There are many good things about chickens and plenty of reasons to love them. What is less than ideal about chickens, however, is that they sometimes take restroom breaks in some of the most inopportune places. When nature calls, chickens answer, be it in their water, in their food, or anywhere else. Restroom breaks are indiscriminate if you happen to be a chicken.
While the chickens themselves are not the least bit embarrassed or inconvenienced by the locations at which the call of nature must be answered, we as chicken keepers cannot always say the same. Chickens may not always have the most awareness of their positioning when they relieve themselves, which not only means extra cleaning but also puts chickens at risk of consuming contaminated food or water. While elevated waterers that utilize nipples are a solution to this problem, not everyone has yet embraced such a system. Ground waterers are still in use amongst chicken keepers everywhere, and where there is ground water, there is bound to be poop.
In addition to waterers, feeders are often placed at ground level as well. The fact of the matter is that chickens happen to be ground dwellers so they need to be fed near to the ground in order to be able to reach feed without encountering obstacles or obstructions. This, again, can result in fecal matter in places it does not belong. Since chicken poop happens and happens often, it is up to us to turn the tables and make it so that poop is no longer a problem. Using a DIY waterer such as this one is great, but what about a feeder? How can feed be elevated so that it is still accessible to chickens while at the same time remaining free of unwanted chicken deposits?
The answer is a DIY PVC feeder. With some PVC pipe, you can create an elevated feeder that will resist feces contamination and will help with spillage and food waste at the same time. To start this project, you will need a length of PVC pipe. The length you choose should be based on the number of chickens you have and how often you wish to add food. If you have only a few chickens, a smaller section of pipe will work, but if you have a large flock, you may wish to go bigger.
Be sure the PVC pipe you choose is fairly wide, such as three inches. For arguments sake, let\'s say you purchased a section that is 4 feet long at your local hardware store. They should be able to cut it for you, and you might as well take advantage of that service. Have one foot of the pipe cut off and then reattach it with an elbow joint to give it a bend. On the ends, both at the ground level end near the elbow and at the top, you will need caps. There are various caps available, so go with what works best for you. The one on the bottom, however, needs to attach firmly so your feed does not spill out. You will then need to create holes in the lower portion for your chickens to access their feed. This can be done with a hole saw and again, the number of holes you add should depend on the size of your flock and how many chickens you want to be able to eat at one time. One hole or several can accommodate a few or quite many hungry chickens.
With your pipe cut and all of the angles bonded together, all that is left to do is hang it in your coop. This can be done with something as simple as zip ties. Once a zip tie is fastened in place, it will hold for a very long time. Use these to fasten your feeder to something sturdy and upright, such as a board supporting your coop. Once the feeder is in place, removed the top cap and pour feed inside. Check periodically for moisture accumulation as you do not want your feed to mold.
This PVC feeder will save you a good bit of money on food waste, be it due to scatter or contamination by feces. If the time comes that you must move it, simply cut the zip ties and reattach it elsewhere with a new set. This is also quite handy if you need to go out of town and have an inexperienced person watching over your flock as the feeder does the work for them. With a few zip ties and pipe components, a contamination-free feeder will be there for you to rely on time and time again.