Best Chicken Feeders (And How To Choose)
You decided to take the leap and buy chickens. Nice!
You don’t have much space …or any equipment …or experience with this in the first place, but it’ll all work out.
Filled with confidence, you ordered your chicks and sat back like a champion farmer while you waited for them to arrive.
But then you started thinking, “wait a second, these are living breathing creatures. They need a place to live and something to drink …and eat!”
Don’t despair! We’ve got you covered.
We’re going to break down some of your options for the best chicken feeding options.
From homemade to manufactured automatic feeders, we’ll show you the options based on your space limitations, weather concerns, rodents issues, and even show you the best chicken feeder to help prevent waste.
Chicken Feeder Buying Guide
When deciding what chicken feeder to purchase, there are a few things you’ll want to consider.
For instance, how big will your brood of chickens be? How big of a space are you working with? Will the food be outdoors or indoors? Is your coop rodent-free?
Let’s take a look at some of these.
And remember, we’re focusing on feeders here, not automatic water feeders for chickens, although the process for selecting those is similar, so take notes!
Location, Location, Location…
Where your feeder will be located is an important part of the buying decision.
Will it be in a corner of a coop, the center of the coop, or outside of the coop?
Will it be a wall hanging chicken feeder, will it be on a pedestal (which, by the way, should never be straight on the floor, to help keep junk from getting mixed in with the food)?
Another option is to mount hanging feeders and waterers right from the ceiling:
Once you have an idea of the location, consider how wide and tall it can be without taking up too much space.
Get these dimensions, but don’t worry if they seem small. You should be able to stick to fairly prohibitive space limitations if you do your homework before making the decision.
Homemade Chicken Feeders, Automatic Chicken Feeders, Etc.
Looks great, right?
But simplicity is not the only answer. Food can get clogged and, if it’s outside, weather can be a problem.
What if you want to get one ready-made, in order to solve some of these problems more easily?
These are the questions we must struggle with before making the decision: Do you go for a simple, affordable choice, or are you looking for a fancier automatic chicken feeder, one that functions smoothly and with less headaches, albeit at a higher price?
They’re tough, I know, but you can do it. We believe in you!
Different Benefits Of Automatic Feeders
For having such a simple task to perform, automatic chook feeders can serve to answer a number of different problems.
Knowing which of these you need answered is a step in the right direction.
Do you simply want a feeder that will better control the flow of food getting to the chickens? Do you have rodent issues and need something that will only be accessible to the chickens?
What about the weather? Do you need to make sure the feeder and the food it’s delivering are safe from wind or rain?
(If your interested, and want to know more about how exactly your chickens eat, you may want to read this article here to get you updated before you invest in feeders)
You’re almost ready to look at the options. Just a few more considerations and then we’ll check out the best feeders 2018 has to offer us!
However, before we do that, there is one final, crucial factor to consider.
This is so important; it’s worthy of its own section.
Why? To put it simply, chickens are barbarians. Like a high-calibre reality TV show, they attack both their food and each other when they dine.
This leads to a lot of food on the floor, at which point – like pampered snobs – many chickens will turn up their beaks and march off in protest.
The more you can control the waste factor, the more money you will save in the long run.
There are many DIY options to help prevent waste. You can see a really simple solution in the video below.
However, if your situation isn’t so simple, or you just don’t have the time, then investing a little bit more up front in a nicer purchased feeder may be worth it …if you have the budget for it.
Now let’s take a look at a few of the best choices out there, keeping in mind cost, function, and your own personal circumstances (size limitations, rodents, etc.)
If you are looking for more information on how to get your chickens set up for success, you can also click on these links to read more about chicken coops, how to raise chicks, and how to care for chickens.
The 6 Best Chicken Feeders
You already know what you need to consider when buying a chicken feeder. Now we’ve rounded up the best that we could find:
1. Harris Farms Plastic Hanging Poultry Feeder
A market leader for poultry waterers and feeders, Harris Farms’ has produced this quality hanging chicken feeder that, to put it simply, gets the job done.
If you have chickens and you want to make their food available to them in a simple and affordable way, this is a good option.
It is designed to keep the chickens from scratching out the feed, and comes apart into two easy-to-assemble pieces that make cleaning a piece of cake.
It works on the ground on a pedestal but can be hung as well, which will keep it up out of the way of the chicken poop.
- Easy to fill
- Keeps out chicken poop and dir
- Doesn’t come with a hanging rope or chain
- No lid
2. Premier Poultry Grit & Oyster Shell Feeder
Many savvy chicken owners want to include ground-up oyster shells and grit along with their chicken’s food.
The oysters are an excellent source of calcium, which is needed for producing healthy eggshells, and that grit is just what those toothless chickens need to help with their digestion.
If a three course meal of chicken feed, ground-up oyster shells, and grit is what you had in mind, then read on.
Of course, you can always go the DIY route and search on Pinterest for vintage chicken feeder tray ideas, or something big enough to compartmentalize into the three meal options – but if you’re short on time and supplies, this is the way to go.
This affordable feeder has been designed with three separate compartments so that you can provide the meal options in a “buffet” style.
Rather than mixing it all together, this allows the chickens to take as much of each one as they need.
- Allows you to provide oyster shells, grit, and food separately
- Has a lid to keep out unwanted dirt or chicken poop
- Heavy duty plastic
- Limited in size
- Can’t be hung up or mounted on a wall
3. PestOff Rat Proof Chicken Feeder – The Best Chicken Feeder to Prevent Waste
If rodents are a problem or you need an outdoor feeder that can cope with the weather, PestOff is a good option for an auto chicken feeder.
It is not as affordable as other choices, but if you’re dealing with a steady loss of feed to rats, mice, other birds, or even the weather, the spring-loaded feeding ports make sure that only chickens are getting the feed.
The money saved there alone helps it pay for itself in no time. It even comes with a warranty to back up the pest-free claims as well.
It has a good size capacity and is easy to clean. It is also tall and thin, making it ideal for those working with smaller spaces.
- Rodent- and weather-proof
- Large capacity
- Tall and thin, good use of space
- Expensive upfront cost
4. Grandpa’s Feeders Automatic Chicken Feeder
If you’re looking for a reputable, galvanized metal chicken feeder that keeps rodents and bad weather out, this is a great option.
While it may not have that vintage galvanized feeder look, it is sturdily built and certainly works better than the old metal feeders.
This model has a reputation as one of the better feeders that prevent feed waste.
And it looks cool in action too!
The side guards force the chickens to access the feeder from the front, which in turn cause them to stand on the treadplate.
When they do, hey presto! The lid opens, and their food is right there ready to munch.
If your chickens eat outside or if you’re having rodent issues in the coop, this is a good way to get the chickens the food they need, on demand, without feeding every rodent and wild animal that drops in for a visit.
- Keeps rodents, pests, and weather out
- Reputable product
- Expensive upfront cost
- Larger footprint
5. Your Happy Chicks 1 Quart Hanging Harness
If you’re more interested in making a homemade chicken feeder, like this one, but you want a little bit of help, the next two choices are affordable hacks to help get you going in the right direction.
For starters, you might not have the tools to drill a hole in a glass mason jar. That’s where the Your Happy Chicks harness comes in handy.
It is not an entire chicken feeder in itself, but rather it is a popular way to hang both feeders and waterers of various kinds.
(If your looking for more info on chicken waterers, check out our great review detailing the top 3 best chicken waterers of 2018)
This option gives you both the rustic, classic feel of a homemade chicken feeder as well as the benefit of hanging the food above the dirt and droppings below with a sturdy, dependable harness.
Made of durable nylon, it simply straps to a homemade feeder and has an “S”-hook that can be used to suspend it.
If your feeder needs are larger, you can also grab the 2 quart model here!
- An affordable addition to a DIY project
- Allows flexibility in design and style of actual feeder
- Attaches to top only, allowing easy filling from bottom of feeder
- Not an entire feeder
- Must work within dimensions of 1 or 2 qt. harness
6. MILLER CO Round Mason Jar Feeder
If you like the homemade feeder in the video above and are looking for an attractive bottom half for your feeder, this galvanized metal chicken feeder bottom is a great addition to the Your Happy Chicks harness.
When paired with a quart mason jar, the whole setup creates a very nice, vintage look.
Its rounded edges keep it from harming the chickens as they eat, making it a great piece of equipment to use for chicks as well.
Don’t be fooled by that product description though. It may say “comes with a bottom and a top,” but that is only referring to the two parts that make up this bottom half of a feeder.
The top half (e.g., a mason jar) is left for you to track down on your own.
- Vintage look
- Suitable for both baby chicks and adult chickens
- Very affordable
- Is not a complete feeder
- Does not protect against weather or rodents
Buying Your Chicken Feeder
Harris Farms Plastic Hanging Poultry Feeder
This feeder can be hung from the ceiling, which keeps the food clean and within the container.
It also holds plenty of food, is not too big, and is easy to refill. It is very affordable and an excellent starting option.
When you go to make your choice, remember to keep in mind all of the factors you are working with.
How many chickens are you feeding? What are your space limitations? What about your budget? Do you expect to deal with rodents?
These are all essential factors in making the decision.
While every situation is different, we’ve gone with the Harris Farms Plastic Hanging Poultry Feeder as the best option to meet the needs of an average brood living in a small space.
If you have the feeder and your now looking for the feed, check out our article on the ultimate guide to Chicken Feed and find out exactly what you need to keep your chickens healthy and happy!
We hope you have enjoyed reading! Please leave your thoughts, questions, or ideas in the comments below and remember to share this article with your farm-fowl aficionado friends!