Best Chicken Feeder for Your Situation and Flock

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When it comes to raising chickens, it’s important to invest in a good chicken feeder to prevent waste. There are many chicken feeders to choose from. Most are fairly inexpensive. However, choosing a feeder that allows for feed waste on your farm, could be causing your feed bill to raise. Keep reading to look at the factors that will help you decide what feeder is best for your situation.

Factors to consider:

  • Ease of refilling
  • Ease of cleaning container
  • How many chickens can use it at one time 
  • Will feed stay clean and dry if used outside
  • Likelihood of accidental feed spills
  • Weatherproof/longevity – made from galvanized metal or sturdy plastic
chickens eating from feeder
There are several things to consider when choosing a chicken feeder: access, stability, keeping feed clean and dry, having enough access points ~ Image credit: Dawn Head

Types of Chicken Feeders

When it comes to feeding chickens, there are several different types of feeders you can use. There are basic feeders and some that are more advanced such as treadle feeders. Some examples include:

  • Hanging feeders
  • Trough-style
  • Range or bucket feeders
  • Treadle feeders

Hanging feeders are typically hung from the ceiling or a perch. They have an opening on the top where food can be poured in. Hanging feeders keep the feed further from the ground where it is less likely to be filled with excrement or dirt. These feeders also allow you to adjust the height for a growing chick. These can hold anywhere from 1 lb to 25 lbs of feed, depending on the feeder.

Trough-style feeders provide a long box filled with food which chickens can access at any time. These feeders will provide access to a large number of birds at a time, but will need to be filled often. They also will not provide any protection from rain or weather if used outside.

Range and bucket feeders are designed specifically for outdoor use and provide easy access to large amounts of food stored either in the ground or a hopper-style dispenser. Feed will be protected from the elements and the feeder will not need to be filled very often. However, there will likely not be many access points on the feeder.

Treadle chicken food dispensers are ideal for situations in which you want to keep pests away. These chicken feed dispensers require chickens to stand on a lever to access the food. These feeders will be more costly but will reduce feed waste if birds are kept outdoors or where pests are a problem.

Most feeders will be made from galvanized metal or tough plastic which are weatherproof and easy to clean. Some DIY feeders will be made of wood. Keep reading to see our list of feeders that will keep your feed costs low.

Best Chicken Feeder to Prevent Waste Review

1. RentACoop Chicken Feeder

The first product to make it to our list is this fantastic offering from RentACoop. With a completely waterproof design and two feeding ports, it has an incredible capacity that will come in really handy for those who want low-maintenance feeding.

The first thing that stands out about this chicken feeder from RentACoop is the extra-large capacity it offers. It holds an amazing 20 pounds of feed at once, so you only have to refill it once a month for feeding two hens!

We also really like how easy it is to refill since you just pop off the lid, pour in the feed, and replace the lid. The simple bucket-based design leaves very little that could possibly go wrong with it, meaning it will last you for years to come.

The chicken has to poke it’s head fully into the feeding port to access the food, which means it can save you a lot of feed from being wasted. It will keep the feed out of the elements and help deter pests.

The RentACoop Chicken Feeder isn’t effective with very young chicks because they can crawl inside the feeding port, so they would still be able to create waste by scratching around.

You can place the feeder indoors or outdoors since it’s completely waterproof, protecting the feed from rain. Nonetheless, the design is great for deterring other birds, squirrels, mice, and rats, so you won’t use more feed than necessary.

The RentACoop Chicken Feeder is also 100% food-grade plastic and comes fully assembled and, therefore, ready to be used right away. It’s recommended for 4 – 6 hens, but you may wish to purchase more if you have a particularly timid bird in your flock.

RentACoop Chicken Feeder Pros and Cons

The RentACoop Chicken Feeder is very good at preventing waste because the chicken needs to stick its head right inside the feeder to get at the feed. We also love the large capacity that this feeder offers.

The RentACoop Chicken Feeder can’t prevent waste from very young chicks, and while it does deter other neighborhood vermin, it isn’t wholly pest-proof.

  • Can be hung up or sat on the floor
  • Completely waterproof
  • Extra-large capacity
  • Easy to refill
  • Suitable for indoor or outdoor use
  • Not suitable for small chicks
  • Not completely pest-proof

2. Roamwild PestOff Rat Proof Chicken Feeder

The second chicken feeder to make it to our list is the rat-proof device from PestOff. This is a great choice if you suspect that you’re losing more feed to the local rats than you are to your chickens.

This chicken feeder from PestOff prevents food waste by hanging off the ground. It also features a patent pending design with a spring-loaded feeding port. This design keeps crawling pests from accessing the feed once they crawl onto the feeder.

The Roamwild PestOff Rat Proof Chicken Feeder also has a decent capacity of around eight pounds. With two feeding windows, it is recommended for flocks with around four to six hens. If you go away for the weekend, this chicken feeder will come in handy. Learn how long can chickens go without food.

The feeder comes with a chain and brackets which you can mount. This allows you to suspend the feeder in the air. The design allows the ports to shut off with the weight of the pest hanging on to the feeder trying to access the food. The design will not work if the feeder is not hung.

As the rat or squirrel holds on to the feeder, the port slides closed under their weight. The food is closed off. Your chickens, however, being taller, can happily peck away for hours on end!

The Roamwild PestOff Rat Proof Chicken Feeder is weatherproof. The feed isn’t wasted when it rains, and it doesn’t clog up in the feeding port.

This feeder also comes with a guarantee included that offers your money back, in full, if you’re not 100% satisfied.

Roamwild PestOff Rat Proof Chicken Feeder Pros and Cons

We love the fact that the Roamwild PestOff Rat Proof Chicken Feeder is completely pest-proof, preventing wastage of feeds overnight due to squirrels, mice, and rats.

This feeder must hang off the ground due to its slim, top-heavy design. The pest-proof feature also won’t work on the ground.

  • 100% pest-proof design
  • Comes with hanging brackets and chain
  • Weatherproof 
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Easy to refill
  • Must be suspended
  • Limited capacity
  • The spring-loaded mechanism needs regular washing to retain function

3. RentACoop Outdoor Chicken Feeder

Our third pick is another feeder from RentACoop. It seems that RentACoop sure has mastered the art of offering chicken feeders with great capacities!

Another chicken feeder from RentACoop but with a really different design for those who prefer metal feeders. This feeder can’t be hung but needs to be screwed to the outside of your chicken coop walls. Alternately, it can sit on a stand.

You can remove the lid easily. You can add up to 25 pounds of feed at one time. The RentACoop Outdoor Chicken Feeder is made from metal. This makes it more durable, although some customers have complained that it has arrived slightly dented.

It is based on an undercover trough design at the bottom with metal bars to keep other wildlife out.

There’s no way that your hens could scratch around in the food, and pests would find it very difficult to reach the food, so waste is massively minimized. There is also a large roof that extends forward, covering the entire trough area so that rain can’t get in and spoil your feed.

RentACoop Outdoor Chicken Feeder Pros and Cons

We love the way this feeder looks, and as the largest capacity feeder on our list, this would be an excellent option for keeping low-maintenance chickens or for a large herd.

  • Waterproof
  • Good at deterring pests
  • Easily screws to your coop, off the ground
  • Visually pleasing design
  • Extra-large capacity
  • More suitable for outdoor use
  • Needs to be screwed in place
  • Can get dented in transit

4. Royal Rooster Chicken Feeder and Waterer Set

The fourth feeder we picked to feature is European-made and has the bonus of being a matching set, with both feeder and waterer. This chicken feeder from Royal Rooster is great at reducing waste from your chickens, saving you money spent on extra feed.

You can suspend this product off the ground, and you can use brackets to attach it to a wall, which comes with the package. It can also be hung straight onto a mesh fence, which is really handy since that means it’s ready to be used straight away.

Your hens peck the food from a barred feeding tray that features a rain cover to keep it nice and dry in all weather conditions. Unfortunately, it has the smallest capacity of all the feeders we featured.

It holds just 6.5 pounds of feed, so if you’re looking for something more low-maintenance, then this isn’t it. That said, if you are happy to refill the feeder more often than you do, you get the added perk of the matching waterer.

The one-gallon waterer will go a long way in helping ensure a clean supply of water, free from outside contamination. Both devices are made from durable PVC plastic that is UV stable, so you can use it indoors or outdoors.

They are easy to fill, and one set would suit a small flock of around four to six chicks.

Royal Rooster Chicken Feeder Pros and Cons

We love the fact that this comes as a set, so you can keep both your food and water source dry and clean. We don’t like the fact that the feeder is so small, as you’ll definitely find yourself having to fill it up every few days.

  • Available as a set
  • Durable and easy to use
  • Suitable for outdoor and indoor use
  • Hangs straight to mesh
  • Small capacity; needs refilling often
  • Feeder can’t be purchased on its own

5. Happy Henhouse Treadle Feeder

Last but not least, the fifth feeder to make it to our list is the treadle feeder from Happy Henhouse. This premium feeder is unique to this list because it is the only feeder that is perfect for feeding a mixed flock.

Our last feeder from Happy Henhouse is made from 100% rust-proof aluminum, which makes it an ideal feeder for both indoors and outdoors. It can be used in any climate and is really durable, meaning it will last you for years to come.

The Happy Henhouse Treadle Feeder holds up to 20 pounds of food, so you don‘t need to refill it very often, and with different feeding trays, it can hold three different types of feed.

It keeps the food enclosed and reduces waste by featuring bars across the feeding trays to stop your chickens from wasting the food. The feeder opens automatically when your chickens step onto the platform, and its soft close lid won’t hurt your chickens when it closes.

Once your chickens return to roost, the feeder closes so that other local wildlife can’t access the contents. The Happy Henhouse Treadle Feeder also has a patented design.

Poultry enthusiasts designed it carefully, and it is suitable for all breeds of chicken, as well as other poultry. It comes fully assembled and includes a training guide to help you teach your chickens how to use it.

It needs just over one pound of weight to activate the lid, so it wouldn’t be suitable for very young chickens.

Happy Henhouse Treadle Feeder Pros and Cons

We love the fact that the Happy Henhouse Treadle Feeder has three different feeding trays, which means you can feed your other poultry from the same feeder. Another advantage to this feeder is it’s made from 100% rust-free aluminum.

You would need a second feeder for younger chicks when you have them.

  • 100% rust-proof
  • Suitable for all climates
  • Weight activated
  • Doesn’t need to be hung or fixed anywhere
  • Can offer a mix of different feeds and water
  • Not suitable for younger chickens
  • Will take a bit of training for your chickens to use

Chicken Feeder to Prevent Waste Buyers Guide

Before choosing the chicken feeder that is best for you, it is best to know what features to look for and understand each of them. That is because there are a lot of different options available these days, and they all differ slightly, depending on your flock size, needs, and preferences.

Some of the things you should consider before making your final choice are the type of feeder you want, the materials it’s made from, the size, and the cost. Find out why those factors are important.

1. Feeder Type

There are many different types of chicken feeders available. Which one is best for you will depend on where you plan to put it, as well as the size of your flock. Here are the various types you can choose from:

Open Container

An open container, such as a bucket or bowl, can work well but ideally only for your short-term needs, while you look at other options. 

Not only is it open to pests and outside contamination, but you’re also likely to see a lot of wastage as the chickens will scratch around in it, sending food flying everywhere!.

Trough Chicken Feeder

This type of feeder is great if you have a larger flock since it allows all of your chickens to eat at the same time. If the trough comes with a guard, you will likely not have much waste. However, you will need to fill this type of feeder often unless it has a hopper.

Bell Chicken Feeder

These are great for cooped up smaller flocks, or you can use several of these for larger flocks. You can also hang this feeder easily to help prevent wastage.

Treadle Chicken Feeder

If you have free-range hens, then treadle chicken feeders are great since your chickens can access the food, but not vermin. Mows treadle chicken feeders will also have the added benefit of being waterproof so that the feed doesn’t spoil if it rains.

DIY PVC Tube Chicken Feeder

These chicken feeders have really good capacity and will help to minimize wastage from spills. The only drawback is that you might need one of these for every chicken you have, as only one bird can feed at a time. Even with the best chicken feeder, it is best to have more than one feeder out for the chickens so the most aggressive and domineering birds don’t take them over, excluding the less aggressive chickens.

2. Material (Plastic/Steel)

The material your feeder is made from is important since it will affect how durable and long-lasting it is.

It may also affect the weight of the feeder, which is important if you plan on hanging it.

Galvanized metal feeders will be rust resistant and will typically last a long time. Hard plastic feeders can also last a long time, but they are more likely to fade and become brittle in the elements.

3. Size

Size or capacity is also essential. Ideally, you’ll want all of your chicks to be able to eat at the same time, plus it will affect how often you have to feed them. It is recommended that around six centimeters of feeder space is needed for each chicken you own.

4. Cost

As with everything in life, the cost of a feeder will be important. But don’t let yourself automatically be drawn to the lowest cost feeder, as it may only be suitable for a single chicken.

Or, the lowest cost option may also be the flimsiest, and you’ll find that you have to replace it all the time because it keeps breaking. Consider the cost in relation to how many feeders you’ll need, along with how long they’ll last.

Also, if it comes with a warranty on the product, guaranteeing its lifespan. A feeder that lasts you a lifetime will be worth the extra money in the long run.

Feeders that allow for the least amount of feed waste will save you a lot of money.

5. Pest-Proofing

Last but not least, consider how pest-proof the feeder is. You don’t want a feeder that can be easily accessed by lots of insects and vermin as otherwise, you’ll end up feeding the whole neighborhood!

Not only will poor feeders attract predators to eat the feed, but it can attract predators that can harm your flock.

FAQs about Chicken Feeders

Should I Hang My Chicken Feeder?

Many people choose to hang their chicken feeders. If you have somewhere appropriate to hang your feeder, then there are a couple of different reasons as to why this might be a good idea.

The main reason is that chickens can waste an awful lot of food by knocking their feeders over. Hanging the feeders can help to prevent this.

Being elevated off the ground also means that your feeder will be more protected. Many things can contaminate chicken feed including the chickens walking through the feeder and insects. Hanging the feeder will keep the food cleaner overall.

Where Should I Put My Chicken Feeder?

The ideal place to put your chicken feeder is just inside the door of your chicken coop. Inside the coop, the feeder will be more protected from the elements. It will also help to encourage your birds to sleep inside the coop at night.

It’s important to do everything you can to encourage the birds to nest in their boxes. This way, you won’t have to go on an egg hunt every morning before breakfast.

Having the feed inside will protect if from the elements and deter pests.

How Many Chicken Feeders Do I Need?

When choosing a feeder, keep in mind the number of birds you have. Depending on the size of your flock, you will need to have several chicken feeders with several holes/access points. This will allow all the chickens to access it when they want to eat. When choosing feeders for a larger flock, you will need to decide between having a few feeders with many access points, or many feeders with fewer access points. Often, the choice comes down to how often you will want to fill the feeders.

Having more opportunities can mean a less stressful environment, especially if bossy hens have a favorite feeder. You don’t want them restricting access to your weaker or less dominant hens.

Around six centimeters of feeder space per chicken over six weeks old is recommended. However, it’s not quite as clear cut as that. Unfortunately, it will depend from flock to flock and whether they are all comfortable eating together.

More timid chicks may lose out at dinner time from fear of approaching the feeder in larger flocks. More aggressive chicks will also eat more than they need to, especially when they’re faced with competition for food.

This is why it’s important that you have enough feeders for your flock. The best way to work out how many chicken feeders you need is to watch your flock eat.

Make an assessment yourself as to whether they’re all eating enough and, if not, add another feeder or two. It will be a huge benefit for less aggressive breeds such as cochins and Polish chickens

How Many Times a Day Should I Feed My Chickens?

Throughout the day, you should give your chicken access to a constant supply of food. Whether this means you feed them once in the morning or several times throughout the day will depend on you and the capacity of your feeder.

Depending on what brand of feed you are using, the food manufacturers may recommend an amount of food per chicken, around 120mg normally. 

Ensure that you clean the feeding area regularly. This is especially important if you’re feeding them scraps so that you don’t attract flies, insects, rats, and mice.

If chickens have feed available at all times, they will limit themselves to only eat what they need.

Do You Put Food and Water in Chicken Coop at Night?

When your chickens return to their roost, they should sleep pretty soundly all night with no need for food or water. But, it is always a good rule of thumb to let your animals have access to clean water and food at all times.

Recommendation of the Best Chicken Feeder to Prevent Waste

All the feeders that made it to this list offer something slightly different to suit your needs and flock.

Our personal favorite for the best chicken feeder to prevent waste is the incredibly efficient and straightforward plastic feeder from RentACoop. It sits at number one on our list.

We love the fact that it can remain on the floor or hang from its handle, indoors or outdoors. It’s ready to go, right away. It also has an extra-large capacity, holding 20 pounds of chicken feed. So depending on your flock size, you only need to refill it every so often.

It’s really easy to refill. It is completely waterproof so you can use its capacity to the maximum. You won’t have to worry about the food spoiling after rain.

You can choose whether you want the feeding ports to be on the corners, or opposite each other, depending on your chosen placement. Upgrade your chicken feeder today to start saving money on wasted feed, and you won’t be sorry!