This is a project I did about a month ago or so but just now got around to posting it. It is derived from the great book Build It Better Yourself that I found at a McKay's Bookstore. My design is pretty much the same dimensions as the example in the book except that I modified just a few measurements so that I'd be able to use some more free scrap-wood that I had laying around.
You just open and pour the feed in and gravity and hungry chickens do the rest. The two main improvements I might make if I was building another: 1) Higher lip on the feeder trough to help keep some more of the feed from spilling when the girls get vigorous. 2) Possibly make the bottom of the inside of the bin slanted forward to help push the feed from the back of the bin towards the trough.
The materials I used were salvaged from my pile of scraps that have come from god only knows where.
Basic materials list I used:
- 1 piece of plywood big enough to cover the back of the whole bin (about 24" x 28")
- 2 @ 1"x2" boards one to act as a brace across the top back of the bin and one to act as the front of the feed trough (both 24" wide)
- 2 @ 1"x6" boards for the sides of the bin (roughly 24-28" long)
- 2 @ 1"x10" boards to use to cover the front of the bin (24" W)
- 1 @ 1"x8" board for the bottom of the feed bin and trough (24"W)
- 1 or 2 pieces of 1"x10" or 1"x12" boards at least 26 inches wide total, to serve as the top of your feed bin. (I used 2 pieces of 1x12 and extended them even further over the sides to avoid having to cut them)
- 2 @ 1"x4" boards about 9 inches long each with a 45 degree bevel on one end of each board to serve as the sides of the feed trough and mount the front of the trough to. Length of these doesn't have to be exact but you have to keep them protruding an equal amount from the front of the bin and you want the front of the trough to meet up with the bottom of the bin/trough so there isn't a gap for feed to fall through.
- 1-2 Hinges. Pretty much any will do if you mount the lid the way I did. If you use a single board roof you'll probably want to use two hinges to flip it forward or backwards.
- Some nails and screws. I recommend a pneumatic-nailer if you have one for piecing it together and then follow up with selectively placed screws. If you don't have one just use an appropriate Penny nail size to hold things in place while you put in some a few screws (unless you just want to use all screws, but that will take longer and cost just a little bit more).
A feeder this size will hold about a 50# sack of pellet or crumble feed. Unless you make the lip of the trough where it extends up a little bit more than standard though, I wouldn't recommend putting that much feed in at a time. This is mainly due to the fact that some of the chickens can get squirrelly and start pecking like crazy and strow a lot of feed onto the ground. The one time I put a whole bag in one night, the next morning all of it was on the ground in front of the feeder thanks to the birds digging for some grain or something down under the pellets. I usually but about a 3 gallon bucket full in there every other day (been using a mix of layer pellets, soybean meal, crushed corn, wheat, and oats). If you keep food in it all the time it is plenty wide enough to feed a bunch of birds; I want to say that in the original schematic they claimed it was good for 30-50 birds, but I wouldn't use it by itself for many more than I have in there right now (24).
And obviously it is going to last longer and look better if you give it a coat of paint, but painting is usually on my back burner, and since this is under a roof I haven't worried too much about it weathering so far.