This is no means an exact science. You can create your 5-gallon chicken feeder for less than $5.
Step 1: Obtain Items and Hardware
- 5-gallon bucket with lid
- 1 Gallon Utility Pan – the one I used was a 1-gallon utility pan from Tractor Supply.
- 1 bolt/nut/washer – I used a ¼ inch (any size you prefer – this is optional). ¼” drill bit for drilling the bolt hole (depending on the size of your bolt – this is optional).
- Screw driver (this is optional – only if you decide to use a bolt
- 1” drill bit for holes
- Marker – to mark where to put the holes
- Safety glasses
- Gloves (optional)
Step 2: Drill a hole in the bottom of the bucket and metal pan
Step 3: Mark where you want to drill the holes
Put the 5-gallon bucket inside the metal pan lid side up and use the marker to indicate where you would like to drill the holes. The holes are to be drilled near the bottom of the bucket. I marked the holes right at the top of the metal pan. I just eyeballed where I wanted them and tried to space them out evenly. This is not an exact science and does not have to be perfect.
Step 4: Drill the holes
Use the 1” drill bit and drill to drill the holes where you indicated. You can use any size you wish. I chose 1” – but, you can definitely use a bigger bit if you’d like.
Just work your way around the bucket until you have all the holes drilled.
Make sure to clean the plastic shavings from the bucket. You don’t want your chicken accidentally eating the plastic shavings.
Step 5: Attach the metal pan to the 5-gallon bucket
Use the bolt, nut and washer to attach the base. Make sure to come in from the bottom of the pan so that the bucket will sit flat. Use the screw driver to tighten the screw. Again, this is an optional step – but, I wanted to attach the two pieces together. I, unfortunately, don’t have a clear shot of this part but, if you look at the center hole you can see that I have attached the metal pan to the 5-gallon bucket in this shot.
Step 6: Fill with Feed
Now just fill with the feed of your choice.
Step 7: Give to your chickens
Make sure the lid is on and give to your chickens to enjoy. I will be putting this inside their coop with a board on top. This way they can still roost on top of it and not have any droppings fall into the feed.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Crystal Panek is now a stay-at-home mom (aka, a domestic goddess). She spends her time taking care of her family, home, dogs and chickens. She is a self-proclaimed jack-of-all-trades and loves to spend her time working with her hands and being creative with “junkyard” finds – refurbishing them and bringing them back to life.
I’ve found that hanging a feeder such as this about 3 inches off the ground keeps the hens from scratching feed out on the ground and keeps them from roosting on top of the bucket also
Greg Clifton says
I don’t have chickens (not yet allowed in my city) but I like the concept and I think adding a large inverted funnel to flow the feed is a good idea. I also agree that it is wiser to use a food grade bucket. You can get used food grade buckets galore, that cake icing comes in, from the bakery department of you local grocery store [Kroger] or Sam’s Club or WalMart (if they have a bakery) for free. Also great for storing honey if you happen to be a [successful] bee keeper.
It is always great to see what others are doing. I have around 30 hens and I think I may give it a try the comercial feeders I have dont hold enough feed. Thanks for sharing!
I would add a funnel inside upside down to help flow the feed.
Just a thought. ..
We made a pail feeder like this to feed birds and a funnel inside. Works well with sunflower seeds. It hangs from my clothesline , a Canadian pulley line well up in the air.
April Miles says
I tried this and it doesnt work that well, the feed doesnt flow, so what we did was get a long PVC pipe
(depending on what your height preference is) and put an elbow on it and cut a cap halfway to stop feed from falling out, then we fill it up with feed and put a cap on the top and it will self feed the chickens for a week, more or less depending on the number of chickens. It is rain proof and they dont waste very much.
Ken McRae says
I am concerned about all of the neat cheap things that we build for the chickens. We seem to use things that may not be use that are “food grade” items. I would not like to eat out some were where they get a bucket at Home Depot and have food soaking in it. I either use stainless steel, or food grade plastics that are BPA free (BPA is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins). I just search the internet (usually places that sell to restaurants. I pay more but I know that bad stuff that can leach out of into the food/water the chickens consume, then I consume will not happen.
Have you ever let chickens outside of their pens to forage? They eat bugs, grass, weed seeds, and all kinds of dirty things. I don’t think a Home Depot bucket would hurt them any more than that stuff and is cheaper than what you are checking out. My money isn’t easy to come up with. I work hard for it so being frugal with it is a good idea.
Grass, weeds, bugs, etc are not made of synthetic materials. These are things that the ancestors of chickens, and other birds, evolved to eat. And humans evolved eating a lot of birds, so no problem – UNLESS the land, plants, and insects have been sprayed with synthetic chemicals.
Most people are unaware that virtually every type of plastic releases chemicals that are foreign to our bodies, either by outgassing or by contact – synthetic chemicals that neither birds nor mammals evolved with. This means that we can assume that our bodies have not developed was to handle these synthetic chemicals. Many are actually proven to cause problems- from cancer to endocrine disruption.
*This includes so-called ‘food grade’ plastics, and ‘BPS-free plastics.* The substitutes for BPA are possibly even worse – and there are many, many other chemicals of concern in plastics. (Not to mention the horrific environmental damage caused by the manufacture and disposal of plastics.)
NONE of these synthetic chemicals have been checked for their effects in combination with each other.
For more information, enter ‘plastic’ in the search feature of the Mercola website. (No affiliation.)
Absolutely, Franklin!!! You are correct.
The food doesn’t “soak” in the bucket. If the chickens are fed correctly there won’t be any left in the bucket at the end of the day.
Unless you are willing to buy only Organic non-GMO chicken feed, you don’t need to worry about inert containers for your chickens.
Terry Thomas says
Lowe’s has 5 gallon food grade white plastic buckets for about $4. Food grade lids are extra.
Atlanta, Georgia USA
Forgot a 10″ funnel works just right it works like the feeders you buy and with it bolted to pan you can hang it the feeder that is
One thing that would make this better is to put a funnel in bucket upside down and tape or plug hole this will keep feed going out with out that bunch sitting in bottom of bucket already made one and waterer great minds think alike ha ha
If I only have 5 chickens, won’t I be OVER FEEDING them, ????
Seems like a lot of wasted feed.
Steve Brown says
When I over feed my chickens by throwing it on the ground they just leave it. So I backed off on the feed since once it getts wett they tend not to like it. SO I gueess what I’m getting at is I don’t think you can really over feed them. They eat what they want of that and then go sracth around somewhere elses or take a dust bath. If you keep it somewhere it won’t get rained on you will be fine. Hungry chickens lay less eggs.
Actually, it is very easy to overfeed chickens. Hens that become fat will not lay as many eggs, and may be more prone to becoming egg-bound (unable to pass the egg – a life-threatening condition).
I only have 6 chickens and they don’t eat out of it if they don’t want it. I haven’t had any issues with overfeeding. Good luck with your chickens. I love mine very much. 🙂
Great idea..Way to go Crystal.
Dianna Brendle says
That’s a great idea, I love home made things using recycled stuff. I wouldn’t leave the metal handles on the buckets though, even though you may be able to carry them with the handles. I’ve worked around a lot of animals and they get caught in all kinds of things. And it’s usually when you aren’t there to rescue them.
Hi Dianna – actually the handles were left on so they could be hung. But, even leaving them on – the handles are to the back of the bucket – against the wall. I haven’t had any issues with the handles catching one. I love how easy the 5 gallon buckets work. I just fill and done. I was filling their water every day – but, now with the 5-gallon bucket – I only have to fill once a week. I only have 6 chickens.
Many kinds of animals can gea3t hung up in things like bucket handles, but poultry does not tend to. In generations of small-scale and small farm scale poultry raising, our family has NEVER seen poultry get hung up in a bucket handle.
Goats, sheep, calves, pigs, foals… yes. Poultry. Never. Not to say it could not happen, but the risk is vanishingly low.
Viki Steiner says
This type of feeder works great. I have used one that I made like this out of a 5 gallon bucket and an inexpensive feed dish from the feed store. It holds way more feed, but then I have 40 chickens.