined.
7. Add shredded cheese (Monterey Jack suggested but I have used whatever cheese on hand with good success).
8. Add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese if desired (I have forgotten it before and still tastes good).
Once everything is melted and yummy serve over rice. I personally also like to eat it all scooped on tortilla chips or in tortillas.

Egg Watch

The chicks are also getting big. 31 red star hens. They will lay large brown eggs starting in a few months. They are almost big enough to go outside in the chicken tractor!

Let us know if you want to be on the list to contact when we have fresh eggs. We have limited availability now and will have plenty when these chicks start laying.IMG_5288.JPG

Hogs are Growing!

Look how big they are getting! Especially the pink/spotted. They have almost caught up in size with the black ones.

The black Ossabaw hogs will probably be ready in November and be around 130ish lb hanging weight. The pink/spotted are Duroc/Berkshire/Hampshire/American Guinea hog cross and should be ready in August and be about 150ish lb hanging weight. They will be in time for college football/tailgating/summer BBQ! (The processor can even make brats, yum!).

Let us know if you want to put a deposit on a whole or half hog. Space is limited


Why Heritage Hogs?

You might be wondering, why do we care about heritage or rare hog breeds?

1. Friendlier pigs: In the past, when these heritage breeds were common place, families would have a family pig that they would raise and eventually eat. Friendly pigs were used as breeding stock and mean ones were not. This propagated gentle characteristics forward to the next generation. Heritage hogs are not friendly like a dog but will let you touch it when feeding and in general are even safe around kids.

2. Forage ability: The ability and desire to forage for their own food and eat grass from pasture. This drive has been bred out of the main commercial breeds so that they can be raised in confinement.

3. Better taste: Many gourmet chefs are turning to heritage hogs for their pork due to the better flavor and tenderness of the meat. The meat is in general more pink and marbled than the “other white meat” you might be used to from the grocery store.

All in all they exhibit the characteristics we would prefer in our pasture pork.