Help us welcome our new sponsor Grandpa's Feeders! Is this not a state-of-the-art feeder? And I love how it's called a 'Chook' Feeder (because they were developed in New Zealand and that's what they call chickens down under).
Grandpa's Feeders was founded more than a decade ago and their feeders are available for sale in Australia, the UK and the US in addition to New Zealand. The feeders are designed to keep the hens (or should I say chooks!) from scratching the feed out, standing or pooping in the feeder, and to keep the feed dry and safe from wild birds, rodents and insects.
The good folks at Grandpa's Feeders couldn't have been nicer when I contacted them and mentioned that we were having a bit of a mouse problem. Not only had mice been getting into our brand new bags of feed before I could get them into plastic containers (thank you Linus, our barn cat, for sleeping on the job!)....
Since we have ducks as well as chickens, we don't use traditional chicken feeders but instead use deep rubber tubs for the feed. Of course it was getting scattered everywhere and a lot of it was being wasted in addition to what the mice were coming around eating.
Grandpa's Feeders offered to send me a feeder to try out and review for you all and assured me that not only would it work with both chickens and ducks, but it would solve our mouse problem. (They also offered to send one lucky fan a feeder as well, but more about that later !)
Several days later, a box arrived. I am not sure who was more excited about it - me or the girls! They seemed more intrigued by the box honestly.
A bit of assembly is required, but I accomplished that easily using just a pair of pliers in about two minutes. There are instructions printed right on the inside of the lid which makes everything very easy to figure out.
It's a three step process to 'teach' your chickens to use the feeder. Honestly, I had my doubts about it when I first read the Grandpa's Feeders website. Not that I didn't think our chickens were smart enough to figure out that they had to step on the platform to access their food, but I was afraid they would be too lazy! Remember, these girls don't even like to have to shell their own sunflower seeds!
But I figured I had to give it a try, so I set the feeder up and set the hinged lid fixed at the highest setting, as instructed, to get them used to sticking their heads in. I put some scratch in to entice them and as you can see, they took right to it.
|~The girls didn't hesitate sticking their heads inside to grab some scratch~|
|~Week One the hinged lid stays open all the time~|
Initially I was concerned about the ducks being suspicious and not wanting to use the feeder, but once I filled it with feed, they dove right in, although Sebastian wasn't willing to step on the platform quite yet!
Week Two: The lid is set so it will only close halfway, giving the chickens time to get used to it moving a bit. It takes about 14 ounces of weight to open it (the average standard-sized chicken weighs about 3-4.5 lbs), so one chicken is easily able to open the feeder by herself. (Note: The feeder should never be used for baby chicks because they are small enough to be able to hop in and may become trapped.) This is a 'big girls' feeder only!
|~Week Two the feeder is set partially open~|
|~Still not a bit of hesitation - the girls love their new feeder!~|
Week Three: Now for the real test. The feeder was now set on full automatic, and would stay shut until the platform was stepped on. First morning, there was a bit of confusion! PeeWee wanted to know where her breakfast was!
Madeleine, Praline and Eve came by next.....hmmm, where's the food?
Praline and Magda thought maybe they could figure out the mystery....to no avail.
But all it took was one smarty pants.... Cora inadvertently walked across the platform and voila! There's the food! PeeWee quickly rushed over to join her.
Then Eva joined them and one by one - or actually in threes and fours - the girls all stopped by to eat their fill. I find that about four hens will gather around to eat at the same time. Although it is recommended to remove all other feeders while you are in the 'training' phase, I left out the other feeders since I felt this one feeder would be too restrictive for our 22 chickens and 8 ducks and some might not get enough to eat, but the girls actually went out of their way to use this new fun feeder!
The ducks even figured it out and seemed to actually get a kick out of stomping on the platform to make their food appear! Meanwhile, as you can see, there is virtually no waste. The hens can't scratch the feed out onto the ground, and the birds and mice no longer have access day or night.
This truly is a wonderful feeder. I'm sold on it. Hardly any wasted feed, no worries about the feed being contaminated by wild birds or rodents, and it holds enough feed to last my flock of 22 chickens plus 8 ducks for about two days. Of course if you have fewer hens, it will last a lot longer.
Although I was not paid for this review, I did receive a feeder courtesy of Grandpa's Feeders at no cost. However, my views and comments here are completely unbiased, are entirely my own and have not been influenced in any way by the sponsor.