Chickens

The Top 10 Chicken Feeders For You to Consider

Each year, we keep trying to figure out newer and better ways to save money while also improving the health of my laying and broiler chickens. Unfortunately, there are some expenses you really can’t scrimp on – you need high-quality feed if you want to produce healthy chickens. 

That said, there are plenty of ways to minimize waste when it comes to caring for a backyard flock.

One of the easiest ways?

Invest in a hanging feeder.

A free-range diet is optimal for enhancing the health of your birds, but you can’t sustain a chicken solely off green grass and sunshine – particularly if you live somewhere that doesn’t have green grass for many months out of the year. 

A hanging feeder eliminates waste and makes your chicken-tending chores quite a bit easier.

Here’s what you need to know about the best ten hanging feeders to consider. 

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Why You Need a Hanging Feeder

feeding chickens
Photo: Pixabay

There are several types of chicken feeders, all of which range from the most basic through to the most complex mechanical device. What you ultimately decide to use will vary depending on your budget, flock size, and coop layout. 

The simplest kind of feeder to use is either an open trough or bucket. These are also the least expensive. However, they can cause your chickens to waste a great deal of feed, as they’ll be able to scratch in the tray and even poop in it. You’ll have tons of pests to worry about, too, like flies and rodents.

Therefore, you may be better off investing in a hanging feeder or a treadle feeder. Hanging feeders are my personal favorite, because they are still inexpensive while also being effective. Hanging feeders:

  • Keep out bugs, mice, and other pests (if you attach a cover)
  • Can be extremely high-capacity
  • Don’t need to be refilled often
  • Can be hung to keep chickens from pooping in them
  • Eliminate food waste

Many people avoid using hanging feeders because they erroneously assume that they need to be used inside to avoid spoilage from the rain. This is not the case! You can easily attach a lid to your hanging feeder so you don’t have to be concerned about contaminating its contents.

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The final option for a feeder is a treadle feeder. Treadle feeders are pretty complicated, but if you can afford them, you’ll be rewarded with a variety of benefits. Not only do treadle feeders utilize an automatic mechanical system to give food for your chicken is needed, but they’ll protect the feed from the elements and from other creatures.

Treadle feeders require a chicken to step on a ramp to open a lid. This then gives the chicken access to the food inside. Treadle feeders can be used inside or outside, but since they have so many mechanical parts, you’ll have a greater likelihood of something breaking or going wrong.

What to Keep in Mind When You Are Buying a Chicken Feeder: A Buying Guide 

feeding chickens
Photo: Pixabay

There are lots of factors you will need to think about when you are purchasing a hanging feeder. 

Plastic vs. Metal

Hanging feeders almost always fall into two categories – plastic or metal. 

Plastic is becoming more common because it’s easy to clean and maintain. However, despite the fact that it is lower in cost, it’s not as durable a material as metal. If you live in a cold area, you might have to replace your plastic feeders every year because the cold causes plastic to become brittle, leading to cracking or breaking. 

Metal is more difficult to clean, but it’s much more durable. 

Capacity

Consider the age and number of chickens in your backyard flock before investing in a hanging feeder. If you only have a couple of chickens, your feeder can be much smaller than if you have a bigger flock. Think too about your patterns of care – do you feed your chickens every day, or prefer to fill a feeder up once a week?

Your birds’ ages are important, too. If you just have baby chicks, the feeder will look and function a lot differently than if it was being used by adult hens or roosters. Some feeders are designed for chicks, but there are others that are ideal for adults. 

Cleaning Ability 

A smaller chicken feeder is always going to be easier to clean, since it will be more lightweight. However, if you have many chickens, a small feeder just isn’t practical. All the time you save in cleaning your feeders will be wasted in having to refill them constantly! 

Plastic is generally easier to clean than metal – but it’s also not as durable, so keep that in mind. 

Other features you should keep an eye out for? The best hanging feeder should be easy to assemble, pest-proof, waterproof and affordable. 

The 10 Best Chicken Feeders You Can Buy

1. Grandpa’s Feeder 

This superb feeder can hold an impressive twenty pounds of food, perfect for half a dozen chickens when you only want to fill it about once a week. 

Designed mostly for use with adult flocks, it’s not a great set-up for baby chicks, as they can get snagged. It can also be a bit noisy to use, so your chickens might have a hard time getting used to it. That being said, it’s the perfect choice if you want to keep rodents out of your food. It reduces spilled feed and only requires a refill every seven to ten days for up to six birds. 

What I Like:

  • Prevents birds from pooping in the feeder
  • Reduces spilled feed
  • Only requires refills once every ten days

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Has some sharp edges that can be dangerous to young birds

2. Miller Galvanized Chicken Feeder

I’m a big fan of galvanized feeders, and this one definitely fits the bill. It can hold up to twelve pounds of feed, sustaining a flock of a dozen chickens for up to two weeks. It doesn’t have a lid, which can be a bit of a pain if you are worried about chickens pooping in it – that being said, if you hang it up high enough, you shouldn’t have to worry about that.

One of the nicest features of this feeder is that it is comprised of durable galvanized metal, so you don’t need to worry about it rusting.  You don’t have to rest it directly on the floor and it can work well with both chicks and adults.

What I Liked:

  • Easy to assemble and hang
  • Doesn’t rust
  • Economical choice

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Must sift the feeder often to move the feed into the accessible area 

3. Harris Farms Hanging Poultry Feeder

Harris Farms sells quite a few hanging poultry feeders, but this one is probably one of the best hanging feeders for you to consider. It has an impressive seven-pound capacity and is made out of plastic, which makes it easy to clean. 

Although this hanging feeder does not have its own standard lid, you can purchase one separately to keep chicken manure out. It can feed more than a dozen chickens for two or three days, and since it is made out of plastic, it’s easy to see when it needs to be refilled. 

This feeder can be left on the floor or hung up, making it versatile for any setting in which you might want to use it. It is easy to fill and even easier to keep clean! There are other sizes available, too, if the 7lb option doesn’t fit the bill.

What I Liked:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Easy to clean 
  • Can be hung or left on the floor

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Feeding trough is shallow and can cause some food spillage

4. Little Giant High Capacity Feeder

If you’ve got quite a few chickens, this high capacity feeder by Little Giant might be the best chicken feeder for your needs. It is highly versatile and can be used free-standing or wall-mounted.

It’s made from galvanized, rust-resistant metal overall, it has a superb design. Plus, it has a unique food saver grid that makes it difficult for your chickens to scratch out and waste food. They also will be less likely to poop in it! It is best used with adult chickens and not baby chicks.

What I Liked:

  • Holds a high volume of chicken feed
  • Prevents rain and manure from spoiling the food
  • Can be wall mounted

What I Didn’t Like:

5. Peck-o-Matic Demand Chicken Feeder

This hanging feeder has a ridiculously simple design – and honestly, if you were motivated enough, you could probably build your own using one of these simple DIY chicken feeder designs. 

However, if you want to save some time, you won’t be wasting a lot of money by buying this autofeeder. It’s designed to keep rodents and wild birds from stealing your chickens’ feed. Designed as more of a kit than a ready-to-go feeder, it comes with six regulator disks that will accommodate to the size of feed you need to use. The five-gallon bucket must be purchased separately. 

What I Liked:

  • Reduces contamination from rodents and rain
  • Feed needs to be replenished infrequently
  • Comes with six regulator disks for different sized feed

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Chickens must be trained to use this feeder

6. Royal Rooster Chicken Feeder

This is another wall-mounted chicken feeder that is both functional and easy to install. It comes with an additional waterer, too, so you’ll get more bang for your buck. 

This hanging feeder incorporates a unique vertical design that lets you give your chickens several days’ worth of food and water, keeping it up in the air to avoid spillage and contamination. The waterer has a valve-operated rinker cup, too, to help keep the water pristine.

You can hook the feeders right onto a mesh fence or you can attach them to a solid wall – they come with brackets. You can usually get by with one set for every six chickens you have – the feeder holds more than six lbs of feed.

What I Liked:

  • UV stable, durable PVC for indoor or outdoor use
  • Easy to install and fill
  • Weather and scratch guard included

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Not a huge feeder capacity

7. RentACoop Chicken Feeder

This inexpensive chicken feeder possesses a pretty basic design. The bucket is made out of food-grade, BPA-free plastic. It has a 20lb capacity and an L-shaped tube on either side of the bucket so that chickens can stick their heads inside to get the feed. 

This eliminates the ability of your birds to scratch or peck the food out of the feeder. It also keeps pests out. The food stays dry and protected in all kinds of weather. You can stick this feeder on level ground or hang it.

What I Liked:

  • Unique design with a large capacity
  • Prevents mess and food waste
  • Made out of easy-to-clean food-grade plastic

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Needs to be hung low to the ground

8. Kuhl HF50 Chicken Feeder

This feeder is pretty large, with models available in sizes larger than 35 lbs. We currently have around 75 chickens and use two of these hanging feeders to accommodate them.

Although these feeders are designed to be hung using a nylon cable, they can also be placed on the floor. We’ve seen limited food spillage using them in either fashion and actually modified them to be used in our chicken tractors, too. The adjustable sizing is perfect for just about any size flock. 

Plus, the lip at the bottom helps prevent the birds from wasting feed, another nice bonus.

What I Liked:

  • Lightweight, sturdy design
  • Made out of durable plastic
  • High capacity feeder

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Can be confusing to hang

9. PestOff Rat Proof Chicken Feeder

If you have problems with rats on your farm, this hygienic feeder is the best hanging feeder for your needs. It looks more like a wild bird feeder than a chicken feeder, but it has a large capacity of 8 lbs. 

This weatherproof feeder is perfect for four to six hens. It can’t be used with mash, but it is made out of food-grade materials and non-rust stainless steel. It’s automatically pest-proof as it has individually spring loaded feeding ports that let chickens feed and not rats.

What I Liked:

  • Pest proof and anti-spill design
  • Easy to clean and easy to hang
  • Chickens train easily to the feeder

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Plastic breaks down easily 

10. Little Giant Galvanized Hanging Corner Feeder

This feeder is a little bit different than the other ones I’ve reviewed because it isn’t a central hanging feeder but instead one that’s designed to be mounted to the wall. It has a space-saving design that’s perfect for use in a small coop. Made out of galvanized steel with rolled edges, it not only will resist rust, but you also won’t have to fret about it injuring your birds. 

The Little Giant Galvanized Hanging Corner Feeder can be used in mixed flocks and is an excellent choice for a chicken farmer with a tiny flock. It can be used with both chicks and adult birds.

What I Liked:

  • Wall- and corner-mounted to keep out chicken manure
  • Rust-free design
  • Can also be used as a supplemental feeder for grit or oyster shell

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Low feed capacity 

How Many Chicken Feeders For Your Flock?

feeding chickens
Photo: Pixabay

The real question you should be asking is “how much storage capacity do you want”? If you have 12 hens, know that they will eat about ½ lb of feed every day. 

There is some natural variation here, though, because feed consumption can be influenced by factors such as:

  • Weather and time of year
  • Gender
  • Molting
  • Breed type and size
  • Personality 
  • Activity level
  • Broiler vs. laying bird 
  • Access to forage and pasture

The ½ lb estimate is a good place to start, however. 

Think about how many chickens you have and consider how often you want to fill the feeder. Don’t think you should get a massive 50lb feeder if you only have a couple of hens, though, assuming that you can just fill the hopper once a month and be done with it. 

This can lead to food spoilage, because it will take your birds a while to eat through all 50 lbs – you will have things like mold and dampness to worry about. Plus, you’ll run the risk of attracting pests in the meantime. 

If you have a large flock and have some issues with aggressive birds or pecking order problems, it might be worth your time to invest in two hanging feeders so there is plenty of room for your birds to eat.

What Should I Feed My Chickens?

feeding chickens
Photo: Pixabay

The Core of any chickens’ diet should be a high-quality grain. You can feed grain in the form of pellets, crumble, or mash, but know that you will need about ¼ cup of feed for every six birds you have. This grain will contain a mixture of salt, wheat, maize, oats, and sunflower seeds. It also has all the vitamins and minerals your birds need to stay healthy.

Beyond that, you can also feed your chickens a variety of treats and nutritious supplements such as greens, fruits, mealworms, table scraps, and more. They can eat just about anything  -just make sure you stay away from this list of what not to feed chickens.

And remember, the best way to feed your chickens is to give them plenty of pasture to graze and scratch all day! 

What do you feed your chickens – and more specifically, what kind of feeder do you use? I’m curious! Let me know in the comments.

Want to learn more about raising chickens? Be sure to check out these articles!

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Author: Rebekah Pierce

I'm a writer and small farm owner, and lover of everything outdoors. I'm hoping to share my passion for farming, gardening, and homesteading with you on my blogging journey.

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