Whatever the quantity or breed of poultry in question the correct feeder and watering equipment is fundamental.
- Protect the food from rain and snow as well
- And distribute the food evenly around the dish so that the each of birds can each get their fair share
You will find a good selection available on eBay.
Hens will quarrel. Dominant females especially do by occasionally bullying and blocking young stock from getting to the feed so it is important to have separate dishes or feeders for younger birds that are being pushed around. This also applies where your flock has a mixture of different breeds, with some smaller breeds suffering.
Whatever, feeder is being used the most important thing is hygiene.
- Dishes and feeders should be washed regularly particularly if the flock is relatively large and different birds are at the feed constantly.
- Disease in a flock can spread extremely quickly particularly if they are being kept in a relatively constrained space so keeping everything from the hen house to the feeders is a very important aspect of poultry work.
Steel or Plastic Chicken Feeders?
Modern feeders for the smallholding are generally plastic these days and whilst quite expensive don’t seem to last any time at all.
- A strong wind simply blows them into the nearest hedge to be found a few months later having purchased a new one.
- A hard frost soon breaks them.
In the past troughs, feeders, drinkers and all the poultry feeding equipment was generally of galvanised steel.
- It is quite heavy and so doesn’t easily blow away.
- It is smooth so it is easy to clean.
The steel equipment is much more expensive. However, if more than a dozen hens are being kept, then it may be a sensible option to invest in steel as it does last for a long time and is good to work with. The designs of the older, steel feeders and drinkers are much more appropriate for the smallholder, as they were designed when free range hens were the norm even on a big poultry farm.
For a hobby poultry keeper an investment in feeders and dishes of that level may seem too great in which case there are a number of good alternatives.
What Size Chicken Feeder?
Much depends on the way the poultry man wishes to feed the hens, and whether this is a large flock that needs to be fed in one session once a day or a small one where a small amount of food needs to be distributed.
The average adult chicken will eat between 100- 120 grams of feed per day.
The best option is to feed the flock, every couple of days, from a single big feeder that they can keep coming back to. Here a feeder with a capacity of about 2.5 KG will keep a small flock going for a couple of days. Plus even with that level of food in it, the feeder will stay standing because it will not get blown away, or knocked over by hungry chickens.
TIP: It is very important to keep the chicken feeder off the ground. If the feeder is directly in contact with the ground then dirt and detritus will be kicked into the feeder by the hens and contaminate the food.
Separate Different Feedstuffs
Another important bit of advice is to never mix standard layers pellets or cheap chicken food with corn in the feeder. This will almost certainly promote waste as the hens will much prefer the corn and frantically push the feed out of the feeder as they peck and scratch about to find the delicious delicacies.
Keep your Feeder Covered and Off the Ground
The galvanised metal feeders, and some other designs, are made to prevent rainwater from getting onto the feed and causing waste. If these are correctly positioned they will also stop rats, mice and other vermin from stealing the chicken feed.
The range of plastic feeders and dishes is the cheapest, and is probably best for a small home flock. They are extremely light, very hygienic and easy to move around. In general they are also very well designed. They really come in three main types with various accessories.
Have a ring connector at the top of the unit so it can be suspended off the ground. This is useful for stopping small vermin stealing the food it is also a good way of fairly distributing food as the hens turn the feeder as they feed. The size range varies between 1kg for smaller chick feeders to 2.5 kg for the bigger versions.
These feeders simply sit on the ground. Some have small legs that can be opened to raise the unit off the ground a little, which is a better feeding angle for the chickens. The mechanics of the feeder are pretty similar throughout the different ranges, which is a simple twist and turn tray on the bottom of the container that serves as the feeding point. The container is filled, the tray placed on top and turned shut, and then the whole unit is turned upside down to operate.
The feed trough is really just another way to distribute food equally and keep it away from the ground. They tend to be used for smaller chicks as they are relatively long and thin, so the chicks can spread out and are not bunched up around a round feeder.
Rain shields on top of all feeders are a really good option. So much food gets wasted when it gets damp from rainfall and these hoods simply attach to the top of hanging or standard feeders and are a real asset.
This is normally included in most plastic chicken feeders and simply prevents the chickens from throwing all the feed onto the ground. The anti-waste grid is generally part of the feeder as it is sold. Check with the seller if you are not sure.
Medium Weight Galvanised Steel Chicken Feeders
These feeders are a great alternative to plastic but aren’t quite as expensive as the heavyweight galvanised steel feeders. They will last much longer than the plastic feeders.
That said they are generally distributed in bigger sizes than the plastic feeders and so will carry between 5 and 18Kg, which is very large for the amateur chicken owner. If 2.5Kg will feed 3 hens for one week then 18Kg is going to serve them for a long time.
- It is better to feed the hens so that they finish the feed relatively quickly.
- Having large quantities of feed out for a few hens isn’t very good for the feed.
The medium weight galvanised feeders come with rain shields and with anti-waste grids as additional extras but these are well worth considering. These feeders do not come in a hanging version and so it may be prudent to keep them off the ground with a couple of bricks or it is possible to buy a galvanised steel stand to sit the feeder on.
Heavy Weight Galvanised Feeders
This type of feeder is much the most expensive but it will last for a very long time if well looked after. The more professional poultry keeper with a big flock is more like to use these feeders than the smallholder or hobby poultry keeper.
- They tend to come in big size ranges the smallest being 5kg up to 15, 28 and even 70 kg for the very biggest.
- They will come with rain shields as an integrated part of the feeder
- There is no requirement for an anti-waste grid.
They are really too heavy to hang so again, like the medium weight galvanised steel feeders, it may be sensible to just stand them on some bricks to get the right height off the ground. This is also a good idea for making the feeder last as sitting wet ground will eventually make even galvanised steel rust and erode.
Overall the type of dish or chicken feeder to use depends upon the number of chickens in the flock and how much interaction the owner wishes to have with the hens. Many smaller, hobby poultry keepers, love to feed their hens every day and so it is easy to keep a plastic dustbin and a scoop close to the hen run and simply fill up a small feeder each morning. For the bigger operations there simply isn’t the time to dish out food every day and so the bigger feeders are obviously the best option.
It is probably advisable to buy the best quality feeders available as the cheap ones are generally a false economy and will soon break or if plastic get blown away.
How to Buy Chicken Feeders on eBay
Now that you know which chicken feedersyou want you can find them quickly and easily on eBay. To start shopping, go to the Pet Suppliescategory then the Poultry/ Hatching/ Incubation portal. Click on the Dishes & Feeders sub-category portal.
The Categories list on the left side of each page will help you narrow down your listings by item type.
Use the Chicken Feeder Finder to quickly narrow down item listings by brand, model and condition (new or used).
Search eBay listing titles for specific words. For example, if you want to find new chicken feeders, type the keywords "Chicken Feeders New" (without quotation marks) into the Search box. Click, "Search title and description" to expand your results. Visit eBay's Search Tips page for more tips on searching with keywords.
If you can't find exactly what you want, try browsing eBay Stores or tell the eBay Community what you’re looking for by creating a post on Want It Now, or save a search on My eBay and eBay will email you when a matching item becomes available.
Buy Chicken Feeders with Confidence
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