Diy baby chick feeder

How to make a DIY chicken and quail feeder for 0 dollars – Road Less Unraveled

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DIY feeders for your brooder that cost nothing

If you’ve already read my previous posts on chicken rearing, you can probably guess that I’m a fan of diy’ing over buying when possible.

This applies to chicken feeders too. I hate most feeder designs because they’re yet more scraps of plastic polluting the planet. They also suck at what they’re supposed to do!

No matter what, your chickens will find a way to spill their food all over the floor. Your chickens will also inevitably find a way to drop a deuce or two in their food. These things will happen no matter what.

So if these things will happen no matter what, why are you wasting money on buying useless feeders?

Sometimes the best solutions are the ones we create ourselves using free stuff we have around the house.

Best baby chick feeder (0-1 weeks old)

My new favorite feeder for new baby chicks consists of a row of paper egg cartons. Elevate the feeder up to the height of your chicks’ heads so they can’t poop in their food or kick the food all over the place. I secure the egg cartons to the sides of my brooder walls with twist ties.

As the babies get older, they’ll start getting naughty. They’ll climb into the cups of the feeder. Very cute!

They’ll also be just tall enough to poop inside the feeders. Not so cute!

This is when you rip out the egg cartons and throw them in your compost pile.

Zero waste homestead!

The paper egg cartons are big enough to hold food for chicks up to one week old. At this stage you should only have to refill the feeder about 2-3 times a day.

Once they get bigger, you’ll want to upgrade to diy hanging feeders…

Keep reading!

Paper egg carton feeders for new chicks. Compost the cardboard when the chicks outgrow them.

Best diy hanging chicken feeder (1 week+ to adulthood)

For bigger chicks and even adult chickens, hanging feeders are the best way to keep their food clean of poop and to keep them from flicking their food all over the place.

I use regular 1L pop bottles for my older chicks. If you have more chicks, or full grown chickens, you’ll want to use larger soda bottles to store more feed.

Simply cut 3 openings about 2″-3″ up from the bottom of the bottle. The openings should be wide and tall enough for your chickens to stick their heads in without scratching their combs or wattles. You don’t want the openings any bigger because multiple chickens will try to stick their heads in the same hole and end up pecking each other.

Some people elevate their feeders by stacking bricks underneath, but this just gives naughty chickens a step up when they want to topple their feeder.

I like to hang my feeders. Again, you’ll want to hang the bottles so the opening is just at their head height when they’re standing upright (maybe 1″ higher, depending on the age of your chickens). This keeps them from gripping the opening with their legs. It’s also just high enough that they can’t stick their butt holes in the openings…

Try it out and watch them eat. If it’s too high for them to reach the last bits of food in the bottom of the bottle, you’ll want to lower the feeder a bit.

As your chickens grow, you can adjust the height of the bottles along with their growth.

Hanging 1L bottle feeders. No mess. No wasted food. No poop. These babies are not happy that I’m sneaking a photo during their lunchtime. Look at those angry faces!

Sometimes the best and most frugal solutions to common problems are found in items we all have lying around the house. Let me know if you have any other nifty ways to reuse household items for your chooks!


On the path to figuring out how to survive in a system that wants to chew me up and spit me out. From autism, to finding ways to make a living without a job, to frugality, to retiring early, to homesteading. Finding a road that’s less unraveled. That’s pretty much what this site is all about.

Homemade Chick Waterer • The Prairie Homestead

When I was meandering through the aisle of the feed store the other day, I almost grabbed one of those plastic chick waterers. I knew we were going to be needing one soon, since the coop is clean and shiny and the chicks are set to arrive in a couple weeks.

But of course, my craziness  innovative, frugal mentality won out, and I decided I would challenge myself to create my own chick waterer from materials I had at home.

After several conversations with my scientifically-minded husband regarding the laws of physics, I scrounged up various plastic containers and began to conduct experiments.

Let’s just say I should have payed more attention to our conversations, as I ended some with some flooded counters and sopping wet dish towels.

Anyway. I do believe I have mastered the elusive chick waterer. I am excited to share my findings with you, in hopes of saving you several physics lessons and wet kitchen floors.

First off, here is what I came up with after treasure hunting around my home:

My intial idea was to repurpose this old parmesan cheese container for the top portion. I then cut the bottom off of a plastic gallon jug to make a “dish” that is around 3 inches tall.

However, after some trial runs, I found that the parmesan container didn’t work because the lid did not seal securely enough.

So I found a 48 oz lemon juice bottle instead. I highly recommend using a bottle that has a small cap, since it’s important that the container holding the water be airtight.

I then poked a small hole, about the diameter of a pencil, near the bottom of the jug.

I used a hot glue gun to attach the bottle to the tray. I didn’t want to use any sort of glue that might leach into the water and harm the chicks.

And now you are ready to fill ‘er up.  The tray should fill until the hole is covered, and then stop. When the chicks drink, the bottle should slowly release water to provide fresh water at all times. A self-refreshing waterer is more ideal than an open pan, since it prevents the chicks from taking a bath or drowning. And we don’t want that.

Ready to make your own?

Homemade Chick Waterer Notes

  • There are numerous options when it comes to raw materials. Dig through your recycling box, garbage can, or pantry to see what will work. The bottom tray needs to be several inches larger in diameter than your water container. Some ideas could include: milk jugs, yogurt tubs, gallon jugs, large plastic water bottles, etc.


  • Make sure to thoroughly wash everything before assembly and don’t use any container that might have had substances that would be toxic to the chicks.


  • The container that you choose to hold the water must have a lid and be air tight.


  •  Be mindful of where you place the hole. If it is too high, the tray will overflow. If it is too low, the water level might be unreachable for the chicks.


  • If the water does not want to flow, try increasing the size of your hole.


Of course, these same principles could be applied to a larger scale to make a full-sized chicken waterer. If Prairie Baby was older, this would have made a great science experiment. But as of right now, she is more interested in trying to chew on the containers. Oh well, maybe eventually. 😉

Have you ever made a homemade chicken waterer? What materials did you use?

Do-it-yourself feeder for chickens from improvised materials: photo and video