DIY chicken water and feeder from 5-gallon buckets

DIY Chicken Water and Feeder From 5-Gallon BucketsNot everyone needs a post on a DIY chicken water and feeder from 5-gallon buckets, but someone out there does need it! Is it you? Even if you don’t have your own hens yet, this might be something to store away in your “someday” file because you just never know when you might need some great info that will save you a dollar or two! Or you might have a friend who is getting into backyard chickens and you could mention this cool site you found *cough cough* and then they could benefit!


We have to start out today’s post with a shout out to Ryobi Tools. After meeting their fun crew at SNAP! (a blogging conference) in April I emailed them and asked for some help on my long, long list of projects I’ve been wanting to get done. They were awesome to work with me and sent me a huge bag of tools of my very own. Husband was totally jealous. The first thing I whipped up was this DIY portable chicken run. These DIY chicken water and feeders are project number two.

I told them that in exchange for the tools, I’d tell you all when I used them and about something pretty cool that they have going on. One things I like about Ryobi is that it’s so much more than a tool company. They have worked really hard to put together a website/community called Ryobi Nation. Ryobi Nation is essentially Pinterest for the DIYer but way more interactive. If you click on this link or on the image below then it will zip you over to Ryobi Nation.

You’ll be able to see some amazing projects that people just like you and me have made and posted about. These people are seriously talented and have some really neat ideas. Pop over and you’ll get some great ideas of things you’ll be wanting to make yourself! Sign up to be a part of the Nation and you can leave comments and vote on projects (winners get sweet prizes). Enjoy a new distraction. :)

Ryobi Nation - boombox1

Now onto the tutorial.

DIY chicken water and feeder from 5-gallon buckets

What you’ll need:

Two 5-gallon buckets with lids (free – they are everywhere! Really… just ask your local sandwich shop to save you a few the pickles come in.)
1-inch standard drill bit or paddle drill bit
Two large foil roasting pans ($2 – pick them up at the Dollar Store)

I found this awesome video by Ric Steel on Youtube on how to make these. I used his ideas and techniques. I highly recommend watching it. He’s a great host and has lots of tips and tricks for using these (like how to keep the water from freezing in the winter).

How to:

For the DIY chicken feeder:
Clean and empty your 5-gallon bucket. Along the bottom edge of the bucket drill 1-inch holes all the way around the bottom, spacing the holes about 2 inches apart. Place the bucket inside the foil roasting pan, right-side-up (holes in the pan), and then fill it with chicken feed. The feed will pour through the holes into the pan and as they eat, more will come out. Replace the lid to the bucket so that the chickens can’t get to the food from the top (and poo in it…). Easy!

For the DIY chicken waterer:
Clean and empty your 5-gallon bucket. Along the bottom edge of the bucket drill two 1-inch holes, holes opposite of each other. Place the bucket inside the foil roasting pan, right-side-up (holes in the pan), and then fill it with chicken water. Quickly replace the lid and make sure that it has an airtight seal. This seal is key!! The water will stop coming out of the holes once the water covers the holes completely if the lid is airtight. The water will keep running out of the bucket and over flow the roasting pan if there isn’t a good seal. It’s a hydrodynamics things… just ask my water engineer husband; he’d gladly explain it to you.

The video that I got the ideas from has two different options for the waterer – one that you fill up with a hose and stays stationary and a little different design that you carry the bucket to the water. I recommend watching and seeing which best fits your needs.

Here’s how all that looks in pictures:

What you need:
DIY Chicken Water and Feeder From 5-Gallon Buckets

Drill some holes:
chicken feeder how to

chicken feed and and buckets

Completed DIY chicken feeder:
chicken feeder from 5 gallon bucket

Completed DIY chicken water with lid (see, it’s not leaking!)
chicken water from 5 gallon bucket

The ladies enjoying their new housewares:
chicken feeder from bucket with top perch

I stuck a board on top of them both so that the chickens could stand on top and poop wouldn’t fall into the pans. The goal with such large food and water supplies was to cut down on chicken maintenance and poo in the water is not maintenance free. I’d rather prevent than clean.

The idea behind using the heavy duty aluminum pans was that they are cheap and easy to find. It really cuts down on the cost. I’ve been using mine for about three weeks now and things are looking great. I’ll keep you updated though on how well the foil roasters hold up.  5-gallon feeder and waters at the feed store cost between $50 and $60 (EACH!), so being able to make your own is a much cheaper option and the hens sure don’t know the difference. It only cost me $2 total to make both the DIY chicken water and feeder and maybe 30 minutes worth of work. You really can’t beat those numbers!

Again, a big thanks to Ryobi for helping me get this done, and don’t forget to check out Ryobi Nation for some killer projects ideas.

Thanks for reading and happy backyard chickens to you :)

(Psst. If you are new you can meet my newest chicks here and check out my backyard chicken history here. Enjoy!)


50 comments on “DIY chicken water and feeder from 5-gallon buckets

  1. Looks too easy to be true. I will be making these today, I hope they work. I am glad I didn’t spend $35.00 on a waterer and $30.00 on a feeder. Instead I spent $3.00 for each bucket, and $5.00 for each rubber bowl. TOTAL $16.00 vs the $65.00 I could have spent!