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 

Tools:

Drill (optional)

2 inch Hole saw

Hack saw

Plumbing torch (or similar heat source)

Instructions:

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. 

 
This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something after clicking on a link, Chestnut Acres Farm will make a small percentage while you still pay exactly the same amount as you otherwise would. Thanks for your support.

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

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.

The Hogs have Arrived!

This years hogs have arrived!

We are still taking deposits for whole/half hogs. Let us know if you are interested!

Meet the Hogs:
6 black Ossabaw heritage hogs: These should be ready this fall and are estimated will be 120ish pounds hanging weight.

6 pink with black splotches (Duroc, Berkshire, American Guinea, Hampshire) cross pigs: These are projected to get bigger overall than the Ossabaw and should be ready in August (in time for football BBQs!!).pigsMarch2016