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No Fuss Feeder

DIY INSTRUCTION MANUAL

NO MESS, NO RATS, NO FUSS!

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Traditional feeders

are a pain in the ass!

A lot of the problems that come with backyard chickens are caused by the way you feed your chickens and the equipment you use. 

Scratch and Mess!

Chickens love to scratch at their food and make a mess, which leaves wasted grain scattered around the coop.

Rats and mice

Grain on the ground or in open feeders is a magnet for wild birds, rats and mice – and snakes love to eat rats and mice!

Soggy Feed

Any rain usually means soggy feed that quickly goes rancid - and smells foul!

All these problems are a real pain in the #%!@ and will cost you a lot of time and energy!

The solution

Happy, healthy backyard chickens made easy!

This chicken feeder solves these problems at the source and makes it really easy to keep happy, healthy backyard chickens.

No mess or waste

The enclosed design and 'spill guard' stop chickens from scratching and pecking out grain from the feeder. The feeder also has a rain hood which keeps the feed dry and stops a lot of waste.

No Pests

Pests carry disease and put stress on your chickens. The mess free design and ability to seal the feeder closed at night keeps rats and mice out.

No Fuss!

With no mess, no pests and a rain proof design, this feeder almost looks after itself. 

My Story

From Stressed out to Stress Free 

Hooray for fresh eggs every day

I first got started with chickens using a second hand coop that came with a standard feeder. It wasn't long before I was getting a steady supply of eggs and things seemed to be going along great.

Things got messy

But I didn't realise there was trouble brewing beneath the surface. I knew there was something wrong when my chickens started roosting on top of the chicken coop rather than in it. I found a family (more like a plague!) of rats living in the coop. Looking back at the situation, I'm not surprised there was a rat problem. The coop was a mess - there was chicken feed flung everywhere around the coop and dirt in the feeder from the chickens scratching around. With a steady food supply, the rats had decided to move in and were multiplying like crazy. No wonder I was going through so much chicken feed!

To make things worse, every time it rained I would waste all the grain in the feeder. I tried drying out the grain, but when it started smelling rancid - I realised I was wasting my time.

I was determined to get rid of the rats for good!

To try and fix the problem, I set rat traps and started storing the feed away at night. This helped things for a while but didn’t solve the problem. Once I stopped using the rat traps they started to come back. Dealing with dead rats and cleaning up spilt grain from the coop each night had become a real pain. It now made sense to me why there were so many second hand chicken coops for sale - it was just to much hassle. I had almost given up when I decided to look for solutions online. I found a whole bunch of DIY feeder designs which looked like they would fix some of my problems.

Trial and error

After a bit of research I made a PVC feeder based on a design which looked promising - but it turned out to be far from perfect. There was still wasted grain on the coop floor and it didn't keep the rain out. Every time it rained the grain got soggy which then clogged up the feeder. I had also read that rats couldn't climb into the feeder - but these rats must have been acrobats cause they seemed to have no problems. I am pretty sure they were having a party in there.

I also found it soooooo frustrating trying to figure out how to make the different feeders based on a photo and some very rough detail. It took a lot of time to figure out exactly how to make them and what tools and materials I needed. And I always missed something which meant another trip to the hardware store. Even basic stuff like cutting the pipe in a straight line took a lot of trial and error. 

I didn't get the solution I was looking for but I was determined to improve on the design and to make it easier for others to build and use. After months spent testing and tweaking different designs, I came up with a feeder that solves all these major problems.

Is this feeder suitable for you?

Simple step by step instructions that anyone can follow

This feeder is designed to be really easy to make, using basic tools that most people have at home and materials that are cheap and easy to find at your local hardware store. You don't need any special skills, experience or expensive tools. Follow the step by step instructions and you'll have the ultimate hassle free chicken feeder in no time at all.

Specifically designed for backyard chickens

This feeder is designed for specifically for backyard chickens. Only one chicken can access the feeder at a time, which means that its best suited for up to 4 chickens. However, multiple feeders work well together for larger flocks. 

Low Cost

PVC is cheap, which makes this feeder very cheap to make.

How to use this guide

6 Easy Steps

This guide is set out in 6 steps which are designed to be flexible:

  • Some steps are marked as optional, if you want the quickest and easiest solution.
  • There are some different options depending on the materials you can get a hold of and any specific requirements or preferences you have.

1. Cut

Cut PVC to size and shape

2. Prepare

Sand & clean PVC 

3. Paint (Optional)

Spray paint 2-3 coats

4. Assemble

Assemble feeder and bolt in the base

5. Install

Install the feeder for use and fix into place

6. Use & Maintain

Introduce the feeder, ongoing use and maintenance

Materials list

The materials list has some alternatives for items which are not available in some countries. There are also some options based on your requirements / preferences.

Item A 1 x 1m (3' 3") 90mm (3") Pipe

Item B 1 x 90mm (3") Junction

(Step 1.2 - option 1)​

Item C.1 2 x 90mm (3") Cap / Plug

(Step 1.2 - option 2)​

Item C.2 2 x DIY Cap / Plug

**Materials list below

Item D 1 x 90mm (3") Elbow 45 degree

(Step 1.3 - option 1)​

Item E.1 1 x 90mm (3") Rectangular  adapter

(Step 1.3- option 2)​

Item E.2 DIY Hood

**Materials list below

Item F 2 x 90mm (3") Cap

(Step 4.3 - optional)

Item G 1 x galvanised bolt 6mm (12g) x 100m (4") and wing nut 

(Step 5.2 - option 1)​

Item H.1 1 x Conduit saddle & picture wall hook 

(Step 5.2 - option 2)​

Item H.2 1 x 50cm (20") Shock cord (or any rope / cord you have)

-

**Item C.2 - DIY Cap / Plug 

If a Cap / Plug is not available (Item C.1), the materials below can be used to make Item C.2 as an alternative.

Item C.2.1 4 x 90mm (3") Cap 

Item C.2.2 100mm (4") x 90mm (3") Pipe

-

Item C.2.3 PVC Cement 

**Item E.2 - DIY Hood (Step 1.3 - Option 2)

If a Rectangular adapter is not available (Item E.1), the materials below can be used to make Item E.2 as an alternative.

Item E.2.1 1 x 90mm (3") Elbow 22.5 degree

Item E.2.2 90mm (3") Cap 

Item E.2.3 2 x 6mm (15/64) x 20mm (0.8") Nut and Bolt

Equipment list

E1: Hacksaw

E2: Pencil

E3: Tape measure

E4: Sandpaper

E5: Respirator mask             (dust and paint)

E6: Spray paint

(Step 3 - optional)

E7: Drill

(Step 1.3.2, 4.3 & 5.2 - optional)

E8: Drill bit 6mm (15/64)

(Step 1.3.2, 4.3 & 5.2 - optional)

E9: Screwdriver

(Step 5.2 - optional)

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Safety tips

Cutting, drilling and sanding PVC

  • Use a respirator mask while cutting and drilling PVC so you don't breath in the dust.

PVC Cement

  • When using PVC Cement, make sure you have plenty of ventilation and use an organic vapour respirator. The vapours from PVC cement are toxic and will make you dizzy if inhaled.
  • Wear gloves so you don't get any on your skin.

Spray Paint

  • Ensure you are in a well-ventilated area
  • Use a respirator so you don't breathe in any vapours 
  • Keep spray paint on your project, not on you
  • Wear gloves and wash your hands afterwards.

1. Cut

Cut PVC to size and shape

Materials

Item A 1 x 1m (3' 3") 90mm (3") Pipe

DIY Cap / Plug (Item C.2) 

Item C.2.1 4 x 90mm (3") Cap 

Item C.2.2 100mm (4") x 90mm (3") Pipe

Item C.2.3 PVC Cement 

Hood Option 1 (Step 1.3.1)​

Item E 1 x 90mm (3") Rectangular  adapter

Hood Option 2 (Step 1.3.2)​

Item E.2.1 1 x 90mm (3") Elbow 22.5 degree

Item E.2.2 1 x 90mm (3") Cap 

Item E.2.3 2 x 6mm (15/64) x 20mm (0.8") Nut & Bolt

Equipment

E1: Hacksaw

E2: Pencil

E3: Tape measure

E5: Respirator mask

Hood Option 2 (Step 1.3.2)​

E7: Drill

E8: Drill bit 6mm (12g) 

1.1 Cut pipe to size

From your 1m piece of 90mm PVC pipe, cut it into the lengths below. It can be difficult to get a straight clean cut when using a hand saw - there is a trick to this which I will explain below.

Pipe lengths:

Item A.1 650mm (2') - adjust as needed

Item A.2 150mm (6")

Item A.3 55mm (2")

Item A.4 100mm (4") - see tip below

Tip - Item A.4

The height of the feeder opening can be adjusted by changing the length of Item A.4. If its too high, your chickens will have trouble reaching the feed. If it is too low, they will flick feed around and create a mess. Through trial and error I have found 100mm (4") to be the sweet spot for my chickens. Start with 100mm (4") and adjust from there if you need to.

Draw a cutting line on the pipe

For each length of pipe, use your tape measure to measure the required length and mark with the pencil. Repeat this step on each side of the pipe, so that you have 4 pencil marks in a straight line around the outside of the pipe.

Once you have 4 marks, wrap the tape measure around the pipe and join the dots with your pencil until you have a straight line around the pipe. Once you have a line drawn, you are ready to start cutting the pipe.

Shallow cut

Make a shallow cut along the pencil line all the way around the pipe, rotating the pipe as you go. Don't cut through the pipe the first time around.

Cut through the pipe

Once you have a shallow cut all the way around the pipe, you can start cutting all the way through. Rotate the pipe as you cut through it.

1.2 DIY Cap / Plug (Item C)

Step 1.2 provides DIY instructions for making a Cap / Plug, which is only required if you can't get a hold of Item C.1 Cap / Plug.

Glue the caps together

Put PVC Cement (Item F) onto the flat side of the 2 Caps (Item C.2). Make sure you use enough cement for a strong bond.

Push the glued sides together and do a 1/4 twist to help spread the cement.

Place something heavy on top of it (like a brick) and leave it for an hour or so to dry.

Joining pipe

Measure the depth of the cap and double it to work out the length of the PVC pipe you need.

Cut the PVC Pipe (Item A) to the measured length.

The pipe then slots into one side to ​complete the Cap / Plug.

1.3 Hood 

There are two options for the feeder hood:

1.3.1 Option 1: Hood using Rectangular Adapter

Uses the Rectangular Adapter and is the easiest option.

To make sure the chickens can get easy access to the feed, one side of the downpipe adapter must be cut off.

The cuts you need to make are marked with a red line in the picture. Start with shallow cuts along each edge before cutting all the way through.

1.3.2 Option 2: DIY Hood

If you cannot get a Rectangular Adapter, this is an alternative DIY version.

Elbow - Draw cutting lines 

For the elbow (Item E.2.1), some measurements are needed to guide the cutting lines. 

On the skinny side of the elbow, with the pipe edge facing towards you, use the bottom middle point as the starting point. From there you need to measure 65mm (2.55") on either side.

I found that the easiest way to do this is to mark the starting point on the pipe and wrap a tape measure around the pipe. Mark the measurement on each side with a pencil.

Repeat this process on the thicker "sleeve" side of the elbow and again mark the measurements with a pencil.

Based on your markings, you can then join the dots to create a cutting line (see picture).

Elbow - Cut

Then cut along the line remembering to start with a shallow cut to ensure a straight and even cut.

Cap - Draw cutting lines

The cap (Item E.2.2), is used for the bottom of the pipe opening and acts as the spill guard. 

Wrap a tape measure around the edge of the cap and measure 130mm (5.10"). Mark this point on either side with a pencil.

Draw a line to join up the dots.

Cap - Cut

Use your hacksaw to then cut the cap along the drawn line.

Assemble

The Cap fits on the cut out section of pipe.

Bolt

Bolts are used to fix the cap in place. Mark 2 drill holes on either side of the cap.

While holding the cap in place, drill the 2 holes through the cap and the elbow on the bottom edge.

Insert the bolts and tighten.

DIY Hood Completed

You should now have the finished product - a hood for your feeder.

2. Prepare

Sand & clean PVC to prep for a smooth finish

Materials

Item A PVC pipe cut to length (from Step 1)

Item B 1 x 90mm (3") Junction

Item C 2 x 90mm (3") Cap / Plug

Item D 1 x 90mm (3") Elbow 45 degree

Item E Hood (from step 1)

Item F 2 x 90mm (3") Cap

Equipment

E4: Sandpaper

E5Respirator mask

2.1 Sand PVC cuts

Sand each of the cut edges of the PVC pipe, to make them smooth and remove any of the plastic threads.

2.2 Sand PVC surface

Give each PVC part a light sand along the surface. This will clean the PVC and remove surface waxes to help the paint adhere (in step 3). You can also sand off the manufacturing barcodes and markings if you are looking for a clean finish.

2.3 Clean

Wash off any dust and dirt from the pipe and dry with a clean cloth. This will also help ensure spray paint will adhere properly to the PVC.

3. Paint

Spray paint 2-3 coats (optional)

Materials

Any PVC parts which you want to paint

Equipment

E5: Respirator mask

E6: Spray paint

Painting the feeder is an optional step which gives some extra protection against weathering and gives your feeder a personalised look.

3.1 Preparation

Get the area ready for painting by laying down cardboard or newspaper. To make sure you get it right, test your technique on scrap paper before starting:

  • Shake your spray paint can for 1 minute before you use it and regularily while spraying
  • Begin and finish spraying off the object
  • Use an even side-to-side motion
  • Spray about 20cm from the surface

3.2 Coats

Paint each PVC piece seperately, before the feeder is assembled. Try not to paint the inside of the pipe.

To stop drips and runs, spray 3 thin
coats. Wait for each coat to dry
before putting on the next coat. The wait time depends on the spray paint, so follow the instructions on the can. Wait for the paint to fully dry before you start putting the feeder together in step 4.

4. Assemble

Assemble feeder and bolt in the base

Materials

Item A to Item G

Equipment

E5: Respirator mask

E7: Drill (step 4.3 optional)

E8: Drill bit 6mm (12g)  (step 4.3 optional)

4.1 Assemble feeder

Put the feeder together following the diagram. Make sure joins are fully pushed in so that they are sturdy. Don't glue the pieces together. This saves time and will make it easy to pull apart for cleaning.

4.2 Assemble scoop

Put together the scoop for the feed following the

4.3 Base bolt (optional)

A base bolt stops the bottom cap from coming apart when its full and still allows you to pull it apart for cleaning. It's an optional step because it won't come apart while in place and can easily be held together with your hands if you need to move it when it's full. On the other hand it's easy to forget and spill feed everywhere.

Drill

While the plug / cap (Item C) is attached to the the junction (Item B), drill a hole through both sides using the Drill and 6mm drill bit.

Insert base bolt

Insert the bolt in one side and push through to the other side.

Wing nut

Put the wing nut on and tighten.

5. Install

Install the feeder for use and fix into place

Materials

Item H.1 Step 5.2 - Option 1: 1 x Conduit saddle & picture wall hook 

Item H.2 Step 5.2 - Option 2: 1 x 50cm (20") Shock cord (or any other cord you have)

Equipment

E2: Pencil (Step 5.2 - Option 1)

E5: Respirator mask (Step 5.2 - Option 1)

E7: Drill (Step 5.2 - Option 1)

E9: Screwdriver (Step 5.2 - Option 1)

5.1 Where to put your feeder

If you put the feeder in the right spot you will have a lot less hassles. Here are a few things to consider:

Pest protection

The feeder is designed to keep annoying pests away, but putting your feeder in a secure spot will provide extra protection. This might be inside your coop or chicken run.

Rain

The feeder protects against the rain and moisture, but in a big storm the feed can sometimes still get a little wet. Because of this, an undercover or partially covered position is ideal (but not necessary).

Maintenance

The feeder will need to be topped up regularly and capped shut each night. Think
about how easy it will be to top up and get access to it. Ideally you should be able to top up the feeder without moving it.

5.2 Fixing the feeder in place

When installing the feeder, you will need to fix it in place to keep it upright. To do this there are 2 options.

Option 1: Hook and Conduit Saddle

This option uses a conduit saddle and picture
hook which is ideal against a solid surface. The hook can also be used by itself to clip directly
onto solid wire mesh.

Step 1: Mark where you want the hook

The first step is to work out where you want to put the hook. Aim for about the mid point of the feeder and mark it on the pipe with a pencil.

Step 2: Install hook

At the point marked, drill a hole for the picture hook. Install the hook onto the pipe and tighten, so that the hook is facing downwards.

Step 3: Install pipe saddle

Lean the feeder against the support surface, measure the point to install the conduit saddle and mark it with the pencil. Screw the pipe saddle onto the support surface.

Step 4: Hook it up

Once the pipe saddle is in place, you can clip the feeder on and its ready to go.

Option 2: Elastic rope

This option uses an elastic shock cord. Simply tie the shock cord around the feeder and the supporting surface.

6. Use and maintain

Introduce the feeder, use and maintenance

6.1 Filling up the feeder

Feed type

Once the feeder is assembled and installed, the next step is to fill it up. The feeder can be used with any type of feed including mash, crumble, pallets and mixed grain. Normally mixed grain can cause problems because the chickens will pick out what they like and make a mess in the process. But with this feeder it's not a problem because the chickens can't flick the grain around.

Filling the base

Any feed below the line (see picture) can't be reached by chickens. A solve this, fill the base of the feeder with either sand or crushed shell grit.

Topping up

Using the scoop you made, top up the rest of the feeder with your feed. When using the scoop, hold it at the cap end to make sure it doesn't fall off. The scoop makes it easy to top up into the small pipe opening. It's much easier than trying to lift and pour a full bag of grain.

6.2 Introducing the feeder

Chickens are very cautious about anything new, so you'll need to gradually introduce them to the feeder.

Attract the chickens close to the feeder with food

The first step is to attract your chickens to the feeder. Throw some of their favourite food (my chickens go crazy for rolled oats) around the feeder, to help them get used to it and associate the feeder with food.

Feeding without the hood

To start with you need to make it as easy as possible for your chickens to get to the feed. Take the hood off (Item E: Rectangular Adapter) and make sure the opening is full with food which the chickens can clearly see. You can even add some treats on top to help get their attention.

Feeding with the hood on

Once your chickens are used to eating out of the feeder, you can then put the hood on. They may be cautious at first, but it won't take them long to figure it out.

6.3 Pest protection

To keep your feeder pest free, it's important to cap the feeder off at night. When I first designed the feeder, I thought there was no way rats or mice could get in - so I never bothered to put

a cap on overnight. I definitely under estimated how acrobatic and persistent rats can be when it comes to food!

When I realised rats where getting into the feed I started to cap it off at night. I was amazed to find scratch marks down the side of the cap the next morning. I had blocked off the food source and the rats were clearly not happy.

The key is to cap off the feeder from the start. Get into the routine of doing it when you lock up the coop. Its no big deal if you forget occasionally, but you if you cap off the feeder regularly from the start, the rats won't learn where the food source is and you won't have any troubles.

Capping the feeder at night

  • Remove the plug / cap (Item C) and the push on cap (Item F) from the top of the feeder.
  • Put the push on cap (Item F) back on top of the feeder tube to keep it sealed off.
  • Remove the hood (Item E: Rectangular Adapter) and insert the plug / cap (Item C)
  • Put the hood (Item E: Rectangular Adapter) on top of the plug / cap (Item C)

6.4 Cleaning and blockages

After heavy rain, the feeder will need to be checked for water and blockages. While the feeder is water resistant, small amounts of water can still find its way in during heavy rain and storms. And it doesn’t take much moisture to make the pellets swell and clog up the feeder . If there's a blockage, you will need to pull the feeder apart and clean it out.

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