DIY Chicken Feeder for Brooder, Infirmary or Maternity Ward

I ran out of chicken feeders recently and had an ah-ha! moment that led me to create feeders from recycled plastic bottles. For a variety of reasons including frostbite, quarantine, feather picking injuries and brooding new baby chicks, I have had a basement full of chickens in rabbit cages, dog kennels and pet carriers for months.

As a result of the growing basement census, I found myself short on traditional chick feeders and while cleaning pine shavings out of the brooder feeder and filling the poultry nipple waterer, inspiration struck. If soda bottles could be hung as waterers, why not as feeders? I figured the chickens wouldn’t be able to kick bedding into them or poop in them as easily and they’d free up floor space too. Bonus! It took me 3 minutes to make two chicken feeders from one bottle and I’m going to show you how!

So, here are the ‘before’ pictures of the temporary basement residents:

Bertha, the Partridge Cochin we bought at the Northeastern Poultry Congress in January was in quarantine.
Bertha, the Partridge Cochin we bought at the in January was in quarantine.
Thelma & Louise, Dark Cornish pullets also purchased at the poultry show, shared quarantine space next to Bertha.
Thelma & Louise, Dark Cornish pullets shared quarantine space next to Bertha.
Blaze (Black Copper Marans rooster) has been in the infirmary while his frostbitten comb healed. Calista Flockheart & Ally McBeak (Tolbunt Polish Frizzle hens) shared the dog kennel with Blaze for a couple of weeks due to cabin-fever induced feather picking of their heads by flock members.
Blaze (Black Copper Marans rooster) has been in the infirmary while his frostbitten comb healed. Calista Flockheart & Ally McBeak (Tolbunt Polish Frizzle hens) shared the dog kennel with Blaze for a couple of weeks due to cabin-fever induced feather picking of their crests by flock members.
Thelma, Louise and Bertha graduated to the dog kennel in the chicken coop during the integration period. I wish I had a nickel for every time they knocked over their feeder.
Thelma, Louise and Bertha graduated to the dog kennel in the chicken coop during the integration period. I wish I had a nickel for every time they knocked over their feeder.
Chicken Feeder made from recycled plastic bottles.

Ready to build a chicken feeder with me? Blink and you’ll miss it!

MATERIALS

  • a clean, plastic bottle with cap (water, soda, juice, etc.)
  • utility shears or serrated knife
  • paper punch wire for hanging

(I recommend wire, not the string shown as string could be untied and eaten)

Using utility shears or a serrated knife, cut a clean plastic bottle in half. Smooth out any rough or sharp edges with shears. For chicks, it's best to cut each half even shorter so that they can reach the feed at the bottom of the bottle.

Using utility shears or a serrated knife, cut a clean plastic bottle in half. Smooth out any rough or sharp edges with shears. For chicks, it’s best to cut each half even shorter so that they can reach the feed at the bottom of the bottle. If the edge is sharp, file it down or use a flame (lighter, candle) to warm & melt the raw edge slightly to dull the sharp edge.

Using utility shears or a serrated knife, cut a clean plastic bottle in half. Smooth out any rough or sharp edges with shears. For chicks, it's best to cut each half even shorter so that they can reach the feed at the bottom of the bottle.

With paper punch, punch holes along the top edge of each bottle.

With paper punch, punch holes along the top edge of each bottle.

Cut a U-shaped notch in the front of the feeder.

Cut a U-shaped notch in the front of the feeder.

Thread wire through two of the holes and hang the feeder at back-height of the chicken(s). Easy peasy, right?

Thread wire through two of the holes and hang the feeder at back-height of the chicken(s).

I cut the bottle feeder shorter than shown so the chicks could reach the feed at the bottom. I have several feeders hung in the brooder to allow everyone who’d like to eat at the same time that opportunity.

I ended up cutting the bottle feeder even shorter so the chicks could reach the feed at the bottom. I have several feeders hung in the brooder to allow everyone who'd like to eat at the same time that opportunity.
Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick®
Rachel Divider

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Sarah Morelli
Sarah Morelli
2 years ago

Thanks for the easy temporary feeders idea, going to make one for my infirmary today!

Renee' La Viness
Renee' La Viness
2020 years ago

Suzanne – I had to take mine over and show them as I poked it up a few times, then I took a drop of water from my finger and put it on their beak. Once one chicken figures it out, the others will come see what that one is up to.

Wanda Klarich
Wanda Klarich
2020 years ago

I would love to win some clean Koop product!!

Lady Distinctive
Lady Distinctive
2020 years ago

I just finished a DYI project for a great feeder I saw on Pinterest!! Is there a place where I can share the photo?? It only took about 45 minutes and will hold about 5 lbs or more of feed – impossible to knock over – easy to refill!!

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