Automatic chicken feeders sound wonderful.
They can certainly make life a bit easier with the day to day chores of feeding and watering your flock and will save you a little time here and there.
There are a few different types available so today we are going to look through the 5 most popular automatic chicken feeders and see which one is best for your flock.
This article will show you the different types of feeders available and teach you what to look for when buying your own feeder.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know…
Contents and Quick Navigation
- The Best 5 Automatic Chicken Feeders
- Why Should You Buy An Automatic Chicken Feeder
- What To Know Before Buying An Automatic Chicken Feeder
- How Do Automatic Feeders Work?
- Common Problems With Chicken Feeders
- Frequently Asked Questions
The Best 5 Automatic Chicken Feeders
|Editor’s Picks||Brand||Our Rating|
|Best Automatic||Grandpa’s Feeders Automatic Chicken Feeder||4.5|
|Best Treadle||RentACoop’s Treadle Feeder||4.4|
|Best Bucket||RentACoop’s Grain in Bucket||4.0|
|Runner Up||Royal Rooster Chicken Poultry Feeder||3.5|
|Most Affordable||Kebonnixs’ Automatic Chicken Port Feeder||4.0|
Best Automatic: Grandpa’s Feeders Automatic Chicken Feeder
Welcome to the original Grandpa’s Feeders Automatic Chicken Feeder. While this feeder is expensive, it is one of the most durable on the market. It can hold up to 20lb of feed which means it will last 6 chickens for around 13 days. This feeder can also be used outside which makes it ideal for those with smaller coops with limited floor space.
- Galvanized steel construction.
- Weatherproof and can be used outside.
- Made in the USA.
- Comes with a free 2 year guarantee.
- Only 3-4 chickens can feed at once.
- Some chickens are scared by the lid closure noise.
- This will reduce waste but not completely eliminate it.
Best Treadle: RentACoop’s Treadle Feeder
RentACoop’s Treadle Feeder is a reasonable buy for the price. This large treadle feeder has a 40lb capacity so it will last a flock of 12 chickens for several weeks. The treadle is adjustable for both bantam weight and regular weight chickens. As a nice extra this feeder also has a lock on the hopper to stop larger pests accessing the feed.
- This treadle chicken feeder has a large capacity (40lb).
- It is competitively priced.
- Feeder is 100% waterproof.
- Has separate lockable feed compartments.
- The lid can sometimes stick.
- Can be difficult for some to assemble.
- Some feeders have come with sharp metal edges.
Best Bucket: RentACoop’s Grain in Bucket
RentACoop’s Grain in Bucket is a gravity based bucket feeder. All you need to do is fill the hopper and let gravity automatically refill the eating stations. It comes with a no roost lid and a plastic carry handle which makes moving it around easier. The feeder is suitable for ducks, however bantams can have a hard time reaching up to access the feed.
- A large 20lb hopper.
- This feeder is weatherproof and can be used outside.
- Comes with video instructions.
- Feeder works well for most flocks.
- Lid was loose sometimes.
- Some of the plastic can crack during extreme heat.
- It is not rodent and squirrel proof.
- Cannot be used by chicks or bantams.
Runner Up: Royal Rooster Chicken Poultry Feeder
The Royal Rooster Chicken Poultry Feeder has a completely unique vertical design. While the feeder is well-made it is only suitable for a flock of six chickens because it has a smaller capacity (6.5lb). This is also a gravity style automatic feeder. Given the small amount of feed it holds, it is fairly expensive so should only be considered when space is tight.
- Well-made solid plastic feeder.
- Helps to reduce any spillage.
- Can be used indoors and outdoors.
- Fairly expensive given its small size.
- Small capacity and only holds 6.5lb of feed.
Most Affordable: Kebonnixs’ Automatic Chicken Port Feeder
Kebonnixs’ Automatic Chicken Port Feeder comes as part of a combo set and also includes a waterer. The feeder has a 10lb capacity so is suitable for a flock of 6 hens for around 6 days. It also has a translucent side, so you do not have to take the lid off to see how much feed is left. This feeder also comes with hardware so it can be attached to a fence or wall if you desire.
- Overall this combo is a good deal for the price.
- Waterer has an auto fill feature.
- Translucent plastic so you can easily check how much feed is left.
- Not suitable for chicks and bantams.
- Feeder is waterproof but not pest proof.
Why Should You Buy An Automatic Chicken Feeder
Filling feed containers every day can become bothersome.
An automatic feeder will remove this daily chore. Depending on the number of chickens you have a large feeder can last for several days.
This also makes going away for the weekend easier. You can go away and know they have enough food for a few days. If you also have an automatic coop door your flock is set for a long weekend.
The next benefit of an automatic chicken feeder is that it helps reduce spillage.
This can be a big issue for some folks.
Certain breeds (like bantams) love to spill out feed all over the place. This is wasteful and can be very expensive. An auto feeder will reduce waste and save you money.
It will also help to reduce theft.
Rodents like rats and squirrels will try to steal feed that is kept in open feeders. A sealed automatic feeder will help reduce pilfering.
Lastly it will help with your time management. If you are running a homestead or small farm with multiple animals to feed then using automatic feeders that will feed the flock without you having to intervene frequently is a godsend.
What To Know Before Buying An Automatic Chicken Feeder
The main thing to keep in mind when you are thinking about getting a feeder is how many chickens do you have in your flock? And how much capacity does the feeder have?
These two questions should determine the size and number of feeders that you will need.
If you have a small flock (four hens) you do not need a feeder with a 40lb capacity. In fact, filling a large feeder for a small flock can lead to things like stale and moldy food which can make them sick.
Whereas if you have a large flock you should average about ten chickens per feeder and place them apart from each other to prevent guarding by bully hens.
Do you have poultry other than chickens? Do you have bantam chickens?
These questions can eliminate a few more feeders from your research right away. Not all feeders will accommodate ducks, turkeys or geese and some are too difficult for bantams to use easily. If you do have bantams look for a feeder that has a lip to prevent them from dumping feed on the ground. With larger fowl (like ducks, turkeys or geese) finding a feeder that can feed all can be tough. Feeders for geese are particularly difficult to find.
You will also need to think about where you are going to keep the feeder.
Inside, outside or both?
You will find feeders that can do both but they are usually a bit more expensive. If you only intend to use the feeder inside then you save money a bit of money and buy an indoor only feeder.
There are only a few outside feeders that perform very well.
I have a flock of forty birds and if they want feed they have to march back to the coop – it is good exercise for them!
Lastly you will need to think about rodents.
There are feeders that can reduce the opportunities for freeloaders, but I have yet to find one truly pest proof. Squirrels are particularly destructive. They will gnaw through plastic and wood, so metal is the best choice if you are overrun with these little pests.
How Do Automatic Feeders Work?
With auto chicken feeders you fill the feeder by hand.
Then, in most cases the feed is stored in a hopper and is available to the chickens via a gravity chute.
The basic idea is that you fill the hopper to capacity and the birds will take what they need when they need it. This means you do not need to fill the feeder each day.
Once you let the flock out in the morning, they can feed anytime they want to and you do not have to worry about them running out of food.
Some of the more expensive feeders work using a treadle.
The treadle mechanism uses the chickens’ weight to open the feeder lid when they stand on the opener plate. The idea behind these is that the feed remains covered and is not damaged by the weather. Your chickens can only access the feed whilst they are stood on the treadle (open button).
Common Problems With Chicken Feeders
The most common problem with feeders is that they are not suitable for your particular flock.
If you have bantams or raise small chicks then many of these feeders are not going to be useful to you. Make sure you check the feeder specs carefully and check that it is suitable for your chickens.
Next, you need to pay careful attention to the feeder lid.
Some of the feeders have lids that are poorly designed or do not latch. Also sometimes there is no cover provided as they are sold separately. My recommendation would be for some home innovation – you can use an aluminium pie plate for most simple hanging feeders.
You should also check to see if the feeder has handles. Some of these feeders do not have handles and can be hard to pick up and move.
Another common issue with some feeders is poor workmanship and missing parts.
With metal feeders in particular you should check for rough edges and bent pins. Also lots of people do not realize that galvanized metal will rust. This is not a fault in construction, it is a natural process. The rusting will occur quicker when the feeder is left outside, so keep this in mind.
As with many things the major complaint was that the product did not live up to the manufacturer’s claims. Generally with auto feeders, spillage will be significantly reduced but not completely.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many automatic chicken feeders do I need?
To figure this out you will need to do a bit of math.
This will depend on a couple of things – the size of your flock and the capacity of your feeder. Each standard sized chicken will eat roughly ¼lb feed each day. So this works out to around 1.5lb of feed a week.
A 20lb feeder will feed 6 chickens for around 13 days.
Can bantams use an automatic chicken feeder?
This will depend on the type of automatic feeder you buy.
Bantams can use the ones with a gravity chute, however they cannot use the treadle type as they are not heavy enough to open the flap.
How do I train my chickens to use an automatic feeder?
Your chickens will not need any help using the large standalone hoppers.
Treadle feeders however will require some extensive training.
Instructions should come with the feeder and via online tutorials at YouTube (we have included a video above).
Will my chickens overeat using an automatic chicken feeder?
Most chickens will only take what they need. However some breeds (such as Orpingtons) are prone to overeating, so make sure you monitor them for the first few months.
In these days of online shopping it is really important to pay attention to the details of a product.
You need to read the details of a product before you buy.
Remember, you are really shopping for your chickens. They do not care about color, design or anything else except that it will produce food. With that in mind, buy what is best for you and them, do not be lured in by bells and whistles or optimistic advertising.
Also remember that spending a lot of money on an item is not an indicator of how well it performs.
We have shared with you here five different automatic feeders.
Hopefully one of them is suitable to your budget and flock.
Let us know in the comments section below…
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