How-To: Chicken Feeder from PVC Pipe

I’m a big fan of these feeders.  In terms of being low-cost, easy to assemble, lightweight and durable, they are as good as it gets!  We use these feeders for both our egg-layers and our broiler chickens.  Each feeder holds about 15 lbs of feed and one is sufficient for a broiler pen of 80 birds.

Materials:

  • 6-inch PVC pipe, Schedule 40 or lighter.  (You can sometimes find this inexpensively at your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore)
  • 1/2″ plywood (minimum thickness)
  • 3/4″ plywood (minimum thickness)
  • 1.25″ and 1.75″ wood or drywall screws
  • rebar or electrical metal conduit (also something you can pick up at the Habitat ReStore if you keep an eye out)

Tools:

  • Circular saw
  • Hand saw
  • Band saw
  • Cordless drill
  • Flat drill bit for boring holes.  Same diameter as the rebar or electrical metal conduit.
  • Measuring Tape
  • Permanent Marker

Step 1:  Measure your pipe to 5 feet in length and mark around the pipe with a permanent marker.

Step 2:  Prop the pipe on a sawhorse, or a couple of garbage cans and cut on your marks with an old handsaw.  This may dull the teeth of the saw, especially over time, so use an old one if possible.

Step 3:  Measure the diameter of the pipe and calculate the exact center of the circle.  Draw a line down each side of the pipe to mark where you will cut the pipe in half.  Using the printed words on the pipe may help to serve as a guide to verify that the line is straight.

Step 4:  Secure the pipe on a sawhorse and cut down the line with a circular saw.  Wear safety glasses, as the PVC shavings are bad news.  It is a very good idea to have a helper holding the two halves apart as you cut.  The halves tend to fold in on one another as you move down the pipe.

I don’t have a picture of this step….was too busy cutting!   It’s not difficult though, so don’t be afraid to fire up the circular saw.

Step 5:  Trace the end of the pipe onto a piece of wood with a pencil, making a template.  Use a bandsaw to cut 2 half-circles per feeder out of 3/4″ plywood (can be thicker).  These will fit into the the ends of the feeder, so they must be the correct size.

Step 6:  Cut 7.25″ x 7.25″ squares out of 1/2″ (or thicker) plywood. If you have the means, you can trim the corners off, as shown in this post.   Doing so will give you one less thing to catch your leg on while feeding.

Step 7:  Insert the half-circles into the ends of the pipe and secure with 1.75″ wood screws, spaced evenly around.  If your plywood begins to split, drill holes instead and then put in the screws.

Then, attach the squares to the half-circles with two or three 1.25″ screws. The screws should be short enough that they don’t come out through other side of the half-circle.

Step 8:  Using a flat drill bit, bore a hole through each square piece of plywood, at the correct diameter to fit the handle.

It’s incredibly useful to have the handle so that you can quickly lift the feeder out of the broiler pen with one hand, while propping up the lid with the other hand.  The handle also acts as a barrier to keep the chickens from climbing in the feeder and scratching out the pellets.  Don’t skimp and skip this step.

Step 9: Cut a piece of electrical conduit (easily done with an old hacksaw) or a piece of rebar…anything less than about 3/4″ diameter can be used as a handle.  Insert into the holes, and secure with a long screw inserted from the top of the square plywood.

Allow the Quality Assurance Cat to inspect your work.

Now you’re ready to feed chickens!

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4 Comments

Filed under Project Start a Farm

4 responses to “How-To: Chicken Feeder from PVC Pipe

  1. Randy Smith

    Looks great thanks for the idea. Think this should be easy enough to make.

  2. Denny Emily Reiter

    This looks great. We did something similar but used PVC gutter rather than pipe. I save the tricky cutting of the pipe the long way but other than that This looke just as easy to make. Great job.

  3. I used similar PVC feeders this year, but it seemed like I needed two or three feeders instead of only one in a 10×12 pen with 75-80 broilers. How often do you have to fill it? Also, do you adjust the height of the feeder as the broilers get older? Thanks for posting this.

    • Broilers will eat as much feed as you can give them, especially after a couple weeks of age. This feeder type definitely limits them, but that is a good thing. Our Cornish Cross broilers use these feeders after they leave the brooder at about 2 weeks old, through 7 weeks old at which time we butcher them at an average carcass weight of 3.5 lbs. We keep 75-80 broilers in a pen and fill the feeder to capacity twice daily. That is a healthy rate of gain and if you give them as much feed as they can possibly eat, they will get overly large and your feed efficiency will be reduced. It’s a good thing for them to forage a little in the grass if they are slightly hungry. They catch grasshoppers and eat leaves that way.
      Regarding feeder height, we use chick feeders in the brooders and then they use these 6 inch PVC feeders after 2 weeks of age.

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