Feeding the chickens is a chore that everyone wants to do less often. We have been using some version of a PVC pipe chicken feeder for the last three years. We have made many revisions and tinkered with the design and we finally have something that works well for us. Our newest feeder looks a bit like a plumbing nightmare, but it is working very well. The reasoning behind the feeder was we wanted to be able to fill it from outside the coop, and it needed to have enough spaces to feed multiple chickens at the same time.
We constructed the feeder from 3-inch pipe and used 4-inch T fittings for the feeding ports. We could have used a larger diameter pipe to increase the carrying capacity of the feeder, but anything over 3-inch pipe fittings starts to get cost prohibitive. The way the feeder is currently it holds about 25 pounds of feed. For our flock, that is enough feed for a few days.
The feeding ports for the coop are the same as the ones in our chicken tractor and, although a little complicated, and they work very well. To build the a single feeding port, you will need one T, two knockout caps, one reducer, and a small piece of pipe. Our goal was not to use any glue so that things could be taken apart and reconfigured if needed, so the pieces are mostly just friction fit
The only thing that needed glue for this project is the feed stopper. Our birds like to rake the feed out of the feeder onto the floor. To prevent this, then pound the 1-inch tall piece of pipe into the opening that is for feeding. The 1-inch tall piece of pipe will have enough friction to stay in place. The knockout cap does have a lip. We put this facing in so that it is wedged against the T fitting. This makes it harder for the birds to knock out.
Next we want to create the stand and the bottom of the feeder. Ideally you will want the top of the feeding port to be level with the chickens back. Instead of trying to mount the feeder to the wall we created legs using more PVC pipe. Similar to the feed stopper we inserted a knockout cap into the bottom of our T and then inserted a piece of pipe to hold it in place, but instead of a small 1-inch tall piece of pipe we used a 7-inch piece. This not only holds the bottom of the feeder in place but gives us our needed elevation.
The next step is altering the reducer so that the pipe will slide completely through it. We want the pipe to pass through the reducer and be a couple inches above the knockout cap acting as the bottom of the feeding port. This is what controls the amount of feed that is available. The goal is to have enough feed for the birds to eat but not have it full so they can scrape it out. As the birds eat the feed in the tube above will fall and fill the feeder.
To alter the reducer, we used a scroll saw. We just had to run the blade around the inside of the reducer to cut off the shelf that the pipe would normally sit on. The first one we made we did this with a wood rasp. It took a long time but got the job done.
The last step is determining how many legs we wanted our PVC feeder to have. We decided on three, this meant we needed two Y fittings and a few 45-degree fittings. The nice thing about the feeder is there is only one fill port and as the stumps fill up the feed fills the next in line. We have been using this feeder for two months at this point and it is working great.