Your chickens have to eat. And while they may spend all day scratching around the ground eating anything they can find, they do a whole lot better with a high quality feed. You're going to need a good place for them to access that feed. Here is our review of the best chicken feeders available today.
There are a ton of different styles of feeders (including DIY chicken feeders) and it may be confusing at first. Here is all you need to know to make the best choice for your flock and their needs.
9 Best Chicken Feeders
Out top choice for best chicken feeder is easily the RentACoop Treadle Feeder (40 LB). It is the highest priced model on the list but the security and convenience it provides outweigh the initial investment. Plus, you can purchase additional feeder extensions as the size of your flock increases.
Types Of Feeders
Chicken feeders come in three different varieties:
- free standing
Depending on what your specific needs are, you can make use of one or more of the below options.
Description: This feeder is a pretty simple design but works great with small flocks. It is your basic feed trough. It also has a wire cage across the top to discourage roosting and scratching.
Features: Galvanized steel construction, wire scratch guard prevents waste and roosting
Specifications: Dimensions (L x W x H): 5.12 x 24 x 4 inches, Weight: 1.61 lbs
- heavy duty
- easy to use
- light weight makes it easy to tip over
- some chickens can step through wire cage and scratch anyway
- not good for large flock
Description: This high capacity poultry feeder is super easy to use. It can hold about half of a standard bag of feed and features a chute style design so chickens can eat when they desire.
The chute has a wire grate across the top to discourage scratching. The unit is also shaped so that a chicken cannot roost on top of the feed and poop in it. This should help cut down on waste.
Features: comes pre-assembled, galvanized steel construction, holds 25 lbs, works with any type of chicken feed, wall mountable, chute style creates steady food flow, feed saver grid keeps unit from overflowing and chickens from scratching
Specifications: Dimensions (L x W x H): 12 x 8 x 16 inches, Weight: 8.7 lbs
- mountable so it won't tip over
- high capacity
- small profile saves coop space
- not water proof
- unit can become clogged
- only 2 full sized hens can eat at a time
- flat top allows chickens to roost
Description: Duncan's Poultry Wall Feeder is a high capacity, wall mountable unit. It will hold up to 50 lbs of crumble feed and around 30 of pellets. It is also only 14 inches wide so it can be mounted between wall studs.
It's galvanized steel frame is heavy gauge and super durable. The lid will stay open for you while you refill and works with any type of chicken feed or supplement.
Features: holds up to 50 lbs of feed; works with feed, oyster shells, or grit; high capacity but thin enough to mount between wall studs, hinged lid, comes pre-assembled
Specifications: Dimensions (L x W x H): 14 x 8 x 25 inches
- cuts down on feed waste
- eliminates constant refilling
- wall mountable
- quality construction
- advertises 50 lb capacity but some reviews claim closer to 40 lbs
- may need to be elevated to keep chickens from scratching at feed
Description: The Moultrie Feed Station is a simple yet sturdy hanging gravity style feeder. You simply pour up to 40 lbs of feed into the top and gravity pulls it down into the trough opening.
This unit comes with a mounting strap and can be used to strap to a tree or a post. The construction is a durable, UV resistant plastic so it will not become brittle and crack from being in the sun all day.
Features: heavy duty, UV resistant plastic construction, 40 lb capacity, includes mounting strap
Specifications: Dimensions (L x W x H): 10 x 17.5 x 18.8 inches, Weight: 2.3 pounds
- easy to mount
- easy to refill
- plastic frame will distort with enough weight making the lid not fit properly
- loose lid allows moisture to get inside
- trough design makes it an "all animal" feeder if used outside of coop
Description: This is a pretty clever hanging design. The feed opening is always open. However, if a rodent or other animal tries to pull itself into the feeder, their weight will close the opening.
That one design aspect is worth the price of admission. If vermin no longer have a food source, they will no longer visit your coop. Which is more hygienic and safer.
The 8 lb capacity is great for a small flock. It works very well with most dry feeds. It will not work very well with mash or other moist feeds.
Features: "vermin proof", no special assembly required, 8 lb capacity, works with all dry feeds, easy to clean, easy to refill, money-back guarantee
Specifications: Dimensions (L x W x H): 15.75 x 8.27 x 8.27 inches, Weight: 2.2 pounds
- clean design
- keeps out mice, rats, and other small animals
- chickens adapt to feeder quickly
- plastic guard can be chewed by determined animals
- small opening
- feed can fall out when chickens peck at food
Description: This bucket style hanging feeder is an almost perfect no waste feeder. The port style opening means the chickens must stick their head in the feeder to access the food.
The port style design means chickens are unable to scratch at the feed and waste it. This unit also includes a No-Roosting cap to keep your chickens from hanging out on top of it.
It will hold up to 20 lbs of feed and can accommodate up to 6 chickens. It is recommended to have one for every 6 chickens so that they can all eat freely.
Features: 20 lb capacity, no-roost cap included, bucket style lid keeps water out, resistant to rodents and wild birds, plastic is 100% food grade and BPA free
Specifications: Dimensions (L x W x H): 10 x 14 x 10 inches, Weight: 2.5 pounds
- reduces spillage
- keeps water out
- RentACoop listens to customer feedback
- chickens adapt to feeder easily
- lid can be difficult to remove
- if chickens peck at feed it can cause a buildup of dust in the feeder
- ports may be too small for roosters with large combs and waddles
- small chicks can fall in and get stuck
Description: This is a classic design that you probably think of when you hear "chicken feeder". It's super simple to use. Just dump your feed in the top and the sloped pan in the bottom allows a free flow of chicken feed.
This unit holds up to 30 lbs of feed and has a 14" feeding pan. You can also find this design in smaller sizes for smaller flocks. It can easily be hung inside your coop and can fit several chickens around it to eat at once.
Features: galvanized steel, 30 lb capacity
Specifications: Dimensions (L x W x H): 14.25 x 14.25 x 14.25 inches, Weight: 1.1 pounds
- easy to use
- chickens need no training
- heavy duty design
- high capacity
- pegs can be jarred and cause pan to slip loose and spill
- if not hung, chickens can roost causing it to tip
- not water proof, at all
- open top allows roosting chickens to poop into feed
Description: This is the plastic version of the gravity feeder above. It is much less expensive than the metal counterpart but is actually pretty sturdy. It also features plastic guards to discourage chickens from scratching at their feed.
There is a screw on the top and bottom of the unit that allow you to adjust the flow of the feed. You can also easily hang this unit inside of your coop.
Features: comes with 6 cups, cups refill themselves, chickens do not have to hit a trigger, hens can dip waddles in large cups for extra cooling
Specifications: Dimensions (L x W x H): 12.5 x 12.5 x 13.5 inches, Weight: .9 pounds
- easy to use
- easy to refill
- you adjust the flow of feed
- less expensive than metal version
- not waterproof
- open design is prone to allow roosting chickens to poop in their food
- small chicks can get stuck under the anti-scratch prong in feeding tray
Description: This is our overall top pick for best chicken feeder. It is the only automatic/treadle design, as well. It has a metal construction that is sturdy and takes chicken abuse very well.
The treadle design means the chickens must step on a metal plate in front of the feeder to lift the lid of the trough. Only then can they get access to their food. Since they must keep weight on the plate, it is difficult for them to scratch and waste feed.
The feed reservoir has a 40 lb capacity and can be expanded up to 70 lbs with the RentACoop 15 LB Capacity Metal Treadle Feeder Extension.
Features: holds up to 40 lbs (expandable up to 70), lid lock keeps unwanted animals out, pressure plate can be adjusted for smaller bantam breeds, plate design cuts down on spillage, easy 3 step training process
Specifications: Dimensions (L x W x H): 21 x 14.5 x 14.5 inches, Weight: 27.1 pounds
- keeps out unwanted animals
- keeps out water
- high capacity (up to 70 lbs)
- easy to train chickens to use
- materials could be sturdier for the price
- difficult to assemble
- smaller breeds, like Silkies, may still have trouble opening lid even when adjusted to lowest setting
- expensive and cost increases with additional storage capacity
What To Consider When Buying?
Before you can make a decision on which feeder you want to buy, here are a few things to consider to help you make a more well rounded and educated choice.
As we mentioned there are 3 different types of feeders you can choose from; free standing, hanging, automatic/treadle. Which type is going to best fit the needs of your flock size, coop size, and personal schedule/lifestyle?
How much feed can the feeder hold? Will it need to be refilled every day or can you fill it once a week?
If you have a large flock you may want to get a single, high capacity treadle feeder so that you are not wasting much and you don't have to refill as often.
The size of your flock will play a major decision in what type of feeder you need. A high capacity treadle feeder may not be necessary for a 4 chicken flock. If you have 20 chickens, you're going to need something bigger than a 3 ½ lb plastic hanging feeder.
Easy to Clean
Not to be rude, but chickens can get pretty gross sometimes. If they were your roommate, you would kick them out pronto! What I'm getting at is you will need to clean your feeder from time to time.
The easier the feeder is to take apart and clean the better. It's a terrible feeling to clean a feeder and then not be able to put it back together.
Most chicken feeders are either made of metal or plastic. Both have their benefits and tradeoffs.
A metal feeder is generally going to be heavy and durable. They are capable of supporting a large amount of weight and thus can have a large capacity for feed.
Metal feeders are often times more expensive than plastic feeders but they usually last for a very long time.
Plastic feeders are typically more budget friendly than their metal counterparts. They are also a little more fragile and can crack more easily. But, if you care for them a good plastic feeder can last for a long time.
What type of feeder is best?
It can really come down to several different variables like the size of your flock, the space you have available, your schedule, etc. If you only have a few chickens and don't mind filling a feeder everyday, a trough may work just fine for you. But if you work late often or have a large flock, you may want something that you fill once a week.
Where should I put it?
You will want it to be in a place that it is safe from moisture. You will also want to make it convenient for your chickens to eat as well as to refill.
Hanging feeders are very popular. If you have an issue with flooding or a rodent problem, you should consider hanging your feeder.
How Many Feeders Do I Need?
The average chicken will eat about 4 ounces of feed per day. So you will go through a pound of food per day per 4 chickens. So, if you have a flock of 10 chickens, they will eat about 2 ½ lbs of food per day.
This means you will need a feeder that can hold a minimum of that amount. This is not factoring in spillage, waste, rodents, wild birds etc. It also means you will refill that feeder every day. If you don't want to refill every day you can either purchase a larger feeder or multiple feeders.
That's all there is to it! Our full review of the best chicken feeders. Here's to a happy and well fed flock!