When we got our first 2 hens, we bought the feeder, waterer and food all at the produce store and they were the most typical ones. This was the first feeder we used. Note the cover we added to the top which prevented mice from jumping into a food fest. But they still could access the food via the more ‘civilised’ outlets at the bottom 😦
How can we stop the mice from eating without also starving the chickens? After searching for some time, I stumbled upon the Nosloc feeder. It served us (or rather the chooks) for many years. The mice and other birds certainly can’t get into the food. The 20L bucket lasts a long time for our small flock (<5 at one time). But there were a few issues which I’ll describe.
Firstly, it can only dispense grains or pellets, not mash. Then, the chooks have to learn how to peck at the nozzle to dispense food. This can be quick for the smarter girls…although a few never learn and just eat as though food falls from the sky whenever their friends are around!
A full bucket, while good for lasting a long period, which is perfect when you need to go on holidays, can be heavy. Of course, you can just workaround that by filling it less full. Then there are those naughty chooks who like to pick at their food so they peck at the nozzle repeatedly till there’s a mountain of food on the ground. Then they decide that it’s just the same old boring food. And guess what? Food fest for the mice and wild birds AGAIN!
And last but not least, I pitied the chickens. They peck at the nozzle and the food drops onto the ground. This same ground usually has some chicken droppings and is most of the time muddy when the weather is wet. They pick the food from the ground to eat. Not good for them. We’ve tried laying bricks and then marble slabs (what luxury!) around this area but guess what? It gets covered with dirt again very soon.
The Nosloc feeder is still a very good feeder and the nozzles last forever (have not given us any issues up till now). We finally stopped using it when the bucket’s lid broke down after years of being in the weather. And the bucket itself looked like it would follow soon. Since we happened to have inherited 2 Isa Browns who also came with a bagful of mash, we decided to start looking at other alternatives instead of buying a good bucket and making a hole in it to attach the nozzle. Just felt like that was a waste, plus these 2 girls were rather slow to learn…
So we decided to check out some DIY plans. Stay tuned for part 2 of DIY chicken feeder to see the one that worked well for us.