As well as various forms of protein, occasional oyster grit and greens from our garden, we feed our chickens layer pellets. When we first got the girls, we simply threw the pellets on the ground, but found a large amount was getting hoovered up by our voracious local sparrows, instead of being converted into tasty, nutritious eggs.
To combat this, we got a treadle feeder. It’s an excellent idea – chickens stand in front of it (on a treadle) to open a flap which lets them access their pellets. Because the treadle needs a certain weight to operate it, this has almost eliminated food loss.
However, since the start of winter we’ve been having problems with the treadle feeder. Our coop is muddy, and a treadle clogged with mud won’t open properly. The result is under-nourished birds – something we’re desperately keen to avoid!
The Dine-a-Chook is an evolution of the drainpipe feeders, and seems easier to keep cleaned and stocked. It promises almost no food wastage, though I’ve seen one review questioning that (perhaps with an older model, though).
At least one of our Rhode Island Reds has already figured it out, and I’m sure the others will pick it up quickly. For the price of about $55 (including delivery), it’s great peace of mind to have a feeder that’s up off the ground, and will provide another option for our girls if they don’t want to (or can’t) use the treadle feeder.