Chicken Feeder for the Snap Lock Chicken Coop
The snap lock chicken coops are the best coops on the market in my opinion, but they do not come with any feeders. That is something that you would have to provide. I did quite a bit of research to find or build the best, most cost effective feeder for the snap lock chicken coops.
I originally thought I would build one out of large diameter PVC pipe, with a ‘Y’ fitting at the bottom for the chickens to access the feed. This would allow for a lot of feed. I decided against it, because the PVC was really expensive. It was going to cost be about $55 to build two. Another problem was I would have to figure out a way to attach it to the coop, and given that it is plastic, I don’t like to make holes in it. Also, the proximity to the roosting bars would make it possible for the chickens to manure the feeders, and if it is possible, you can guarantee they will do it.
I finally decided on the #88 Nelson Original Creep Feeder. This 10 pound feeder is made for baby pigs, puppies, poultry, and rabbits. It is galvanized, and its size of 8” x 8” and 12.5” tall gives it a perfect fit inside the snap lock chicken coop nesting boxes. It fits perfectly in the small or large snap lock chicken coop nests. In the small coop, you do give up one of the nests, but the two remaining nests are plenty for the five chickens that coop can hold. It is more of an issue with the larger coop. The larger coop can hold up to 15 layers, or 20 broilers. If you are doing all layers, this could be an issue, because you should have at least 3 nests for the birds. The large coop provides 4, so you could only put one feeder in the remaining nest. With that many birds, you would have to refill it every other day, and there might be fights over the one feeder. You could remedy that by providing scratch grains, and lots of good pasture and kitchen scraps as supplemental feed. Or, you could put in two feeders, but you may end up with eggs all over the place, as 2 nesting boxes for 15 birds is not quite enough. I am using 2 feeders, because I will have 8 broilers and 8 layers in the coop, which will work just fine.
One thing that I do not like about this feeder is that it is too open. The chickens can get the feed too easily, so they tend to put it all over the floor and waste feed. However, if you put a piece of plastic across the feeder to make it more difficult to do this, they will waste a lot less. I still have a chicken that does this occasionally, but it’s not too bad.
I’ve used this feeder for a couple of years now, and when I got my new larger snap lock chicken coop, I decided to buy two more for my larger flock. I was dismayed to find out that Tractor Supply discontinued the product. I found one in stock in my area, and they have no plans to restock. I did find some online at Lambert Vet Supply. Incidentally, you will notice that one of my feeders has a top on it. I would not pay the extra money for the top if you are setting it up in the nest of a snap lock chicken coop, as the chickens can’t get to the top, because the roof of the nest is too close.
See how I added the plastic strip:
1. All you need is a drill, a bit for metal, tin snips, scissors, some zip ties, and some 1.5 inch to 2 inch wide plastic.
2. You can use just about any plastic you want, but I used this product from Lowes…….Screen Tight 1.5 Inch Brown Porch Screening System Cap…….It was $3.66 for way more than I needed, but it was the only thing I could find.
3. Cut a strip of plastic about 9 inches long. I used tin snips to cut this, as regular scissors are not strong enough.
4. Drill three holes in the plastic, one in the middle, and one near each end.
5. Drill a hole on each end of the feeder. You will need a drill bit for metal.
6. Zip-tie the plastic to the feeder. Pull tight and cut off the excess. Make sure the middle zip tie is pulled under so the chickens can’t cut themselves on the sharp plastic end.
7. Place towards the front of the nesting box. When you shut and latch the nesting box, it will be slightly more difficult to close, because the top of the feeder barely touches, but it works just fine.