Today, we will be presenting you with 16 DIY 5 gallon bucket chicken feeder ideas.
You can give your little guys their feed in a dish, or you can even scatter it around the run. However, in time, you will see that lots of feed would be wasted that way. Do not even get us started on the mess! For that reason, feeders are a must in any chicken keeper’s farm.
There are many chicken feeders out there, and they all come in different shapes and sizes. However, if you have a 5 gallon bucket lying around, let us try to interest you in creating your own chicken feeder. We believe it is a project that you will enjoy, and hey, it is also cost-effective!
Get that 5 gallon bucket, and let us take you through 16 DIY chicken feeders. Whatever you are looking for, we believe there’s a DIY project on our list that will tickle your fancy.
1. The Feeder with a Catcher
Let us start with the standard. This type of feeder is usually the image that comes to mind whenever anyone says ‘chicken feeder’
It has a straightforward mechanism. All you have to do is put a few openings around the lower end of the bucket, attach it to a catcher, put some feed, and it is ready to go. It is a simple feeder, but it sure does get the job done.
You can customize this feeder to what will suit your and your chickens’ needs. For example, instead of a circular opening, you can make a rectangular one. Furthermore, you can also make the catcher deep or shallow, depending on what would work best with your chickens. This type of feeder does not have a strict design.
2. The Feeder with a Sectioned Catcher
This one is similar to the previous idea. The only difference would be the sectioning in the catcher.
The sectioning is not there, so you could assign portions to your chickens. It is an adorable idea, but the divisions supposedly discourage them from sitting on their food. If you have some little guys who like sitting on their food, then this might be the answer to your problem. Furthermore, you can also try adding more sections or even look for a catcher with a smaller radius.
3. The Food Tunnel
This feeder is also called the no-mess chicken feeder. However, we have decided to call it the food tunnel simply because it is probably what the little critters think of when they stick their heads in it.
Chickens are messy eaters. The first two feeders would help minimize the mess, but there would still be many spillages, especially if you have little guys who like digging into their feed to find the right piece. That is where the food tunnel comes in. If you want to lessen the mess to a minimum, this feeder might be the perfect one for you.
4. The Food Tunnel 2.0
As the name suggests, this one is similar to the previous idea. The only difference would be that this one has a smaller tunnel, which could be ideal depending on the situation. For example, a smaller food tunnel would be better if you have some small breeds that keep trying to climb the large food tunnel.
The measurements of the food tunnels are necessary to consider for your chickens. Your chicken’s head can get stuck, and we certainly do not want a chicken to be traumatized by a feeder. Worst case scenario, I do not think any of us wants a chicken beheaded by a feeder.
Additionally, you would also have to take their combs, wattles, and lobes into account, so make sure there are no sharp edges where your chickens would stick in their heads. If you are not careful, this would not only injure them, but it might also cause them to avoid the feeder.
5. The Single-Hole Food Tunnel
While similar to the other food tunnels, this would be best for keeping the mess to the bare minimum. Furthermore, a single-hole food tunnel would be great if you plan to place the feeder in a corner.
However, we only advise the single-hole food feeder if you only have a few chickens in your flock as it might be the cause of a fight at mealtime. If you get cranky when hungry, so do chickens!
6. Comb-friendly Feeder
Since we already mentioned the importance of the opening’s size, here is a feeder that would be great for chickens with large combs, wattles, and lobes. This one will allow almost any chicken to eat from it.
However, as stated earlier, some breeds might try to go into feeders with large openings. With that in mind, it is better to reserve this one for the big guys.
7. Hanging Feeder
Your chickens are not the only ones that like the feed. Another problem keepers face on the farm is rodents. Not only will they put a dent in your chicken’s food, but they might also carry an array of diseases that might be harmful to your little critters.
The hanging feeder is identical to the first feeder we discussed. The only difference is, as the name suggests, it is hanging. It may not seem that much of a difference, but elevating the feeder solves many problems, such as avoiding rodents.
8. Hanging Feeder 2.0
This next one is similar to the second feeder we discussed earlier. Again, the only difference with this one is it is hanging.
This feeder will help with your problems with rodents. However, if you have some flighty chickens on your flock, then there might be another problem for you to consider. The sectioning on this one will help in discouraging your little guys from sitting on the feed.
9. Rain-proof Feeder
Since we are already talking about keeping the feed dry, then this one might interest you.
This one is a hanging feeder, but its structure and appearance are different from the rest. If your concern is keeping the feed dry, then this one would do the trick as it has a cover. Your little chickens would be able to eat even if there is a drizzle. Aside from the feed, this will also protect your chicken’s little heads from the rain.
10. Hanging Food Tunnel
This feeder is identical to the previous food tunnels we have shown you. This one is just uplifted from the ground.
If you have some problems with rodents, then it is advisable to elevate your no-mess feeder. Since it has an opening where rodents could get in the feed, they might climb in and it might take some time to notice when they are inside already. For that reason, we suggest always checking your food tunnels if you do not want to create a hanging one.
11. Easy-refill Feeder
We are nearing the end, and maybe you haven’t found the perfect feeder for you yet. If so, then the easy-refill feeder might be the one for you. You can do this in conjunction with several of the previous ideas. If you want a food tunnel or a simple opening, then you can incorporate that. This feeder allows you to easily refill your chickens’ food. If you are always busy, then this would make your job easier.
If you plan to make this feeder, we would advise you to make some covering for the refill station. This extra caution is to protect the feed from the rain and avoid making it the rodents’ means of getting in.
12. Hanging Comb-friendly Feeder
Earlier, we showed you a feeder to accommodate your chickens with large combs, wattles, and lobes. However, that poses a big problem if many rodents are just waiting to get into your little guys’ feed.
If there are many rodents around, then this one is for you and your chickens. The hanging comb-friendly feeder will keep your chickens’ combs and their feed safe.
13. Feed Dispenser
If none of the previous feeders have tickled your fancy, then the feed dispenser might be what you need.
Unlike the standard feeder, it does not have any catcher. Furthermore, it is also not similar to the food tunnel as your chickens will not have to stick their head into this one.
As the name suggests, the food dispenser works just like a dispenser. Your chickens would have to move a “lever” to get some food. Their feed would go directly to the ground, where they could happily peck at it. If they want more, then they would just have to move the “lever” again.
Since the feed is going directly on the ground, it would be a little messy. Because of its mechanism, this type would still help minimize the mess. If you want, you can place a dish underneath the feeder. However, we doubt it would stay there.
14. Feed Dispenser (with Catcher)
This one is similar to the previous feeder, but this one has an attached catcher, which will help with decreasing the mess.
If you want to do this one, we suggest you use an almost flat catcher so your chickens will not have a hard time pecking the feed. However, expect that there would still be some clutter as some of the feed would most likely still fall out of the catcher.
If you have some little guys in your flock, then you might want to lower the dispenser or catcher. Opting for a large catcher would help in further minimizing the mess. If the catcher becomes too low that your chickens can get on top of it, you can also add some sections to prevent your chickens from sitting on it.
15. Elevated Food Tunnel
Maybe you have a problem with rodents, but perhaps, you do not have a place to hang your food tunnel. Do not worry, because we have the feeder just for you.
If you cannot hang your feeder, then just elevate it! You can do this by using another bucket. Just make sure your little ones can still reach it.
16. Tower Feeder
Do you have a couple of 5 gallon buckets to spare? Then the tower feeder might be perfect for you.
If you have a few little guys that finish your newly refilled feeder in just a few days, then this one will at least keep them fed for a week. This feeder claims that it could hold enough feed for two entire weeks!
However, with its advantage, the tower feeder also has some disadvantages. If you plan to recreate the tower feeder, we suggest that you put it in a place where it will not be reached by rain or rodents. Since it can hold a lot of feed, you will also lose a lot of feed if it gets ruined.
Those are 16 DIY 5 gallon bucket chicken feeder ideas!
Finding a great chicken feeder might not be a keeper’s main concern until it becomes a problem. However, we believe that finding the right one is a must! Feeders are an important part of a happy chicken coop. With the right feeder, your and your chickens’ lives will be a lot easier and enjoyable.
If you’re dealing with a lot of mess in your coop, constantly having to deal with all sorts of rodents, and always having to worry about wet feed, then maybe it’s time to build the feeder that will finish these problems, once and for all. If you’re looking for even more feeder ideas, check out these 30 DIY PVC Chicken Feeder Ideas.
What are you waiting for? It is time to get that 5 gallon bucket and start on a wonderful project!
Joseph Hudson has been raising chickens for over 15 years. In 2018, he completed the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. He currently raises over 1400 chickens on his 7.5-hectare farm. He keeps sharing his experience on raising healthy and happy chickens on Chicken Scratch.