Chicken feeders can either make your life easy or turn your days into an endless cycle of cleaning chores. The goal behind choosing the right feeder is simple. You just want a safe, healthy, cost-effective way to feed your chickens and promote egg production.
The problem is that chickens are extremely messy eaters. They flick, peck, and spill feed everywhere. The wayward specks attract rats and other pests that can lead to a wide range of problems for you and your feathery wards.
The pests not only eat the chicken feed, but they also contaminate it and spread diseases and parasites. The result is stressed chickens – and stressed chickens mean reduced egg production.
10 Best Chicken Feeders for the Backyard Chicken Farmer
Choosing the right chicken feeder isn’t so simple. You’ve got a vast array of choices out there but not all of them will suit your needs.
If you need a new chicken feeder, you can use this article to determine the best one for you and your plucky little friends. You should be able to find a feeder that fits the bill among the 10 best available online.
We have based our selections for this list on the opinion of established experts. Of course, having raised backyard chickens ourselves, we’ve had the pleasure of using these products on our birds. Rest assured, each one of them has received our stamp of approval.
1. Chicken Feeder – Holds 20 lbs
If your foremost concerns are waste and rodents, then this Chicken Feeder will put your mind at ease. By ensuring that the feed remains inside the feeder, the manufacturers designed both the receptacle and the feeding system for protection and zero feed loss.
This American-made, high-quality plastic feeding system has a holding capacity of 20 lbs. and is good for six birds. You will need more if you have a bigger flock.
You do not need to worry about where to situate this feeder. It will fit inside the coop or the middle of your yard. However, you should know that this chicken feeder is not for chicks.
No more squirrels, wild birds, mice or rats getting into your coop looking for feed on the ground 99% of feed stays in the feeder - Even with your most wasteful hen!
2. Grandpa’s Feeders Automated Chicken Feeder
Grandpa’s Feeders Automated Chicken Feeder holds 20 lbs. of feed. With dimensions of 17 X 15 X 12 inches, it will hold enough for six birds for 10 days. What we liked about this feeder is that it does a good job keeping the feed inside even while we were away on extended trips.
Made of tough, galvanized steel, this automated model is built to last while protecting your feed against rodents.
The automated system on this feeder will feed your chickens on demand. The unit uses a gravity-driven feeding mechanism. Your birds will need around two weeks to learn how to open the feeder when they are hungry.
The top part of the feeder is covered with an anti-flick grill. This prevents your birds from flicking the feed out. The feeder tray has side guards so that all your birds feed on the same side on the stepping plate.
Don’t worry about your birds getting their heads stuck under the feeder lid. The design protects against such an accident.
But chickens being chickens, we noticed that our birds had a tendency to stand on top of the feeder. The result was they spoiled the feed with their droppings.
Grandpa's Feeders provide Feed on Demand for your flock. At the same time, Grandpa's Feeders also provide a protected way of feeding your backyard chickens on demand, allowing them to access their food when hungry, ensuring optimal laying and happy chickens. Grandpa's Feeders also allow a number of chickens to eat at once.
3. Over EZ Chicken Feeder
The Over EZ chicken feeder is a premium feeder that can hold fifty pounds of feed. You can situate it indoors or outdoors. Yes, it’s a bit pricey. But this feeder will save you a good deal of money on feed over the long run. Indoors or outdoors, either way, you can be sure there won’t be a waste.
Depending on the number of chickens you happen to be raising, you can leave for weeks without having to refill. The food will stay dry with the port overhang and the recessed channel. These prevent water from sneaking in.
This is a gravity-fed unit, so as the chickens eat, more food will flow down. The system is easy, foolproof, and simple. When it does come time to refill, simply remove the lid and replace it when you’re done.
The Over EZ works well for large flocks of chickens twelve weeks and older. But because your chickens need to put their heads into the feeder to eat, it will not work for younger birds.
- EXTRA LARGE FEED STORAGE. The OverEZ chicken feeder allows three birds to feed at once and holds up to 50 pounds of feed to avoid recurring maintenance. With a chicken coop accessory this efficient, you’ll only have to refill every 4-6 weeks for 3-5 hens, 2-3 weeks for 6-11 hens, or every 1-2 weeks for 12-15 hens.
4. Little Giant Large Steel Poultry Feeder
The Little Giant Large Steel Poultry Feeder will hold up to 25 lbs of feed and can be either wall-mounted or used as a stand-alone feeder. This feeder is made of galvanized metal and resists rust.
The feed-saver grid on this feeder is designed to reduce food waste by preventing the chickens from kicking the food out of the feeder. The same system protects the feed from contamination and soiling.
The design of the feeder keeps the rain off the feed, reducing food waste, spoilage, and the risk of contamination. We like that this feeder is sturdy and solid. However, you should note that this feeder will not work for chicks.
- HIGH FEEDING CAPACITY - The feeder stores and dispenses up to 25 lbs. of mash, pellet or crumble feed.
- WALL MOUNTABLE - This poultry feeder can sit on the ground or can be mounted to a wall or frame. Mounting hardware not included.
- OPEN FLOW CHUTE DESIGN - The feeder has a specially designed chute that allows for steady food flow without blockage.
- DECREASES FEED WASTE - The feeder has a feed saver grid prevents bottom from overfilling and keeps birds from sweeping feed out of unit.
5. Little Giant Baby Chicken Feeder
This feeder is a low-maintenance and low-cost solution for feeding chicks. The Little Giant Baby Chicken Feeder is made of heavy-gauged, rust-proof galvanized steel and is small enough at 6 X 6 X 2.5 inches to fit into a cramped space.
The receptacle’s rounded, embossed edges reduce chafing and the risk of injury. The feeder has eight feeding holes that allow multiple chicks to feed at once.
What we like about this feeder is that it allows for an ordinary mason jar to be fitted on top to make a gravity feeder. Just fill the jar with starter feed and your chicks can feed off it for days without a refill.
6. Miller 9112 12lb Galvanized Hanging Poultry Feeder
The Miller 9112 12lb. Galvanized Hanging Poultry Feeder holds enough feed for 12 birds for 12 days. It’s easy to use and – given its capacity – compact enough at 12 X 10.1 X 12 inches so that you can hang it just about anywhere.
This feeder – which is apparently manufactured by an affiliate of Little Giant – is an excellent option if you happen to be raising a small flock that’s usually kept in coops.
This moderately-priced feeder works on a gravity-driven mechanism to keep feed trickling into the feeding trough with minimal loss and spoilage. It also allows both chickens and chicks easy access to feed. However, we recommend that you monitor feeding to ensure that feed flows evenly into the trough.
There will be times when your birds will stand on the cylinder to access the feed from the top. They can spoil their feed with their droppings this way as the feeder does not come with a lid to cover the top.
The lack of a lid – which the designers appear to have overlooked – also increases the risk of attracting pests. This is why we suggest that you hang this chicken feeder high enough to keep rodents away.
- This item is a Miller 9112 12lb. Galvanized Hanging Poultry Feeder
- Purpose of use for Farming, Livestock Care
- This product is manufactured in the United States
7. Harris Farms Hanging Poultry Feeder
The Harris Farms Hanging Poultry Feeder is an adjustable chicken feeder that can hold 15 lbs. of feed. This is an excellent purchase for anyone with a flock of 15 to 30 birds.
We liked this feeder’s adjustable functions. At 11.6 X 11.6 X 11 inches, the feeder is fitted with a three-point height modification utility, which allows you to control how much food flows into the feeding trough.
Some birds tend to get their beaks stuck in the adjustment holes so we suggest that you cover these. The feeding trough is embossed to prevent feed loss when your birds are feeding.
The feeder is easy to use. When you need to refill the receptacle, you simply pour the feed at the top.
However, you should note that the feeder does not come with a lid to cover the top. We found that this exposes the feed to dirt and contamination. We used a simple makeshift lid to protect the feed from exposure to contaminants.
8. Royal Rooster Chicken Feeder and Drinker
The Royal Rooster Chicken Feeder and Drinker is a high-end, rust-proof feeder made from durable, lightweight PVC and ABS plastic. This feeder is designed with unique divisions that discourage chickens from swiping the feed to the ground.
Each unit of the set measures 20 inches tall, 5 inches wide, and 5 inches deep. The feeder holds 6.5 lbs of feed.
This feeder comes with a drinker which holds up to a gallon of water – sufficient for six birds for a week. The drinker is valve-operated and activates when the chickens drink. This keeps the rest of the water clean and fresh. Still, we suggest that you closely monitor the water in the drinker to ensure quality.
What we liked the most about this feeder is that is the feeder tray and rain cover which keeps feeding protected from the weather and pests.
To use the feeder, you need to mount it on the walls of your coop at a height that suits your flock. Mounting the feeder on the walls of the coop also keeps the feeder away from rodents.
- Save time and money feeding your chickens. Innovative design for reduced wastage and clean water
- Feed only your chickens not the sparrows, squirrels or rodents. Rain cover for weather protection
- Hooks straight onto mesh or attach to a wall with free brackets included. 1 set suits 4-6 chickens
- 6.5lbs feeder, 1 gal. waterer, 20” tall, UV stable, durable PVC plastic, Australian made quality
9. Roamwild Rat Proof Chicken Feeder kit – Rat Proof Poultry Feeder
The Roamwild Rat Proof Chicken Feeder kit eliminates the need for rat poison and traps around your property. The system’s anti-spill design and patented pest-repelling technology allow you to feed your chickens without wasting any of your valuable feed on pests.
This simple, rat-proof poultry feeding system permits the hatch to deny pests access to the grain. After the frustrated rat gives up and leaves, the hatch automatically goes back to its normal position, waiting for the next chicken to come and feed.
This ensures that your chickens are fed but not the rats. This ingenious device is ideal for backyard chicken farmers who are dealing with a problematic pest infestation.
- VERMIN PROOF - Not just 100% Rat proof poultry feeder, but also mouse & large bird-proof. HYGENIC & NO MORE NEED FOR RAT POISON
- NO SETTINGS TO ADJUST - AUTOMATICALLY RODENT PROOF - INDIVIDUALLY spring-loaded feeding ports only let chickens feed. Patented
10. Ware Manufacturing Chicken Feeder Troughs
Ware Manufacturing’s Chicken Feeder Troughs consists of two simple and inexpensive feeders made of galvanized metal that prevents rusting. The design of the feeders features protective wires over the top of the troughs. The wires prevent chickens from scratching and flicking their food, which can be wasteful.
The troughs are easy to maintain but they tip over quite easily and can be prone to pests. Because the troughs can only hold a small amount of feed, you will need to refill them every day.
- 2 Pack Of Ware Chicken Feeder Trough
- A metal trough feeder made for backyard chickens.
- Wire scratch guard protects the food.
- Designed to help discourage chickens from climbing into and pooping in the feed.
- Trough measures 16 inches long by 6 inches wide by 6 inches high.
How to Choose the Right Feeder for Your Flock
Most retail feeders these days are built to withstand some misuse and abuse – but not much. The best ones feature sturdy, well-designed parts with metal reinforcements when such are needed. Unlike many cheap, poor-quality feeders, the best modern retail feeders usually include spill shields or grates. This help to stop your birds from pulling feed out of the feeder without eating it.
This can happen when your feeders are not set at the correct height, or you have different heights of birds in your flock. The spill shield or grate should help keep the feed in the pan and off the floor of your coop.
When looking for top-shelf retail equipment, always choose the best, tried-and-tested brands. That may sound snobbish, but we’ve thrown away so many feeders over the years that we’ve come to appreciate the quality offered by good brands.
Consider the size and age of your flock and where you intend to situate the feeder, as well. Do you need a hanging feeder or do you need a feeder that can be mounted on the wall of your chicken coop? Will a standalone feeder be ideal?
Cleaning is another important consideration. Designs that don’t disassemble for cleaning, or include porous materials like wood, are a real challenge when it comes to cleaning.
Plan on purchasing feeders made from plastics, PVC tubes, galvanized metal – or at the very least – well-painted or sealed wood. The paint or seal should deny bacteria or other disease-causing organisms a place to hide and thrive on the feeder.
Of course, each of these materials has its pros and cons. Galvanized metal can be prone to rust. Rust reduces the life span of a chicken feeder. In some cases, rust can even cause the contamination of feed.
On the other hand, plastic feeders – which eliminate the risk of rusting and feed contamination – can at times be so light that mature chickens will often tip them over.
Do you have a favorite chicken feeder and waterer for your backyard chickens? Let us know in the comments section below.