How to Make A DIY Chicken Feeder and Waterer (From Old Buckets)

Are you a DIY type of person looking for the best chicken feeder to prevent waste?  Do you want a way to supply water to your birds without having to run the hose over every day?

This how-to will teach you a quick and inexpensive way to build your own homemade chicken feeder with a 5 gallon bucket and some PVC pipes.

We’ll also be making a waterer using another 5 gallon plastic bucket and some poultry cups!

“Can it get any better?”, you ask.

The answer is yes, because you may already have a lot of the supplies you need laying around the house!

So gear up and get ready to make the best DIY chicken feeder around!

What you’ll need

What You Need

  • A proper workspace - First things first, make sure you have a safe workplace with enough room to handle power tools. Any area with enough room to move around your limbs and not knock anything over will be fine.

Supplies for DIY chicken feeder

  • Two 3 inch wide, 90 deg. PVC elbows – In this DIY chicken feeder PVC elbows will act as feeding tubes for your chickens
  • Electric hand saw - You’re going to be doing a lot of sawing when crafting your zero waste chicken feeder so we suggest an electric saw. However, a standard hand saw may be able to get the job done with some extra effort in cutting and filing afterward.
  • Marker (sharpies work)
  • Power drill
  • 3.5 inch hole saw attachment
  • PVC cement
  • Bucket – For this homemade chicken feeder 5 gallon buckets are the way to go!

Supplies for DIY chicken feeder

  • Power drill
  • 3 inch drill bit
  • Poultry watering cups
  • Teflon tape (buy in plumbing section)

Building a Homemade Chicken Feeder

Here's a simple DIY instruction on how to build a homemade chicken feeder:

Step # 1. Cut one end off of your PVC pipes

Now that you have your supplies, you’re ready for the first step in constructing one of our favorite DIY automatic chicken feeders.

To make your 5 gallon bucket chicken feeder, you’ll start by cutting one of the thick top quarters off either side of each PVC pipe you’re using.

Position the portion of the pipe you're ready to cut so it hangs off of the edge of the surface you’re working on. 

Make sure it’s stable!

Time to get to work with that hand saw.

Start the saw and slowly push down to remove the entire top quarter. You should have one side with a top quarter still attached, and another with only the middle portion of the tube remaining.

Step # 2. File down PVC pipe

After you’ve finished cutting the top quarter off, you can use a file or choose a sandpaper to smooth down the edge of your PVC pipe.

There’s no need to be too meticulous - just make sure it's somewhat smooth to be sure there are no excess pieces of plastic falling off into your chicken feed while the birds use their automatic chicken feeder system.

Step # 3. Mark the area for your feeding tube

Set your PVC elbow down on the surface you’re working on with the cut-off portion facing the ground.

Rest the remaining top quarter on your 5 gallon bucket and raise it about 4-6 inches to make room for the feed to pour in.

Now, press the top quarter against the bucket and use a marker to trace its outside edge.

Step # 4. Drill holes in the bucket

The circle you’ve marked in the last step will show you the area that you need to drill out with your hole saw.

Attach the 3.5-inch hole saw attachment to your power drill, start your drill up, and push it through the bucket.

You can repeat this process one more time at the same height if you have multiple chickens that need feeding.

Put enough room between holes so the chickens can both fit while they use the homemade chicken feeder simultaneously.

Remember to remove the drilled-out plastic circles from the inside of the bucket once you’re done!

Step # 5. Attach PVC pipe to bucket

On the outside of the pipe apply a small layer of PVC cement to the ridge formed by the top quarter and mid-section.

The glue dries quickly so work with speed and remember: you don't need very much to get the job done.

Next, connect the bucket to the PVC pipe by sliding the thinner portion of the pipe all the way into the hole you’ve cut out in the bucket.

While you’re sliding it in, turn the pipe so that the angled section is facing downwards towards the bottom of the bucket

The top quarter on which you’ve applied glue should wind up pressing firmly against the bucket. Add some pressure and give it a quick moment to dry (around 10 seconds).

After the pipe is fully attached, go ahead and let go. Give your glue 5-10 minutes extra time to dry – you can never be too careful when looking after your birds!

Step # 6. Fill that bucket up!

All you have left to do now is set your feeder in its desired location, pour in that glorious food, and pop the top on.

This is a great DIY no waste chicken feeder for tight spaces, so don’t be afraid to try it out in a small chicken coop.

If you’re still wondering what your birds should be pecking on, you can click this link to learn what to feed your chickens and find out important information about chicken feed right here

And there you have it – the best chicken feeder design for all you DIY-lovers!

Having some trouble and decided that DIY wasn't for you? No problem! Click here to find out our #6 top recommendations for chicken feeders! 

Otherwise, you can check out this DIY video tutorial on how to make a chicken feeder using buckets:

Building a Homemade Chicken Waterer

Now that you know how to make your own chicken feeder, here's a two-step tutorial on how to build a homemade chicken waterer:

Step # 1. Drill out holes for your watering cups

Pick a location for the watering cups depending on the height of your chickens and what surface your homemade chicken waterer will be resting on.

I’d suggest having a concrete block (or anything with similar proportions) to rest your waterer on when it’s complete.

This way you can have the holes closer to the bottom of the bucket while still giving the chickens room to drink.

Now, use your 3 inch bit on the drill saw to drill a hole in the desired locations.

Drill one or two more holes at the same height. 

​Again, make sure you drill them a proper distance apart so multiple chickens will be able to use the waterer at once.

Step # 2. Attach your watering cups to the bucket

Take your Teflon tape and begin wrapping it around the threaded end of the poultry watering cups.

Keep wrapping until it’s thick enough to be tightly wedged in the hole you’ve drilled. Around five to six full circles should be enough.

You’ll then begin inserting the wrapped threads firmly into the holes you drilled earlier. Don't be afraid to twist and really jam it in there.

If it’s not a tight enough fit, water will leak out of the holes in the bucket.

Try starting off slowly and gradually increasing pressure as you twist in a clockwise rotation.

Once the watering cup is fitted, make sure to position it so the divet in the spoon-looking attachment will collect water.

Bada boom bada bing, you’re all done!

What do you think? Could this be the best chicken waterer you've ever built in two steps? 

However, if you want to check out some others before committing, take a look through this list.

Now you have a DIY no spill chicken feeder AND a homemade waterer. Go ahead and show them off!

For more information on chicken waterers and designs, grab some inspiration from our review on the top 3 chicken waterers

If you have just built your chicken waterer but it's the middle of winter, don't get caught up! Check out our top 10 hacks you can execute to keep that water from freezing!


The End of our Journey

How have you enjoyed this simple how-to guide?

There’s a long list of reasons to keep your chickens happy, and supplying them with the best chicken feeder and waterer is always a good first step.

And when you treat your chickens well, they’ll treat you well, too!

If this article made you feel like the responsible bird owner we know you are, give us a share to help spread the info, and of course, never be afraid to tell us how you feel in the comments!

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