Coop Improvements

I'm tinkering with my morning routine again.  It is my seemingly eternal hope that by arranging, maneuvering, fussing or manipulating I will be able to create a more relaxed morning without actually getting up any earlier.  Maybe I am delusional, but I have not yet given up the belief that with the proper coordination I will be able to make my morning minutes bend to my will, work harder for me, and other such efficient-sounding blahty-blah.  I really don't want to get  up earlier.

My latest efforts to bend time have to do with the chickens.  They eat and they grow and then they eat more and grow more.  And so on.  Because their food and water dishes have not grown along with the chickens, they now need to be cleaned and filled on a daily (rather than twice weekly) basis.  Bleh.  Another morning chore I can ill afford.  Some mornings we are so short on time that the food doesn't actually make it all the way out to the food pan in the chicken coop.  Here the chickies are eating from a brownie pan full of pellet feed that I hurriedly slapped on the ground at the bottom of our back steps before dashing off to work.

This weekend I decided to build the girls a high-volume gravity-fed pellet feeder that will (keep your fingers crossed) only need to be filled once a week on Saturday, the thank-god-day-without-a-morning.  Do you want to know how I did it?

First, I went to Home Depot and bought some stuff.  A 4 ft piece of 4 inch PVC pipe, a shorter piece of 3 inch PVC, a 90 degree elbow that looked about right (not a pun, Liz Paley!), a cap for the 3 inch end, and a little saw called a "Bear Saw" which claimed to be the best out there for gnawing up thick plastic plumbing.

Then I sawed an opening in the smaller pipe to make the food trough.  Those "Bear Saw" people weren't lying.  Whisk, whisk, done.


Then I put everything together like a tinker toy project.  Big pipe, elbow, little pipe, cap.  I didn't use any of that stinky PVC glue.  Mostly because I didn't have any, but also because, well, it is stinky and I didn't want to poison my chickies.  You never know, you know? I just pounded everything together with a hammer, no problem. You like?

Then I rigged the thing up sort of half in and half out of the chicken coop.  I cut a hole in the hardware cloth and slid the trough part in at a mostly horizontal but somewhat down-sloping angle.  I wanted to make sure that the pellets would flow from top to bottom.  Everthing is secured to the coop with wire. Then I filled it on up.  Had to get on a ladder to do it, but I'd much rather do that once a week on a Saturday afternoon than fill a ground level dish five mornings a week.   It can handle half a bag of Purina Layena, which should (again, fingers crossed!) last out the week.

To take care of the water situation, I bought this automatic dog waterer from Barne's Supply and ran an extra 100 feet of hose out to the coop.  When it gets below a certain water level it automatically fills back up, kind of like a toilet (but not so gross).

And then, just for fun, I hung this bamboo fence along the neighbors' side of the chicken coop so that the girls have a little more privacy.  There has been no egg-laying yet.  I think the ladies are a little shy and maybe need a little more ambience.  Thought the bamboo would help.  What do you think? Sexy, right?

Batty says, "Brrrawk...thanks Mom! I'm going to go practice laying eggs right now!"


  1. You are one remarkable, independent woman, Rachel Blouin, building that chicken feeder from scratch (or is that for scratch?).

    If I were a chicken, I wouldn't want to lay eggs in view of Crazy Lady. Two phalanges up for bamboo fencing.

  2. Ha! It takes one to know one. When you get your flock, I'll make one for you. I already know how I would make it better.

  3. hows it work? Do they bill the food all over the ground? I'm looking for differnt ideas. I'm raimnel on BYC (www.backyardchickens.com)

  4. Hi Raimnel. I think it works really well. I use the pellet feed rather than the crumble, so even when it does get thrown around, the girls just find it and clean it right up. I'm very pleased with this contraption.

  5. Great post. What has your experience been with wild birds eating the feed? Looks like your coop may be completely fenced with hardware cloth, keeping the wild birds out? Thanks, Jen