Technically, you are the chicken feeder if you have chickens. We went through a few different feeders along the way. We finally settled on the ones that work best for our hens. You will probably have a couple of chicken feeders also. Start with the young chickens and swap as they get older or as you add more chickens to your flock.
Your First Chicken Feeder
Depending on when you get your chickens, your first feeder will probably be in the brooder. Small chicks have small mouths and can reach small heights. Small chicks are good with crumbles in a trough type feeder, like this affordable chicken feeder .The thing to watch with birds and food on the ground is they will definitely poop in the food. We liked the slide open top that helped keep some of the poop out of the food and made cleaning easy since it was plastic. Durability may not be as good with the plastic, but you don’t get the sharp metal edges.
Plastic vs Metal Feeders
We started off with plastic feeders and they were fine for a bit. As our chickens grew, we found that they were not as durable as the metal feeders. We switched to the bucket style metal chicken feeder once the plastic one broke. We figured it was from being in the southern California sun for 6 months. We liked the metal bucket feeder with the lid cover that you can hang. We were able to get the feeder off the ground. This means less poop and less dirt in the feed. The cover also keeps water out of the feed when it rains.
Tray vs. Bucket
We tried a couple of the trough/tray style feeders as the chickens grew, but we found that they just kept knocking them over. We put them up on cinder blocks to keep them off the ground, but the chickens would just get up on the blocks or push them off the block. For young birds, we liked the trough, but full grown hens did better with the buckets. They hold more so you fill them less often. They are also heavier, so much less likely to get tipped over.
Build Your Own
There is no need to buy a feeder, you can easily build one with a plastic bucket and some plumbing fittings. We tried this also and found it to be longer lasting plastic than the plastic bucket feeder we used. You can also build your own chicken feeder from PVC pipes that work pretty well. The nice thing about the do it yourself option is that you can customize your feeder to your exact set up. We invested the money instead of the time because that is what we were shortest on at the time.