Thursday, May 7, 2009

Raising Poultry - DIY Bulk Feeder

A small DIY poultry feeder works great for a small number of chickens or when they are just chicks. However, baby chicks become big chickens and also develop a big appetite. If you have a larger flock of chickens, you will need a bulk feeder to take care of that appetite. It will also free you from having to put out feed everyday and avoid making this a time consuming chore. Here’s a simple cardboard bulk feeder that you can make out of a cardboard box until you get around to building a more permanent one out of wood.

Most good carpenters don’t like to cut a board unless they have a definite layout to go by. There is an old saying about measuring twice and cutting once that I try to follow. One wrong cut can ruin a big piece of lumber. Lumber is way too expensive to waste. Many modelers make cardboard prototypes first and wooden models are made from these after the design is shown to be feasible. It’s important to know that it will accomplish the job for which it was designed.

This is kind of a disposable bulk feeder. Since it is made out of cardboard, I’m not exactly sure how long it will last. Hopefully, it will last long enough to get the wooden one built. It will need to be set on a board to protect it from moisture condensation but should last several days. If not, I can throw another one together in about 30 minutes using another cardboard box.

Front view of Bulk Feeder

Here’s the how to:

First thing you will need is two (2) boxes the same size, a couple of small dowel pins, a ruler or tape measure, and a box cutter or utility knife. I used a sheetrock knife on this one because it was handy and I didn’t want to dull the blade on my pocket knife. If you want to dull a blade, just cut a little cardboard and you will find out quick. In this case, my boxes were 18 inches wide, 18 inches long and 16 inches high. I got these boxes free at my place of work. Your boxes may be different sizes but the principle is the same.

Side View of Bulk Feeder

Next I measured two (2) inches up from the bottom on one side of the box and marked and cut a straight line across the front on one side. This is the feed tray opening. Then I cut up each side of the box 7 inches and folded the cut part inwards. This creates the feed gauge plate. I then held the flap at about a 45 degree angle and marked two holes on the side of the box for a wooden dowel pin (small). The dowel pin holds the feed gauge in an open position.

Inside View

Next I cut one side out of the second box and inserted it at an angle inside the first box. This made the feed plate. I placed a wooden stop (piece of inside corner molding) approximately 5 inches from the front edge of the box to keep it from sliding forward and to hold it in place. I then placed a hold down bar (large dowel pin) at the top of the feed plate to lock it in place. The dowel pins are different sizes for illustrative purposes.

Front View with Feed
Inside View with Feed

I then placed some dry dog food (all the chicken feed is out at the farm) in the finished bulk feeder and it worked like a charm. I will be building a more permanent bulk feeder out of wood and will post the results and the building plans for everyone as soon as it’s done. I’m hoping to make the design where it can be built from a single sheet of plywood, a couple of hinges and some sort of locking mechanism to keep pests out.
A chicken feeder for "chicken feed".

Got cardboard?

Staying above the water line!



matthiasj said...

Nice write up Riverwalker. I would like to have some chickens of my own someday.

Bitmap said...

I like.

riverwalker said...

To: matthiasj

Thanks. We're allowed to keep a few chickens in the city limits but for now the chickens are being taken care of by RW, Jr. I'm building this to help him out.


riverwalker said...

To: Bitmap

Thanks. I know it just a prototype but it works.


Humble wife said...

Can I say AWESOME! I am going to keep the page up for my husband. This seems like a project for my sons once he explains what needs to be done!

Thanks for taking the time to make this template! I love love love it!!

Have I mentioned we have oodles and oodles of chickens(and feed trays too expensive) so we go through a few plastic feeders every few months!!

New Mexico Prepper

riverwalker said...

To: HumbleWife

Thanks Jen! Glad you like it. A box feeder like this is just a temporary use item but you can cut up the box and use it as a template to make a more permanent one out of wood.

I'll be doing a post on that here shortly. RW, Jr. and I are going to put a wooden one together in the next few days. Our work schedules don't coincide right now so it will be a few days.

I plan to go into a little more detail about the feed plate and feed gauge (which controls the amount of feed entering the feed tray...angles and such).

This is an excellent project for the young ones. Teaches them how things work. Just be careful and make sure they are properly supervised when cutting the don't want them to accidentally cut themselves.

If you have a source to get cardboard boxes, you could make several and have them ready to go when needed!


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