5 Best Chicken Feeders: What To Know Before Buying

The cost of feeders can vary tremendously from $15-$150.00, so you should make sure you do your research and buy what you can afford.

Expensive does not mean it is the best to suit your needs.

This article will explain all the different styles of chicken feeders to give you an idea of what is available.

It will then review the five best feeders around so you can pick the best one for your flock…

Grandpa’s Feeders Automatic Chicken Feeder

Grandpa’s Feeders Automatic Chicken Feeder

A premium chicken feeder that is vermin proof and helps to reduce feed wastage. Solid and reliable construction with large feed capacity.

See Price on Amazon

The Best 5 Chicken Feeders

Editor’s Picks Brand Our Rating
The Best Feeder Grandpa’s Feeders Automatic Chicken Feeder 4.5
Runner Up Feeder RentACoop Bucket 4.4
Best Hanging Feeder Harris Farms 4.0
Best Budget Feeder Kaytee Gravity Bin 4.0
Best No Waste Royal Rooster Feeder 4.0

The Best Feeder: Grandpa’s Feeders Automatic Chicken Feeder

Grandpa’s Feeders Automatic Chicken Feeder

Grandpa’s Feeders Automatic Chicken Feeder

A premium chicken feeder that is vermin proof and helps to reduce feed wastage. Solid and reliable construction with large feed capacity.

See Price on Amazon

Grandpa’s Feeders Automatic Chicken Feeder is very well regarded and comes with a 24 month money back guarantee. This is an automatic feeder and can hold up to 20lb of feed. This large capacity means it can feed quite a few chickens before it will need to be refilled. The design has been used for 20 years so it is tried and tested. The automatic opening mechanism is simple and chicken operated which means no motors or wiring can break! Overall this is a very reliable and robust feeder which will last your flock for years to come.

Pros:

  • Very durable and will last for years.
  • Large feed capacity (20lb).
  • On demand automatic feeding.
  • Weatherproof and vermin resistant.
  • Reduces wasted feed.

Cons:

  • Not suitable for bantams.
  • You need to train your chickens how to use it.
  • The metal footplate can get hot in summer.

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Runner Up Feeder: RentACoop Bucket

RentACoop Bucket Feeder

RentACoop Bucket Feeder

This is a durable and sturdy feed which should last your flock many years. It has several eating stations so multiple chickens can eat at once.

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The RentACoop Chicken Feeder holds 20lb of feed and is 100% BPA-free. It is a manual feeder that was made to reduce feed waste, keep out vermin and keep the feed dry. This feeder is very simply designed, very sturdy and long lasting. Each feeder has two feeding points so multiple hens can eat at the same time. The bucket can contain 20lb of feed and will feed eight hens for one week.

Pros:

  • This feeder is weatherproof so can be used inside or outside.
  • Will reduce your wasted feed.
  • Very good customer service.
  • Includes setup video and details instructions.
  • Vermin free design.

Cons:

  • Plastic hangers break easily.
  • Roosters with large combs can struggle with using feeder.
  • Only compatible with pellets.

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Best Hanging Feeder: Harris Farms

Harris Farm Hanging Feeder

Harris Farm Hanging Feeder

If you need a hanging feeder this is the one to get. It is lightweight and made from stainless steel.

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The Harris Farms Hanging Poultry Feeder is a galvanized metal feeder that holds up to 15lb of feed. This is an affordable option for those who are looking for a simple yet sturdy feeder. It is well made and light so you can hang it up fairly easily. The edges are rolled which helps to prevent any injury. This is a solid and durable feeder which should last you for years to come.

Pros:

  • Very well priced.
  • 15lb capacity will keep six hens fed for around ten days.
  • Can be used as a hanging or standing unit.
  • Made using heavy duty steel.
  • Adjustable hopper height settings.

Cons:

  • Does not come with a lid.
  • Vermin can easily access the food.
  • Does not reduce feed wastage.

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Best Budget Feeder: Kaytee Gravity Bin

Kaytee Gravity Bin Feeder

Kaytee Gravity Bin Feeder

This is a great choice if you are on a tight budget. It is made from plastic and can be used either inside the coop or outside.

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The Kaytee Gravity Bin Feeder is our best budget pick. This affordable small plastic hopper holds around two pounds of feed. The entire product is made from plastic so it will be suitable to use during summer and winter. Remember that this feeder is designed to hang however it will not help to prevent billing out or wastage.

Pros:

  • Holds a good amount of feed.
  • Can also be used to hold grit and oyster shell.
  • Several colors to choose from.
  • Includes brackets to mount feeder.

Cons:

  • Instructions provided are not detailed.
  • Not chew proof (so can have issues with rodents).

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Best No Waste Feeder: Royal Rooster

Royal Rooster Poultry Feeder

Royal Rooster Poultry Feeder

The Royal Rooster was made specifically to help eliminate wasted feed. This is ideal if you use expensive organic feed and want to reduce wastage.

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The Royal Rooster Poultry Feeder is an innovative design that helps to eliminate wasted feed. It has a plastic lid guard which keeps the feed dry and lifts up when you need to re-fill the feeder. At the bottom of the feeder it has a cover which also helps to reduce waste. Each feeder is suitable for up to six hens. The Royal Rooster Poultry Feeder is ideal for people looking to reduce feed wastage.

Pros:

  • Helps reduce feed wastage.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Waterproof so can be used outside.
  • Keeps feed dry all year long.

Cons:

  • Fairly expensive.
  • One feeder suitable for six hens.

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What To Know Before Buying A Chicken Feeder

Chickens With Feeder

The first thing you need to decide is where you are going to put the feeder.

This will govern the size and type of feeder to buy.

For example if you have a small coop with four hens and space is going to be tight you could purchase a wall hung unit which will not take up too much room. However if you are going to leave it outside then you are going to need a feeder that is vermin proof and waterproof.

Secondly you need to consider your budget.

If money is tight you can not beat a plastic hanging feeder. They are cheap and last for years however they do need to be hung in a dry environment.

Next is durability.

You do not want to make a habit out of buying feeders so you want to make sure whatever you buy is durable.

Some cheaper and poorly constructed chicken feeders will not last very long. It is reasonable to expect them to last several years at least. In general plastic and metal should last a very long time with a little care.

Finally you need to consider the size of the feeder.

If you only have 4 hens buying a huge capacity feeder is a waste of money. Also feed left for too long will get moldy and is toxic for chickens to eat.

So you need to buy a feeder which is appropriate for your flock size. A good rule of thumb is 10lb capacity for every 6 chickens.

Types of Feeders

Automatic

The term automatic here means that the feeder works by chicken demand.

Basically anything that you fill (treadle, gravity, trough or hanging) can be considered an automatic feeder.

However when people say automatic they mostly mean a treadle feeder. This is operated by the chicken standing on a foot plate which opens the feed box for them to eat.

These are said to be fairly vermin proof because the food is kept in a sealed box.

This also helps to keep the feed fresh and dry.

Gravity

Gravity feeders are the cheapest and most readily available type that you will find in feed stores and online.

They are simple to use and are usually made from plastic or metal. It consists of an open container with a feed tray at the base. You refill these from the top so the oldest food gets eaten first.

They can be wall mounted or free standing.

Hanging

Hanging chicken feeders are usually the gravity type mentioned above.

When hanging it make sure you place it centrally so that several birds can access it at once.

They are very simple to set up and are best used inside the coop.

Trough

Chickens Eating

Trough feeders are perfect for chicks and Bantams.

They are typically used by chicks before they can reach the big girl feeders.

Do not use these feeders with large hens as they tend to kick it over while scratching and moving around. The big disadvantage of trough feeders is that the birds will perch on it and poop into their food (so it needs to be cleaned frequently).

Other Types

  • Many folks use large rubber feed bowls – they are hardy, easy to clean and last for years.
  • Pottery feeders are usually quite small so they are only useful if you have a few chickens (preferably bantams).
  • Finally mason jars can be used for chicks.These are good for chicks up to around six weeks old then they will need something larger.

How Many Feeders Do Your Chickens Need?

Metal Chicken Feeder

If only there was a simple answer to this.

Just like people chickens have unique personalities. You can find mean, bossy, greedy, shy and even docile chickens.

You will probably have a mean girl in your flock that will guard the feeders and waterers.

Your bully hen will think the feeders are hers and hers alone.

Fortunately most of the other hens will stand up to her or ignore her, but there will be one or two that are so intimidated by her that they won’t eat or drink while she is around.

This is why you should always have more than one feeder.

The ideal number is 8-10 birds per feeder, but Ms. Bossy pants will alter that dynamic (even if there are only a handful of birds).

I tend to put out the main feeder where everyone congregates and then I place two or three smaller feeders far enough away that they cannot be seen from the main feeder. That way the shy girls can eat in peace.

Everyone does it differently and there really is no hard and fast rule for where you put your feeders.

Just remember if you choose to have set feeding times this could be problematic for the more timid girls who may not get their full ration. You will need to closely monitor the situation and if there are one or two birds dominating the feeder, they need to be placed in time out so the others can feed freely.

Common Problems With Chicken Feeders

Chicken Feeder

There are several common problems which people run into with chicken feeders.

The first is vermin.

They are crafty, tenacious and smart and will break into most feeders quite easily. This is bad because they will steal the food and poop in the remaining food. If you live in an area known for having lots of vermin then make sure your feeder is vermin proof.

The second problem people have is mold. This happens because people use large capacity feeders for a small flock – this is not a good idea.

Feed that gets stale can cause respiratory issues for your girls.

Make sure to use a suitably sized feeder (10lb capacity for 6 chickens) and clean it often. They should be cleaned out at least monthly to remove old feed and the inevitable layer of dust in the feeder base.

Finally you should be aware of breakage.

Several folks have had problems with plastic handles breaking and dropping the feeder onto the floor. Try to use a sturdy metal hanger that can hold the feeder whilst fully loaded.

Remember not to use plastic in areas that get very cold during the winter months – it will become brittle and break.

Also if you are using a metal one outside place it under some sort of cover to prevent rust. All these tips will help prevent your feeder from breaking.

Summary

Grandpa’s Feeders Automatic Chicken Feeder

Grandpa’s Feeders Automatic Chicken Feeder

A premium chicken feeder that is vermin proof and helps to reduce feed wastage. Solid and reliable construction with large feed capacity.

See Price on Amazon

Before you buy always check the reviews to find any common problems.

Also be cautious if anyone claims the feeder completely eliminates waste – we have yet to find a feeder that totally eliminates waste.

Take your time and do your research.

Which type of chicken feeder are you going to buy? Let us know in the comment section below…

Our readers support us. This means when you buy via certain links on our website we can earn a small referral commission (learn more here).

Chris Lesley Bio Picture
Chris Lesley has been Raising Chickens for over 20 years and is a fourth generation chicken keeper. She can remember being a young child when her grandad first taught her how to hold and care for chickens. She also holds a certificate in Animal Behavior and Welfare and are interested in backyard chicken health and care. Her work has been shared on HuffPost, Mother Nature Network, Community Chickens, Mother Earth News and many more outlets. Today Chris keeps 11 chickens including 4 Buff Orpingtons, 4 Rhode Island Reds and 3 Silkies. She is our backyard chicken expert at Chickens And More, and shares her knowledge on raising healthy, happy chickens with our readers. You can contact Chris at chris@chickensandmore.com

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