When I first decided to get some chickens (by the way, for overseas readers, we call them ‘chooks’ over here in Aussie land…..we’re a bit odd that way, you see)…..anyway….so I had to decide on how to present their food to them. After much internet searching, I found someone who’d made a feeder out of some scrap poly water pipe. I didn’t have any scrap pieces but it’s cheap enough to buy at plumbing suppliers or hardware stores, so I took myself off to Bunnings and their plumbing section.
After spending some time playing around with a short length of pipe and various fittings, I came up with the following masterpiece…a T section and two 45 degree sections, on the end of the pipe :
I started feeding the food that had been recommended by the breeder where I bought the chooks. However chooks have minds of their own and know what they don’t like. The feed was a mix of layer pellets and grains. They loved the grains and tossed out the pellets. Back to the drawing board.
Someone gave me a bag of layer pellets from a different manufacturer and they seemed to like them, so I ended up buying those and a poultry grain mix separately. I didn’t want to bother with mixing the two, so it was off to the store to buy more bits for a second feeder. So now we looked like this….grains in one feeder, pellets in the other. So far so good :
Next problem was with the grain mix. It consisted of sunflower seeds (chook caviar), wheat (nah, won’t eat that…we’re gluten free), sorghum (what’s THAT stuff?), cracked corn (yes, we know all the books say chickens love corn, but WE don’t). So most of it got tossed everywhere in an effort to get at all the sunflower seeds (the books refer to it as ‘beaking’….when they use their beaks to flip aside anything they don’t like). Food all over the ground again. Where did I put that drawing board?
Do away with the 45 degree angle piece and replace with another right angled piece so that they can’t ‘beak’ out the food so easily. Surely this should do it? :
Well, not quite. Because although they don’t relish some of the grains, they do eat them most times, but only after all the reachable sunflower seeds have been scoffed. As they crunch down on the grain, a certain amount is crushed into powder. The powder collects at the bottom, takes up any moisture in the air and cakes hard. Then the grains in the upper part of the pipe won’t flow down freely. The 45 degree end piece is a better shape for free-flowing, but it allows too much beaking out to occur. Drawing board?
Back in the plumbing section of Bunnings, I found they make little push-on caps for the pipes. I wanted the Girls to have access to the feed but not so they could pull it forward with their beaks and onto the ground. So I cut a ‘V’ section in the caps and put them over the ends of the pipe. Success at last! :
Now they couldn’t pull the mixture forwards and out onto the ground. There was still a certain amount of powder produced, but all I had to do was take off the cap and flip out the powder with my finger into a container. It didn’t go to waste….the native Bronzewing pigeons loved it!
Problem solved at last? No….what is it they say about not counting your chickens before they’re hatched?
You see, these chooks are timid little wussies. A leaf falls off a tree and they will panic. If anyone but me goes near them, they will run a mile. It’s embarrassing when I have visitors…..they won’t come near. You can’t brag about your beautiful chooks if they’re skulking in the darkest corner and won’t come out and say hello.
So what happened next in the food saga wasn’t surprising. They would feed so furiously in an attempt to get at the sunflower seeds, that they would actually pull off the cap. It would fall on the ground, I’d hear a flurry of panicky cackles and the four of them would head for the hills. Not only that, but as long as that nasty white thing that had attacked them was still lying on the ground, they wouldn’t come back into the run, not even to go to bed, until I’d removed it.
I didn’t want to glue the cap on. That would have made the process of cleaning out the powder more difficult and I’m a firm believer in not glueing anything unless it’s absolutely necessary, because you never know when you might want to take it apart again. Don’t glue, screw.
I got out the drill and the finest bit I had. Drilled a tiny hole through each side of the cap and into the pipe :
Placed a tiny nail through each hole to hold the cap in place. Voila! (The little bit of elastoplast is there because the hole was still a bit big for the nail) :
Finally, the problem was solved (I hope) :
And to use up the extra bits I’d bought, I made polypipe containers for their water and shell grit :
Don’t get me wrong….chooks are wonderful things to have. They provide fresh eggs, fertiliser for the veggies and lots of laughs. It’s just that I seem to have ended up with a bunch of oddballs.