It’s not that I don’t enjoy feeding our chickens every day, but when they started pecking at my toes because their food dish was empty for too long (a.k.a. more than five seconds), I decided to build a gravity-powered feeder that would keep them fed for weeks at a time.
Here’s the finished product. Note the happy chickens who are not pecking at my toes.
There are two main aspects of a gravity feeder. One: a hopper that you can empty feed into, and two: an opening at the bottom that is big enough for the chickens can eat from but small enough that it doesn’t continually spill all of the feed onto the ground.
With this in mind, I free-handed a chute design on some half-inch exterior plywood left over from building the coop.
The rest of the feeder is just rectangles of plywood.
It was hard to get a photo of it, but I also added an angled piece of plywood at the bottom of the feeder to divert feed towards the front. This reduces the amount of feed that needs to be added to the feeder before the chickens can reach it.
I added a hinged cover for the bottom of the feeder in case we decide to restrict the hens’ feeding times. For now, I just lifted it open and held it up with a screw.
The lid is another piece of plywood with a basic handle and guides on the bottom to fit it into place.
Tada! The total build time was about an hour plus another 20 minutes for paint. We’ll see whether I need to make any modifications, but for now, it’s working as expected.
Update: The chickens were spilling a lot of feed while they ate, so I added a lip to the front of the trough so they have to reach in to eat, and the amount of wasted feed has dropped to almost zero.