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Do I Need a Feeder for my Chickens? (Pros & cons)

Chicken feeders are beneficial and can be quite helpful for farmers. Chickens often spread feed around, which can be wasteful and attract pests. This leads the farmer to eventually purchase a feeder as they get tired of cleaning up after their messy birds.

Feeders for chickens should be used because they can eliminate messes and prevent the feed from getting knocked into feces. Chickens eat a quarter of a pound of feed per day, and feeders can hold up to sixty pounds of feed. Feeders should be placed on the ground outside the coop.

If you like the idea but don’t want to spend money, don’t worry! You do not have to purchase a chicken feeder. There are other items that you can use instead. Making a chicken feeder can be a fun DIY project, and there are many ways you can make one.

Hey chicken buddies: Quick heads-up before going further! I've put together a list of stuff I use and love for my flock. If you're curious about what keeps my hens happy, click here to find out.

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Do I Need a Chicken Feeder?

Chicken feeders should be used, especially if the chicken owners have a lot of birds and can’t spend a lot of time cleaning up after them every day. Feeders stop the chickens from spilling the food because the feeders keep it safe and secure in one clearly defined place.

If chicken feeders are not used, it increases the risk of the food getting knocked over and spilling into the chicken’s feces. This can be annoying for the farmer and dangerous for the chickens because they will eat contaminated food, even if it makes them sick.

If food is not placed in a feeder, chickens will spread the food around with their feet or by pecking at it. This will result in an abundant amount of wasted food. If you do not want your chickens to waste their food (and your money), then you will want to purchase a feeder.

Feeders are not as expensive as you might think, basic options like plastic feeder are cheap (check the price on Amazon), while automatic chicken feeder are more expensive but can be a lifesaver when you are going on a trip (here is an example with a waterer and feeder).

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Where to Place a Chicken Feeder?

Feeders should be placed outside the coop. Placing the feeder outside the coop minimizes messes and gives extra feeding room to the chickens. However, if you live in an area where the weather is bad and the feeder needs to be protected by a cover, then it can be placed inside the coop.

Some individuals try to hang their chicken feeders. This can be done. However, it is not recommended. Hanging the feeder can cause extra messes if it’s unbalanced or possible for the chickens to flip over. However, messes will not occur if it is hung in the proper place. Feeders that are hung should be right at the chicken’s neck. You will need to place the feeder at a height where even the smallest of your chickens can reach it.

Also, plan to have space for the feeder inside the chicken coop when needed, if you somewhere over the weekend, you can leave the chickens inside for a few days (as explained in this article).

How Many Feeders Are Needed Per Chicken

One standard feeder is necessary for every twelve chickens. The feeder can feed three chickens at a time, which is extremely useful when you have many chickens that need to eat at the same time.

Feeders will typically feed chickens for over a week, which is beneficial to owners, as they rarely have to replace the food.

If you only have one chicken, the feeder will have enough food to last for about two months. Feeders are large and are meant to contain large amounts of food.

How Big of a Chicken Feeder Is Needed

Chickens typically eat 1/4 pound of food each day. This is more than many owners expect, given the small size of a chicken. Of course, some chickens eat more and some eat less. To ensure you do not have to constantly refill the feeder, you will want to purchase the largest option available.

Some feeders can fit sixty pounds of food. This is convenient, as it eliminates how often it needs to be refilled. If you have a large number of chickens, then purchase the sixty-pound feeder. If you have very few chickens, you may only need a feeder that fits about six pounds of food.

Large chicken feeders are more expensive, however, they are worth it if you have that many chickens. You will be grateful you purchased a large feeder when you rarely have to refill it. If you cannot fit a large feeder into your chicken’s area, then do not worry. Many smaller feeders are available that will fit wherever you need them to.

How to Feed a Chicken Without a Feeder

It is possible to feed chickens without a feeder. Feeders are not necessary, they are just helpful items. If you want to feed your chickens without a feeder, just use the ground, a tray, or a dish as a substitute.

What Can I Use as a Chicken Feeder?

If you want a feeder but you have no way to purchase one, then you are in luck. There are many different items you can use that act as a feeder. There are numerous DIY chicken feeders you can make. They do not take much work to construct, and they use very few materials.

Because there are so many different designs of feeders you can make yourself, some individuals prefer to make their feeders rather than buying them. You can custom design them in order to make a feeder that would work best for you and your chickens. It can be a fun project, and you can do it however you like!

Below is a list of items that you can use as a chicken feeder:

How to Feed a Chicken Without Feed

Having specific feed for your chicken is always ideal. However, sometimes you run out and you cannot purchase new feed immediately. Or maybe you’ve tried feed and you have discovered that it is too messy to deal with and you don’t want to try to use a feeder. No matter the reason, it is good that chickens can eat things other than feed!

Below is a list of foods that chickens are safe to eat, provided by The Frugal Chicken:

  • Cheese
  • Oatmeal (cooked or uncooked)
  • Cooked rice
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Wheat
  • Flax
  • Corn
  • Worms
  • Crickets
  • Black soldier fly larvae

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