Not everyone needs a post on a DIY chicken waterer 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!
Now onto the tutorial.
DIY chicken waterer 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 that 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) OR these large feed pans
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 thing….just ask my water engineer husband; he’d gladly explain it to you.
Here’s how all that looks in pictures:
What you need:
Drill some holes:
Completed DIY chicken feeder:
Completed DIY chicken water with lid (see, it’s not leaking!)
The ladies enjoying their new housewares:
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. Five-gallon feeders and waterers 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 waterer and feeder and maybe 30 minutes worth of work. You really can’t beat those numbers!
Thanks for reading and happy backyard chickens to you. 🙂
UPDATE OCTOBER 2017: I’ve now been using these same buckets as a DIY chicken waterer and feeder for over 4 years. I have upgraded from the tin foil turkey roaster pans though. Those pans lasted about 6 weeks but I was in it for the long haul. I picked up some large (about 16 inches wide and 4 inches deep) round metal pans from our hardware store to replace the pans in these pictures. Here are similar pans on Amazon. They cost me less than $10 each and have lasted 4 years. So for $20 total, instead of $2, I have a large feeder and waterer that I’ve been using for years. They work great and I still highly recommend making these.