Are you sick of all the native birdlife eating all of your chicken feed?
I know that I am. I reckon that about half of the feed that I put out each day gets eaten by native pigeons and sparrows. That gets expensive after awhile.
Hopefully, from tomorrow we will no longer have this issue.
So after our soap making workshop, I fitted some new feeders and a waterer that I bought from Royal Rooster during the week. I had been looking around for a feeder that will deter smaller birds from eating the chicken feed for ages. The Grandpa feeder looked promising, whereby the chooks step on a plate at the front of the feeder and the lid opens for the hens. They can be very expensive, unless of course you make it yourself (like my mate Mick).
The Royal Rooster model has a removable cap on top of the feeder and waterer where you pour the contents. The waterer has a little bowl and float system, which fills up when the bowl empties. It holds about 10 litres (2.5 gallons) of water.
I opted for something a little less expensive, and simpler. Something that my particularly dumb chickens could fathom. The reason I say dumb, is because most of them still have not figured out how to drink from the chicken nipple waterers. The bantams (who are clever) figured their feeder and waterer out straight away.
The feeders are easy to hang. I chose not to let them hang off the chicken wire, but to mount them on the structural uprights with pipe saddles, which you can see behind the feeder pictured above. There are two hooks on the back of the feeder that slide down onto the pipe saddles.
The hood over the feeder is to stop water from contaminating the feed, and to deter larger birds. I mounted them high enough so that pigeons can’t reach them, and I am hoping sparrows can’t figure them out. Time will tell. At least I will not walk outside to see a massive flock of the little buggers flying away from the metal feeder.
Oh, and as promised last week, here are my three new chooks. No names as yet, as Kim is still yet to decide upon something suitable. She likes to observe them for a while before figuring out what to name them. The bigger hens are still bossing them around, but getting used to them.
I have been segregating them during the day, with the older hens in the run, and the pullets in the undercover area. At dusk, they all meet up and sleep in the house. I think that they are starting to get used to each other , but it will take about another week or two before the pullets are integrated into the flock.
The egg statistics are still down, with the bantams still barren, and only one brown egg a day. The leghorns are also off the lay, so hopefully in the next few weeks it will be full steam ahead, especially when the pullets get their act together.
I can taste the omelette already!
Do any of you have a subtle or clever ways of keeping unwanted birds out of your chicken feed?
We have these feeders too, as well as the usual green/white bell shaped feeders. Made the mistake of mixing a little scratch mix in with the feed at first to really entice them to use it but the molasses content stops it running freely. They still manage to spill from it so some rogue birds may still figure that bit out. Ours haven’t really caught on to the waterer though.
I like those feeders Gav. and the waterer as well. It will be good to get an update on how well they work.
I must say, your chicken run looks a lot neater than mine. 🙂
The new feeder looks great, hope it helps your problem with the wild birds. I use large metal hanging feeders, and while I’m aware of a few wild birds taking advantage of the free food source, I don’t think I’m losing as much feed to them, as I do to rats. I hate rats. That’s interesting about the chickens not figuring out the nipple waterers…you’ve had those for a while, so I figured they were working smoothly.
Have tried a number of auto feeders (not the Royal Rooster) but found the chooks spilt more on the ground than they ate. Went back to feeding out only what they need each day in a half tyre. Feeding is done only in the afternoon so they have full bellies when they go to bed. During the day they free range around The Orchard. Rats and mice can be problem, the pen is fully enclosed so birds are rarely an issue. Also, daily feeding means we can vary the type of feed each day to bring some variety into their diet – they seem to like that.
Lynda D says
Glad you bought these ones. Im planning my own coop and i had spotted these and added them to my list. Now i have a word or mouth reference so will be watching your experience. Im planning wire mesh with very small squares rather than bird wire or chook wire. I am hoping that this will keep the birds and rodents away along with the hopper feeders.
Cat J B says
I have one of these and the waterer too. They did still manage to spill a bit but so much tidier than it was. It took them a while to figure it out though, but they all got there in the end.
Re your typo: The ‘cleaver’ way would certainly ensure the other birds could never steal food again. 🙂
Trace Willans says
We bought the square plastic boxes with the hand holes from the hardware, and put a slab on top, the chickens just stick their heads through the holes to get tot he feed. When we were in the suburbs and so had issues with pigeons we put leather strips over the holes the chickens would still put there heads through but the pigeons would not enter. All our ducks and chickens use the nipples, my husband spent hours with them doing chicken training, funniest thing ever.
I have a Grandpas feeder. I bought it thinking it would stop those bloody (not the word I usually use) pigeons from eating the food. Those pigeons figured out that 4 of them on the footplate equalled one chicken and thus they were able to continue their freeloading
I have admired the Royal Rooster gadgets and when money permits I might get them
My girls and boys drink out of ice cream containers. Easy to wash and refill and easy to throw away if damaged. The containers are given to me as I don’t buy ice cream (palm oil issues). So it is a form of reuse.
There is a mob in Bendigo who make a feeder similar (but looked a bit better) than the Grandpas feeder. Uf I can find their brochure I will post the details
Claire in Kalorama
Jason Dingley says
Once a day we scatter the seed on the ground and it is always entertaining watching the girls fend off the other birds. When they are in the dome you sometimes get a dove that manages to make its way inside in hope for a free feed – boy does the dove wish it hadn’t. In its panic it can’t find the way out and the girls just chase it round and around.
We have a couple of feeder in a tree for the wild birds. There’s no need for them to steal the chook food then. It still costs money for the wild bird seed though.
I can so relate to the pigeons flying away as you approach the chook house. My problem is that my chookies dig out the feed from the feeder to get at the sunflower seed. Mine are addicted to sunflower seed – any ideas about a high protein grain that does not have sunflower seed in it. I use Jenco 16% protein layer mix but in the last year they have introduced sunflower seed since when my troubles have started. Joy
tp g says
Pigeons & sunflower seeds! I couldn’t have written it better Joy! We have the exact same issues with our chooks. I don’t worry so much about the birds (doves in this case) sunflower is an oil seed (not sure if that’s a bad thing??) and our girls go nuts when I put the 16% jenco mix in the feeder. We’ve got 1 leghorn, 2 isa Brown’s & 1 australorp. Got them all as week old chicks and funny to watch them grow. They’re just over 1yr old and since starting to lay have never really missed a day. all happy & healthy. Oscar
wow so glad I cam across these posts as I was looking for a solution to the pigeons and will buy the feeder. The bigger issue I have is when I let my chooks free rang I leave the door of their pen open so that they can come and go and I the pigenons and bush turkeys spend the day stuck in the pen because they are too silly to come out the way they go in. Any ideas for keeping them out whilst still having the door open so my chooks can come and go?
Gavin Webber says
No real solution regarding the open door. Sorry
The feeder with the rain cover was quite a disappointment in regard to the rain cover which does not work. Even in light rain without wind the feed gets wet and soggy therefore does not refill automatically. This means wasting the feed in the tube to clean it out . This needs to go back to the drawing board for a solution. Without rain it works well especially for chickens , but wet weather it is a no go. Very disappointed customer ,we had to take it down and install in within the roof covering to avoid the rain ruining the feed which defeated the purpose of having a rain cover
Gavin Webber says
Hi Daniel, did you provide feedback to Royal Rooster? I am sure they would appreciate it so that they can improve on the design.
Thanks for putting me on to the feeders Gavin. I was feeding my girls about twice a day. The chooks were eating some but leaving a lot of feed for the wild birds, then of course when they felt hungry again the feed had ben demolished. I was being harassed all day by hungry hens at the back door. The aspect I really like is that our one laying hen can sneak away and replenish herself with extra feed any time during the day without having to compete with the others at feeding time.