Picking the best chicken feeder for your flock requires thought and research. As chicken keepers wanting to know this information ourselves, we did the hard work for you and spent hours of researching and finding the best value chicken feeder available on the market.
After hours of looking we have put together our research on the top 3 chicken feeders on the market. Our picks are based off looking at factors such as quality materials, capacity, ease of use, pest proof and other practical features.
Read on to learn about some of the most important factors to account for when looking for a chicken feeder and discover some of the best feeders available to keep your flock fed and healthy.
What this article covers
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The Different Types of Chicken Feeders
There are many different types of chicken feeders available on the market. The right one for you is going to depend on how many chickens you have, the type of environment you live in and your coop set up.
Automatic or treadle feeders work by the chicken standing on a foot plate which opens the feed box for them to eat.
Treadle feeders are exceptional in the way that they reduce food wastage due to the chickens being unable to knock the feeder over and they stop pests and vermin from accessing the food.
These feeders so vary quite a lot in design, quality and price. They do tend to be more expensive then hanging or gravity feeders BUT they do pay for themselves in reduced feed wastage and they also keep the feed fresh and dry.
If you decide to buy one of these feeders ensure you pick something high quality, there’s nothing worse then investing in something that starts rusting or breaks after a short period of time.
After trying other types of feeders, we now have a quality Grandpa’s automatic/treadle feeder for our flock and have found our feed stays fresher and lasts longer.
Gravity feeders are the cost effective and the most readily available type of feeder that you will find on the market.
They use an incredible simple design 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 chicken feeders work the same as gravity feeders and are a simple design that you fill up and let the food make its way down to an open bottom tray or trough that the chickens eat from.
Hanging feeders are a popular choice for those on a budget and one of the main benefits of them is they are hung off the ground to prevent the chickens kicking dirt into them, knocking them over or pooping in them.
These should be hung inside the coop and hung in a place where the chickens can position themselves around the circumference of the feeder. This enables multiple birds to feed at once.
The downside to these feeders are that they are open so rodents and other animals can gain access to food potentially resulting in food wastage.
Trough feeders are perfect for very large flocks of chickens or baby chicks who need a feed source very low to the ground.
Trough feeders are not ideal for other scenarios because they are prone to getting pooped in, the feed getting stepped in and other animals, birds and rodents gaining access to the feed. Therefore they are susceptible to food wastage and require regular cleaning.
Considerations For Choosing the Best Chicken Feeder
Choosing the best chicken feeders for your flocks is going to depend on a range of factors. You need to consider the size of your flock, whether you need it to be pest and rodent proof and how much regular involvement you want in daily maintenance and upkeep in tending to your flock.
Pest and Vermin Proof
Not having a pest or vermin proof feeder can result in a fair amount of feed wastage due to rodents or other birds (depending on where the feeder is placed) accessing the chickens food.
This is where an automatic/treadle feeder like the Grandpa’s feeder pays itself off quickly in feed that my have otherwise been stolen but unwanted guests.
Metal or Plastic
Chicken feeders are typically made from either plastic or metal.
Plastic chicken feeders are generally more affordable and lightweight. Unfortunately they are also less durable and prone to cracking in extreme weather such as very cold temperatures. If you decide to choose plastic, go for something that is thicker and more durable and also BPA free for your chickens health.
Metal chicken feeders are more durable but due to the more expensive materials they are also tend to cost more. Ensure you choose a feeder made from galvanized metal that won’t rust or corrode over time. A metal feeder may not be suitable in very hot temperatures, due to the metal heating up and especially if the feeder is not placed in the shade.
The Size of Your Flock
The size of your flock will determine the type of chicken feeder you get and its holding capacity. If you have more than 6 chickens, its generally a wise idea to get more than one feeder.
If you have a small flock don’t mind re-filling your feeder every day or every second day then a smaller feeder will be suitable. If you want to refill the feeder less frequently consider sizing up to a bigger holding capacity.
Its also worth considering the pecking order of your chickens too. Some hens can be bossier than others and hog the feeder preventing other chickens from accessing it. If this is the case with your flock its probably a wise idea to buy at least 2 feeders so the other chickens will have access as well.
Ease of Use
Ease of use with whatever chicken feeder you choose is very important. Ensure the feeder can be opened, cleaned and refilled easily.
Some of the feeders come fully assembled and some will require assembly with some basic tools. Keep this in mind when purchasing a feeder to make sure you are happy to do some basic assembly if required.
Also consider your chickens, their breed/s and what kind of chicken feeder would be easiest for them to use to use. Some chickens may easily learn how to use a more involved feeder like an automatic/treadle feeder and some will require more time to figure it out.
Our 3 Top Choices for the Best Chicken Feeder
The following are our top 3 picks for the best chicken feeders for your feathered friends.
These recommendations for the best chicken feeders were selected to cover flock sizes from as small as 2 chickens up to as large as accommodating 15 chickens. With this in mind we also assessed the quality of materials, capacity, ease of use, pest and rodent proofing and other practical features regarding maintenance efforts.
Grandpa’s Feeders have a high quality galvanized steel finish, which is built to last in the toughest outdoor conditions. Grandpa’s Feeders are the original automatic/treadle chicken feeders and they have been made and sold for over twenty years.
These feeders provide a protected way of feeding your backyard chickens on demand, allowing them to access their food when hungry, while also providing protection against rodents and other pests. This feeder also allow a number of chickens to eat at once.
The standard feeder will hold 20 lbs (9kg) of feed. This feeds approximately 6 chickens for 10 days as a guide. The standard size is suitable for all chickens and is designed for smaller flocks of up to 12 chickens. The large sized feeder will hold 40 lbs of feed and will accommodate flocks of 12 or more chickens.
|✔ Pest and rodent proof
✔ Large capacity
✔ Save money on feed and wastage
✔ Multiple chickens can eat at the same time
✔ Easy to re-fill and clean
✔ Many people have said the feeder has paid for itself in recovered feed
✔ Comes with chicken training instructions
|❌ Chickens need a period of training to use the feeder
❌Generally more expensive than other feeders
You and your chickens will love the Harris Farms Galvanized Hanging Poultry Feeder. Its available in 15 lbs or 30 lbs capacity.
Its an easy to fill feeder, made of heavy-duty galvanized steel construction with rolled edges for safety and a convenient hanger/carry handle.
It comes with spring loaded clips for easy set-up and adjustment and it is specially designed to minimize feed wastage.
✔ Comes in 2 sizes
✔ Lightweight when empty
✔ Easy to re-fill
✔ Feeds several chickens simultaneously
✔ Can be hung off the ground
|❌ Not pest or rodent proof
❌ Does not come with a lid for the top
The RentACoop 4 port feeder is a 2lb weatherproof feeder that keeps dirt and water out!
This feeder accommodates chicks as young as 3 days old to full grown hens and will grow with your flock. This feeder will accommodate up to 20 chicks or 12 adult chickens per feeder.
It features 4 ports for multiple birds to feed at the same time, this feeder is great for larger flocks or adding another feeder into any home.
|✔ Suitable for chicks and chickens
✔ Large capacity
✔ Lightweight when empty
✔ Easy to refill
✔ Several access points
✔ Can be hung off the ground
|❌ Not pest or rodent proof
❌Plastic not as durable as metal
Chickens rely on a steady supply of clean and accessible food. Its important to choose a chicken feeder that is reliable and has the proper capacity for the number of chickens you have. For the majority of chicken keepers the Grandpa’s Feeders Automatic Chicken Feeder is the best all round choice for making sure a small to medium size flock of chickens have access to their feed. This is the feeder we personally use for our flock and have found it to be pest proof and it works very well.
For keepers looking for a quality product with a smaller flock and a smaller budget, the Harris Farms Galvanized Hanging Feeder is a great choice. For keepers with a larger flock and who are needing a larger feed holding capacity with additional access points, an option like the RentACoop Chick2Chicken 4-Port Feeder is a more suitable choice.
Below we have put together the most commonly asked questions about chicken feeders.
Q. How can I train my chickens to use an automatic/treadle feeder?
It may take a few days to two weeks to teach your chickens to use an automatic/treadle feeder. Firstly you will need to leave the tray open while your chickens become familiar with the chicken feeder. Then close the tray and wait for one chicken to work it out. As soon as one figures it out the others will be watching and learn quickly as well.
Q. How many feeders will my flock need?
Its best to have a ratio of one feeder for every 6-8 chickens. Only having one feeder for a large flock can result in bullying behavior. Having extra feeders will also require less maintenance and re-filling on your part as well.
Q. Where should I place my feeders?
Feeders should be placed inside the coop where possible to provide feed preservation against weather elements as well as additional protection for your chickens while feeding. While they have their heads down feeding, they are more vulnerable to predator attacks.
Q. How high should a chicken feeder be?
Access to the feeders should be placed at the chicken’s breast height for a hanging or gravity feeder or on the ground for other feeders.
Q. The feeder is getting very dirty, how can I keep it clean?
If you have a ground dwelling feeder it may need to be raised higher to prevent dirt, poop and debris from falling into the trough or tray.
Q. How do I clean a chicken feeder and how often?
Feeders should be cleaned as often as visibly needed but probably at least a monthly check over to ensure they are not full of debris or mold. The feeder should never have poop in the tray or trough where the chickens eat from. Open feeders will need to be cleaned more often than automatic/treadle feeders.
Looking for the best chicken waterer? Read our article to find our top researched picks!