If you’ve ever raised chickens (or livestock!) you know there is a plethora of DIY crafts out there that can make your life easier, and save you money too. One of things I absolutely love about raising chickens is learning about all of the fascinating inventions that people create, so in the spirit of supporting this community, and perhaps making your life a bit easier, I would like to share a few of my favorites.
The Chicken Automatic Bucket Feeder (aka the chick-o-matic 5000)
standard sized bucket
standard bucket lid
1/8 in drill bit (for pre-drilling bolt holes)
optional: bucket screw on lid instead of standard lid
1.) Mark four places toward bottom of bucket where you will drill feed holes. I recommend putting the bucket in the feed bowl when making the markings to make sure your holes are below the lip of the feed bowl. If holes are above the lip, feed will overflow when used.
2.) Using paddle drill bit, drill 3 or 4 feed holes all around the edge of the bucket where you marked.
3.) Flip bucket over and place feed bowl on top (upside down). Position so there will be equal area around edge of bucket for chickens to feed from.
4.) Drill three holes through the rubber feed bowl into the bottom of the bucket for the bolts.
5.) Push bolts through holes in the bottom, and screw bolts on for a tight fit.
6.) Attach lid of choice on top, and you’re done!
I’ve adapted mine by putting a special lid attachment that I found next to the buckets at Lowe’s that allows for a waterproofed seal and screw off/on ability. While I don’t think this is completely necessary, I think it helps to keep the food from spoiling in wet/humid conditions. You can alternatively use a normal bucket lid, and probably be fine.
Feed bag dropping collector
empty chicken feed bag
optional: straw bedding
1.) Take empty feed bag and cut off top of the bag close to the seam line.
2.) Cut vertically downward along the side edge of the bag, and continue cutting along the bottom edge of the bag.
3.) At this point you will have a large rectangular surface to work with, so wherever your chickens roost, measure it out (or just eyeball it) and cut out the shape you need!
Because chickens leave much of their droppings where they roost, these areas tend to get messy very quickly. Putting a feed bag down helps to streamline cleaning and collecting droppings because you can simply pull the feed bag out, and collect the droppings using litter scooper. You can also place straw down on top of the feed bag, and this will create an excellent medium for composting. Straw mixed with chicken droppings makes for an almost complete compost mixture, with the straw adding “brown” and the droppings adding “green.” Once the feed bag gets too gross to continue using, simply replace with a new feed bag (If you don’t already have some, you’ll soon have plenty!).
Chickens love to roost on pallets, so anything you can do to put two, three or more pallets together will make them happy. Nails, screws, leftover playground bolts, hinges, you name it, and you can make something your chickens will be sure to love. There are pallet planter bed designs out there that incorporate chicken wire which allow you to grow chicken favorited herbs without the chickens being able to destroy the entire plant. There are all sorts of great inventions with pallets!
Check out more inventions on www.backyardchickens.com and on Pinterest!