Updating The Coop: Large Built-In Feeder and 5 Gallon Water Buckets


One of the largest costs in raising chickens is feed.  Yes, our girls free range but the reality is that they still eat a good amount of purchased feed.  In our coop just about half of the flocks daily feed is pushed out of the feeders and onto the ground where it lays untouched.  We have struggled to find a feed (pellet, crumble, etc.) or feeder that reduces waste enough to satisfy us.  

And so my husband built one.

We've been looking online at ideas for feeders that reduce waste and liked the idea of a built-in style that uses PVC elbows.  Our hope was that instead of every two weeks shoveling feed out of the indoor coop into the outdoor coop to try and entice them to eat it, we would reduce that amount to half or less.

I am happy to report that we have been using this new feeder for just over a month and have had no waste.  Zero.  Nada.  Isn't that fantastic???  And an extra bonus is that we only have to fill the feeder every 2 1/2 weeks or more!

Here's the details:
  • the wood used was OSB only because that's what we had lying around and we wanted to use what we already had.

  • 2-inch 45 degree PVC elbows for the actual feeding tubes and distanced apart to give the chickens plenty of room when eating

  • a hinged top and hinged front section that both open so bags of feed can be dumped right into the feeder (it holds 2 full bags).

  • a fold-out table for setting the feed bags on
  • vent holes (lined with wire mesh) so the feed won't get moldy in our hot and humid summer (we will only fill it partially during the summer months)
This style feeder could certainly be made even larger but we opted not to because of our eventual smaller flock size.

Also, Jay turned 5-gallon buckets into waterers.  These are everywhere on the internet and I want to tell you that yes, they really do work!  The nicest thing is that ours (we have 3) only have to be cleaned and filled every 4-5 days.  It will be GREAT in winter!

The girls tap-tap-tap away at the horizontal nipples to release water.  Originally we switched out their outdoor waterers but have now replaced their indoor waterer too.


  1. What a great idea about the feeder and water container. I'm about to get rid of my last two chickens as they are no longer laying eggs, the kids aren't interested in them anymore and I have a temporary type of fence around it so mowing is difficult. We've had chickens for 9 of the last 11 years and while I love the fresh eggs I can get free range eggs with my fruit and veg delivery. I'm sure in the future I'll have them at some stage however I just want to get my tiny backyard neat and tidy again and if I'm not getting eggs there's no point. They will be retired to a farm via the lady who I buy them from. Have a good week.

  2. What a great system! I'd really like to try a waterer like that, as our system doesn't work that well. Great job, J!

  3. Well today you've answered two questions...how did you know?

    First, the feeder is so clever! And to hold two bags...that's terrific. I've wondered about something like that, but worried they might not put their their little heads into the holes to eat. And making the waterers...genius! They're expensive to buy, but it would be so nice to keep the water clean and easy to fill. I can't tell you how many times I've slipped in the snow/ice carrying filled waterers from the kitchen to the coop, spilled them all, only to do it again! Was it hard for them to discover how to get the water out?

    You are moving right along with projects before the snow flies...I'd better get moving, too, or I'll run out of time. The days are not long enough. Thanks for the inspiration! Mary

  4. Kathy - that's great that you can get fresh eggs with your delivery! How handy!!

    Thanks Daisy. The buckets were easy and they work great!

    Mary - I wondered the same thing about whether or not they would actually go into the pvc pipe to get their food but they did so immediately!

    The winter water refill is exactly the same issue here so I am incredibly grateful to have these going into this winter. They were easy to make and they work great!

    The pieces that the water nipple is in are red and since chickens are attracted to red they went right to them. It's so funny that they just started pecking away and were pleasantly surprised to get water in exchange for their pecking!

    Have a wonderful week everyone!!

  5. Your feeder system is really smart. I've heard of PVC pipe feeders on the internet but have been scared to try them out. We raise 20 layers and 50 meat chickens a year so we will definitely try this out.

    1. Anonymous - thank you! It has worked AMAZINGLY for us. I, also, was a bit skeptical about using the PVC but it works, and the girls don't seem to mind it at all. I hope you find a system that works for you!


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