Backyard chickens are becoming increasingly popular. While these birds can provide you with fresh eggs, many breeds make great pets as well. With more people discovering the joy of keeping their own chickens, many small poultry feeders are coming onto the market. Most of these are appropriate for feeding a few birds in your backyard. They come in all different shapes and sizes, with some working better for certain situations than others.
In this article, we look at the top poultry feeders to help you choose which one is best for your chickens and situation. Our reviews should help you decide on the best chicken feeder for your backyard birds.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Lixit Poultry Feeder & Waterer||
|Best Value||Ware Chick-N-Feeder||
|Happy Hen Treats Chicken Square Treat Basket||
|Kebonnixs Automatic Chicken Cup Waterer and Port Feeder Set||
|Harris Farm Galvanized Hanging Poultry Feeder||
The 10 Best Chicken Feeders for Your Backyard Flock — Reviews 2022
1. Lixit Poultry Feeder & Waterer — Best Overall
For backyard flocks of most sizes, we recommend the Lixit Poultry Feeder & Waterer. The base is reversible, so you can simply switch it upside down if you want to use it as a water bowl. Purchase two, and you can use them for both food and water. The sides are labeled for easy use, and flipping it is extremely simple. You just unscrew the top section and screw it back on the other side after filling it with either food or water.
The reservoir holds about 64 ounces of water or 4 pounds of food. The opening is wide enough for you to easily clean it. It also means that it can handle larger pieces of food and won’t get jammed often. Chickens can be messy, so the whole thing is made to be cleaned quickly with a damp cloth. It is water-proof and withstands the elements quite well.
While we specifically looked at the 64-oz. option, there is a 128-oz. feeder available for those with many birds. It works basically the same way, except everything is a bit larger. We recommend getting a size that is bigger than you need, as the sizes label total capacity. If you need to store exactly 64 oz. of water, you’re going to end up with a very full container if you choose the smaller option.
2. Ware Chick-N-Feeder — Best Budget Option
The Ware Chick-N-Feeder is extremely simple and inexpensive. It is made to be hung or set down on the ground so your birds can eat from every angle. The all-weather plastic design withstands the elements well, allowing you to use it outside at all times of the year. A scratch ring prevents the food from being spilled as the chickens eat, preventing food waste and saving you money. This feeder separates into two pieces for easy cleaning and use.
The scatter guard is extremely helpful for chickens that like to make a mess. However, some chickens find it frustrating to eat the food if they can’t scatter it like they want. For this reason, some chickens may not like this feeder.
One of the reasons that this feeder is so cheap is due to its slightly less durable construction. It just doesn’t stay together quite as well as other feeders on the market, which can cause problems if you have a bunch of feisty chickens.
3. Happy Hen Treats Chicken Square Treat Basket
The Happy Hen Treats Chicken Square Treat Basket only works in certain situations. It has a different design than other feeders and isn’t made to be used with chicken pellets or similar food options. Instead, it works best when you have larger items that you can put inside. The wire mesh prevents the chickens from dragging the whole piece of food off, but it does allow them to remove small pieces. This helps ensure that all the chickens get a little bit and prevents huge messes. It works best with treat squares or suet cakes.
It can be hung from the chicken coop or simply placed on the ground, though you should always anchor it to ensure that the chickens don’t move the whole basket around while trying to eat what’s inside. It isn’t really made to hold all the food that your chicken needs for a complete diet, but it does provide an opportunity for extra mental stimulation.
This wire feeder is designed to be extremely low maintenance. You don’t have to clean it often or do much to maintain it.
4. Kebonnixs Automatic Chicken Cup Waterer and Port Feeder Set
Provide your chickens with both food and water using the Kebonnixs Automatic Chicken Cup Waterer and Port Feeder Set. The port feeder prevents your chickens from spilling or soiling the food, saving you money and keeping their food as sanitary as possible. It also keeps the food dry, making it a great option for rainier climates. There is no need to install a top over this feeder, as it takes care of that for you. It holds 10 pounds of food, which is enough for many chickens.
The waterer is similar. It automatically replenishes itself with clean water. The chickens don’t have to peck anything special. It can hold 2 gallons of water, though you will still have to refill it regularly. The inner cup is detachable for easy cleaning.
This set does cost more than most options, however. It also takes up quite a bit of room, so be sure you have the available space before you make your purchase. If you don’t need a waterer, then this set isn’t for you. It also doesn’t have any heat, so the water will freeze when the temperature drops.
5. Harris Farm Galvanized Hanging Poultry Feeder
As far as poultry feeders are concerned, the Harris Farm Galvanized Hanging Poultry Feeder is an average option. It features a simple hanging design: You fill up the middle portion, and it slowly channels food to the outside area where the chickens can eat it. It can hold 15 pounds of food, which is more than enough for most backyard flocks. The steel construction can withstand quite a bit of use. All the edges are rolled to prevent cuts. The clips are spring-loaded for easy use, and you can adjust them as necessary.
This container does not have a lid. It can be tipped over and spilled if you place it on the ground. It also doesn’t keep the food on the inside dry or protected from the elements. Bugs can easily find their way inside if they make it past your chickens. This is not a rodent-proof chicken feeder, as the top is completely open.
The holes that the food comes out of can also be potentially dangerous, as chickens can get their beak stuck in them.
6. Royal Rooster Chicken Poultry Feeder with Rain Cover
The Royal Rooster Chicken Poultry Feeder with Rain Cover is designed differently from most other feeders on the market. The large tube is designed to be hung on a fence or inside a cage. Food comes down into three small channels underneath a roof. It is rodent-proof and will keep the food dry when it rains. Attaching it onto mesh is quite easy. One feeder is advertised as working for four to six chickens, which is the usual size of a backyard flock.
However, only one chicken can access the food at a time. If one chicken decides to hoard the food, this can obviously cause problems. While this feeder is innovative and may work great for easygoing chickens, others may run into problems with this feeder.
While the roof does work against gentle rain, it isn’t completely waterproof. Water can seep into the tube and get all the food wet.
7. RentACoop Chicken Feeder
For those with many chickens, the RentACoop Chicken Feeder may work quite well. It is large and holds 20 pounds of food. It has a lid to keep water out and to discourage birds from roosting on it, which helps keep the food clean. The porthole design also keeps the food dry and sanitary, while still allowing the birds to eat out of it.
While this feeder accomplishes many things, it is quite expensive for what it is. If you have many chickens, this may be your best option because it is cheaper than purchasing many different feeders. However, if you only have a few chickens, you don’t need something this pricey. These feeders are also not that well made. The holes are often cut unevenly, with jagged edges. The overhang inserts don’t always fit nicely and may need to be DIYed with adhesive.
Overall, we don’t feel that this feeder is worth the price unless you have many chickens. For flocks over eight, you may want to consider this. Otherwise, get something smaller.
8. Ware Corner Cage Chicken Feeder
For the corner of your chicken’s cage, you may want to consider the Ware Corner Cage Chicken Feeder. It fits perfectly into the corner of your coop, saving quite a bit of space. Made of galvanized steel, it is extremely durable and can withstand wear and tear.
This feeder works well in some situations, especially if you purchase multiple ones for all the corners. It is smaller than many other options, so don’t plan on feeding a whole flock of chickens with just one feeder. It can only hold enough food for a single animal. However, if you purchase four to have in each corner, then it substantially increases this product’s useability.
Furthermore, only one animal can eat from this feeder at a time. If you only have a few chickens, this may not be much of a problem. Larger flocks will benefit from a feeder that can be accessed by all sides, however.
9. Ware Trough Chicken Feeder
The Ware Trough Chicken Feeder has one of the simplest designs out there. It is basically a large trough, which makes it extremely easy to use with a larger group of chickens. A wire scratch guard prevents the chickens from scattering the food and wasting it, saving you money in the long run. It also discourages chickens from climbing on it, as it is rather uncomfortable to sit on. The heavy-duty steel construction withstands most outdoor conditions.
The capacity of this trough is rather large, so this feeder works best for big flocks. You also need quite a bit of space for it, so be sure to measure your coop before purchasing this feeder. We recommend this for flocks of about six chickens. You will likely need to supplement with other feeders if you have more chickens than that.
The biggest problem with this feeder is that it tips over easily. If you have rambunctious chickens that will try to sit on it, this can be a problem. The legs are not that strong and the bottom is not particularly heavy, making it extremely unstable once you fill it up with food.
10. Ware Poultry Feeder
The Ware Poultry Feeder is one of the largest available. It can hold up to 17 pounds of food, which is far more than most feeders. The plastic is UV-stabilized to prevent damage from the sun and built to withstand heavy outdoor use. You can hang it up using the metal hook or set it directly on the ground.
You can adjust the amount of food that your hens get with the food flow adjuster. This works great for birds that tend to eat too quickly. It comes apart for easy cleaning and has larger openings to prevent clogs. The design keeps your chickens’ food sanitary and prevents waste. A scratch guard eliminates food scattering by preventing your chicken from scratching food out of the container.
The main problems with this feeder seem to involve shipping. Missing parts are common. In particular, the metal hook and auto feeder tend to be absent, which makes this feeder less helpful to use.
There is much that you need to consider when choosing a chicken feeder for your backyard flock. You want to avoid food wastage by ensuring that the chickens can’t scatter the food and to prevent water from seeping inside. Of course, you don’t want a potentially dangerous chicken feeder either. There are several feeders on the market that can cause injuries to chickens.
In this section, we look at a few things that you should keep in mind when looking for a feeder for your chickens.
The average chicken needs about ¼ pound of food a day, or about 1½ pounds a week. Of course, the breed of your chickens, as well as the current climate and other factors, can all affect how much your chickens eat. However, you can use these numbers for planning purposes.
When deciding which chicken feeder to get, you should preferably choose one that is large enough to feed all your chickens for a day. If you’re planning on going on vacation, you’ll need one that can hold enough food for several days. The larger the feeder, the more expensive that you can expect it to be. You’ll also need somewhere to put it, which can be a problem if you’re working with a smaller space.
You need to consider the safety of a feeder before purchasing it. Companies should be careful regarding the safety of their products, but this isn’t always the case. Remember that chickens like to peck everything and will try to roost on anything even slightly suitable. This can lead to injuries if your bird tries to peck small, metal holes or roost on something with sharp edges.
Generally, you should always err on the side of safety.
The price of chicken feeders varies widely. Some can cost under $10, while others cost over $100. Their size usually plays a major role. Larger feeders simply require more material to make them, so they are often more expensive. Feeders with more parts, like covers and flow adjusters, often cost more as well. In general, you should expect to pay more if you have a larger flock or want a feeder with all the bells and whistles.
Unless you plan on using the feeder solely inside a coop, it should be able to withstand wear and tear. The rain and sun can take a toll on a feeder, even if it is just sitting outside. In fact, plastic can break down under heavy sunlight.
Metal is the most durable option, but it can also prove to be unsafe and expensive. High-quality plastic is often the best option, especially if it is treated to withstand constant sunlight. Chickens are often quite hard on products, so choose the most durable option that fits your budget.
Many features can potentially stop the wastage of food. Scratch guards can prevent your chickens from spreading the food around, while rain covers prevent the food from getting wet. You probably want as many food-saving features as possible. It will save you money and limit the number of times that you need to refill the container.
However, these features are only useful if they work. We recommend reading reviews to ensure that any “water-proof” feeders actually keep water out.
For small backyard flocks, we recommend the Lixit Poultry Feeder & Waterer. It is durable and safe. You can use it as both a feeder and a water bowl. Plus, it is relatively inexpensive when compared to other feeders.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive option, the Ware Chick-N-Feeder is suitable. It has all-weather plastic for durability and a scratch guard. For chicken treats, try the Happy Hen Treats Chicken Square Treat Basket.
We hope that our reviews have helped you pinpoint the best feeder for your chickens. Choose one that fits your size needs and can withstand your local climate.
Image Credit: RentAcoop, Amazon