Providing the right food for your chickens to grow strong and healthy is challenging, especially if you don’t have the means to purchase your own automatic chicken feeders. Nonetheless, there are other ways through which you can limit the amount of time you spend on these chores, and our recent article intends to teach you more about them.
If you just started your small business or don’t have the necessary time to look after your chickens day and night, treadle chicken feeders can be a bliss. However, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on these devices as you can build them on your own. The process is quite simple and below you’ll find step-by-step instructions on how to do it.
Get the blueprints
If you’re good with maths and architecture, you can design your own products according to the needs of your farm. And, if you’re not, there are always plenty of online solutions available just a click of a button away. Check online and find useful tutorials or the actual plans of a treadle chicken feeder so you’ll know where to start.
Get the tools and the materials you’ll need
Once the prints are ready and you decided on the exact dimension of your little DIY project, it’s time you searched for all necessary materials and tools you’ll be using in the process. Our suggestion is to opt for plywood as it is already cut and ready to be used as opposed to raw wood that you’ll still have to sand and remove all splinters from.
Apart from that, you’re going to need other tools like a circular saw, a jigsaw or a table saw. Drill bits and a drill are necessary, as well as clams, screwdrivers, a pneumatic nail gun, a tape measure, and a hammer. Don’t forget your eyewear protection and working clothes that you won’t mind getting dirty and dusty.
If you don’t own a pneumatic nail gun or don’t find its use in your household apart from this DIY project, screws work just as well. The bottom line is that any electric tool can be easily replaced with a hand tool for your chicken feeder, as long as you don’t mind spending more time and building up some muscles.
The process is quite complicated, so you may want to watch step-by-step tutorials on how to turn a plain piece of plywood into a treadle feeder.
If you can’t trust yourself with such hard work, you can always look for blueprints of feeders that are easier to build. An affordable item can be made out of leftovers from your coop construction for the siding and the frame, while the flap, trim, and treadle can be made of regular cedar fence board.
And, if you’re worried about your hens not being heavy enough to activate the treadle on their own, you can always place a 2 ½ pound can of oil additionally on the ramp or any other weight that will help your hens activate the feeder without your help.
However, wood isn’t the only material that can be used to create a treadle feeder for your birds. In fact, if you’re creative enough or on a budget, any container, old bucket or bin can be easily transformed into a chicken feeder with the right tools. Here is how to do it.
Pick your material of choice and first measure the access points or the feed holes. Use a paper square template that measures approximately 6×6 inches and place it on the container exactly where you want your holes. It should also be about 6 inches up from the base of your container.
Studies have shown that if the holes are placed higher than that, your hens will have a hard time reaching the bottom of the container and food will be wasted. Small containers should feature two access points, while large ones should come with at least 3-4, depending on their size and how many hens you plan on feeding at once.
Secondly, use a cutting tool or a box cutter to cut out the feed holes. You may even drill some starter holes that can ease the cutting process and make you finish your project faster. Once the holes are made, make sure to remove any sharp edges that might harm your birds.
Use a comfort rail made of an irrigation hose and cut it lengthwise, then push it firmly over the bottom of the feed holes. This will offer a smooth and round area for your hens to slide their necks over and will ensure they won’t get hurt in the process.
The last step of this easy feeder is to find a lid that matches your container to cover it and preserve the freshness of the food for longer. This is the simplest method to make a chicken feeder but cannot really be improved or turned into a treadle-operated product.
Teaching your birds how to use the feeder
No matter the type of chicken feeder you build, you shouldn’t expect your hens to get used to it right away. Allow them some time to adjust to the new containers and figure out how to use them on their own. If they cannot seem to break down the mystery of the treadle, you should show them how to do it.
You can either activate the treadle on your own or place one of the hens on it and show it how it works. The trick is that you have to be patient, especially if the system is a bit more complicated. In this case, perhaps regular feeders or gravity ones might work better.
At the end of the day, bear in mind that chickens don’t care about hi-tech systems or the look of the feeder. It doesn’t have to look pretty in order to do its job. After all, its only job is to feed your birds so that you won’t have to do it yourself.