feeder & waterer for hens

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What do you recommend for using for a feeder and waterer for hens in my situation: Three hens, in a 4' x 8' former rabbit hutch with a perch added. When I'm home they are let out, but they spend all day in there when I'm gone. Currently they are drinking out of a plastic 1 gallon waterer with a screw-on round trough. It works pretty well, but is there anything better? Feeding is another matter. I've tried troughs and pans of various sizes and depths. Either they beak out the laying pellets, get in the pan and scratch it all out or turn the pan over. Right now they are using a galvanized small trough-type feeder with a reel on top. It is designed for chicks I think though, and the big girls have to turn their heads sideways to eat. However, they don't scatter food or roost on it. Is this the best approach, or is there someting else you recommend?

Thanks for your ideas! Also, they love lettuce and other salad scraps, but sometimes I need other greenery for them. Suggestions? - other than buying lettuce for them? I do not have a garden this year.

-- txcountry girl (nancyk@icsi.net), August 27, 2000


For greens try sprouting some grains. Have you tried a rabbit feeder set so high that they can just barely get into it for their food? It would help if you could devise some kind of a lip on it, then you could set it a little lower. That is the only thought I have right now -- hope you are able to figure something out, because I know what wasters of feed chickens are!

-- Kathleen Sanderson (stonycft@worldpath.net), August 27, 2000.

Perhaps one of the feeders that that is trough like and the lid slides off for filling. The lid has holes in it that the hens can eat through but cannot get into the feeder itself to scratch the feed out or play "pellet toss." I screwed mine to the wall to keep if from getting upset and spilled and it worked good.

As for other green stuff-you can give them lawn clippings which they love.

-- Marci (ajourend@libby.org), August 27, 2000.

Long time ago, when the ex and I were very, very, very poor - In came Grandpa with a big grin on his face - and a crate with a dozen leghorn hens in it - he had gotten them for a dollar at a sale! We hastily cleaned out an old corn crib and built in some roosts. Our waterer was an old metal pot with a bail (bucket type handle) - we hung it by a chain from the ceiling of the crib at a height where the ladies could reach in and drink. During the winter, we attached a clamp on reflector type outlet on the chain high enough above the water that they didn'd fling water on it, but close enough to keep at least a layer of water thawed on top. Our feeder was a cast off piece of 4" PVC drain pipe that we sabre sawed off approximatly 1/3 of (to leave a slightly curved lip, to discourage attempts to sit on it). We glued cool whip containers to each end to keep the feed in (end caps would look nicer, but cost money) and then used drywall screws to mount it to the wall. Worked great! We also put a pile of wood ashes in one corner for dust baths, and a pile of sand from the creek bed in the other corner for grit. Lettuce, spinach and swish chard seed is pretty cheap and it can be grown in just about anything. Sunflower seeds for bird feeders are cheap and really easy to sprout, also. Aren't chickens wonderful?! Mine have even won over my husband to this idea of country living - he was talking about getting a grain mill this morning!

-- Polly (tigger@moultrie.com), August 27, 2000.

I've had chickens for 9 years and grew up with them most of my life and I just love them, couldn't imagine not having aleast 5 around. At the present I have 50 layers!!I sell the extra at work, my sis-in-law sells them at work and so does my father!

All of the above ideas aregreat ones. I also leave oyster shells to improve the shell hardnes. I give all vegetable scrapes and old bread to the ladies.

-- Sandy Fisher (MANDARINHILLBILLYS@prodigy.net), August 27, 2000.

When I just have a few chickens to feed, I take a 1-gallon plastic milk jug and cut holes in it big enough for the hens to comfortably reach their heads into. The bottoms of the holes are about halfway up the jug. Usually I wind up with three holes, one on each corner except the corner with the handle. Then I tie a string to the handle. I tie a snap to the other end of the string and snap it onto the chicken wire with the bottom of the hole about as high as the hens' backs. Works great, and it's free.

-- Laura Jensen (lrjensen@nwlink.com), August 27, 2000.

I forgot to add that I did try one year to use a chick feeder so the hens wouldn't throw food everywhere. The poor things cut their combs on the sharp edges of the feeder holes! I won't be doing that again!

-- Laura Jensen (lrjensen@nwlink.com), August 27, 2000.

for my chickens water I have the one gallon chicken waterer and they kept scratching things into it and pluginp it up, so I put it on bricks and it stays clean now.

for there food I use a small rabbit feeder inside cage .

-- kathy h (saddlebronc@msn.com), August 28, 2000.

During nice wheather I moved my water container, a big rubbermaid box to the outside of the pen. The hens can eaisly reach the water through the chicken wire. I just keep their pellets in a bowl since I only feed them nights, they free range all day, and a few spilled pellets are cleaned up anyway, really I could eaisly just as well throw them on the ground and they would eat them all. I do have freinds who have PVC pipe on the outside of their pens that they fill daily with pellets, same idea as my water, they simply eat from the inside, heads through the chicken wire. I can't do this because one of our dogs likes their pellets as much as they do! Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), August 28, 2000.

i forget who else posted this but you could use sprouts (wheat, oats, sunflower etc.). gail

-- gail missouri ozarks (gef123@hotmail.com), August 28, 2000.

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