8.08.2016

Make your own PVC Chicken Feeder

My previous post explains how we were going on vacation for a few weeks and I wanted to make sure our neighbors didn't have to stress too much about helping with the chickens.  I wanted them to mostly gather eggs and check their food level for us.

There were many chicken feeders online and I took a few tips and built my own.

Below are the ONLY supplies you need (along with a way to cut PVC and screw straps onto wall):
-3" PVC cap
-Hanger strapping +4 screws for attaching to coop

I'll start off by saying it's important to have your feeder high enough for the chickens to reach their heads in but not be able to push food out with their beaks.

That being said you may be wondering what the 3 smaller sections of PVC pipe are in the picture.  They're important because they allow me to change the height of my feeder very easily for when I have pullets again (I'll call them spacers)... remember you want your feeder high enough that the chickens can't push food onto the floor (because they will and it's very wasteful)!

 What's great about this system is I didn't glue ANYTHING.  My feeder is inside my coop so I don't need to worry about water getting into my joints.  I like that I can change things down the road if I ever need to.  I put my knockout cap in from the bottom...

 ...then put my tallest PVC spacer in after that.  The spacer also holds the cap in place.

 The spacer sits on the edge of my coop and pressure keeps everything together.

 I used strapping to tie the bottom and top securely.  The top cap lid comes off easily for re-filling.

I fill this white bin up completely to the top and it will fill the entire pipe with food.  It lasts about 3-4 days (for 7 chickens) even when we substitute with a large amount of scraps from the kitchen.  I heard chickens are pigs and I believe it!  When we didn't have this feeding system we would go through about half the amount of food we are now (I think we'll resort to using this feeder only when we're on vacation or camping for a few days).

 The pipe is tall enough that I can't see inside (or rather I don't want to try and get spider webs in my hair).  I made a larger scoop from a 1-gallon milk jug and it works wonderful - it bends so the sides are closer together and I get less spilling.

 (This girl wasn't happy with all the drilling noise I was making - sorry little lady!)

 See the food on the ground?...  That was before I put the tallest spacer on.

Click here to go to my original coop build and see links at the bottom of the page for all the other chicken related projects we've done.

Our chickens are pretty easy to take care of now that we have everything built and in place (cross your fingers there won't be anymore expenses) - eek!

DIY Easy & Inexpensive Chicken Run


This post will give you an idea of how to build a large chicken run in less than a day for around $150.  One thing I really like is all the pieces can be taken apart and put up again in less than an hour and stored flat.

The run was designed to be a temporary* arrangement for when we go on vacations so the chickens can come and go from their coop as they please and still be protected from predators at night.  Because it is temporary, we used zip-ties to attach the sections together.  We wanted to ensure our chickens safety and used wire on the bottom as well to keep animals from digging under.

*we actually realized how nice it is for the chickens to come out in the morning by themselves and not have to rush out so early to let them out so we've kept the run up!  If you want yours more permanent you may choose to screw your framing together rather than zip-tie.

 I built this frantically the day before we were to leave on a 2-week vacation and was rushing and didn't take pictures of the building process.  Lucky for you it's pretty easy!  You're basically framing a box out of individual sides and stapling on wire cloth.

I was using 8'-long lumber and 3'-wide hardware cloth and I wanted to maximize the use of each and built my run 8'-long x 6'-wide (2 rows of hardware clothe) and 3'-tall (the height of my hardware clothe).  When planing measurements, the most important thing to make sure is you factor in that you'll need at least an inch of hardware cloth over each board for stapling.

Supplies I used:
-2x6" treated lumber (cut into 2x2 strips)
-3'x50' welded wire (for bottom - we doubled it up)*
-galvanized staples (staple gun staples pull out easy)
-Scrap metal roofing for the top
-3" screws for framing
-Hinges + door lock
-Long zip-ties

Tools I used:
-Miter saw
-Metal grinder
-Hammer
-Drill + bits

*you may opt out of making a bottom if you have a foundation that animals can't dig under or you might have enough hardware cloth from the top/sides to use.

I cut lumber into strips for framing (cheaper than buying a bunch of 2x2's).  I probably used 5 or 6 2x6's to get enough strips I needed.  I also had a 2x4 I used for where the run would hug the sides of my chicken coop and I could screw the run to the coop.

Screw your bottom and side framework together and roll hardware cloth over and staple down.  This is where a metal grinder comes in handy to trim the cloth from the roll. 

The bottom and sides complete and tied together.  Our yard is on a slope so the whole run is on a slope too.

 You can see the black welded wire we doubled up to ensure no little creatures would squeeze through.

 We left the welded wire on the bottom extend past the run to really deter predators from digging.  We have too much invested in these birds - can you tell!?

 The only point the run attaches to the coop is from 2 screws on each side that are going through 2x4's I added into the framing of the run.

 My son helped me put down a layer of pine straw and leaves from the forest.

Here the top is complete.  My son stayed inside the run while we attached the top so he could help push the zip-ties back through to me.

 I was sneaky and got a picture of him crawling through the chicken coop to get out - hehe!


 Realizing we might need to get inside the run to gather mis-layed (I made up that word) eggs or unclog the chicken watering cups I decided to take an extra hour and make a hatch door on the top.  I wasn't thinking very well in my mad rush to get it done and should have put it on one of the side so it was easier to get into - oh well.

Here's our little hatch door complete.

 Yay for safe chickens!


8.05.2016

DIY Wooden Storage Bin - Animal Feed

We had a problem with mice eating holes in our chicken/duck feed bags and I didn't want to fork out a bunch of money for metal canisters or plastic containers to store.  I also had a lot of other small odds & ends for the chickens that I wanted to keep in a pull-out drawer.  I realize mice can chew through wood but I was taking the chance - so far so good! :)

Here's what I ended up with:


This isn't going to be a heavily detailed tutorial with material lists and dimensions as I'm sure most will want to customize to the size of their needs.

First off I should say that my husband wasn't excited I was building ONE more thing for the chickens.  I decided this was a necessary build and used what we had laying around to avoid costs.  It's times like this that I'm glad I save things like drawer slides from dressers I see at the dumpster, hinges from an old deck gate we replaced, and wood scraps.

 I grabbed what I had on hand:
-Dog Ear Picket Fencing
-2x2 furring strips
-1x3 furring strip
-1x4 furring strips
-1/2" particle board (free from Craigslist)
-plywood from pallet (free from Craigslist)
-hardware, drawer slides, screws, nails, etc


 Because my pickets were 6' I wanted to maximize their use because I had limited materials and wanted a bin large enough for several feed bags.  I had 10 pickets and cut each one 4' long for the front/backs and the leftover 2' piece was for the sides.

I cut 4 2x2's the height of 5 pickets tall and used them to nail the side pieces to them.

 I added larger nails for durability (I was also running low on screws).

 I nailed one picket in place to keep the sides together...

 ...then clamped the remaining on to nail in place.

 For the front it was easiest to nail the first board on like this so the sides weren't falling over while I was turning it (I'm a one-girl-show).

 I clamped the remaining boards for the front just like I did for the back and nailed in place, BUT...

 ...I left the bottom board loose because it will be my drawer front.

 I built a shelf on the inside just above where the drawer will be (ending at the 4th picket).

I attached 1x4's around the top edge of the bin and down the centers to add strength and used 1/2" particle board for the shelf.

 Next was the frame for the drawer.

 I sandwiched the drawer slides in-between the drawer frame and particle board because the particle board wasn't very sound and I didn't want screws pulling out of the drawer slides over time.

 I believe this is the first time I've used this drawer slide jig.  It made it so easy!

 Next was attaching the drawer front and knobs.  I also attached the caster wheels before flipping over.

I was SO glad I had a pallet with plywood that ended up being just the right size to cut out a top for my bin and not have to pull out many screws.  Pulling screws out of pallets is the worst!

 I used furring strips over the lid for extra strength.  I attached some old strap hinges I had in my stash.


I also nailed wood around the inside of the lid to keep pesky little creatures from getting in - there's a very small clearance when the bin is shut.

I also made a little kick-stand for the lid so my kids can get in the bin easily without needing to hold the lid up.