DIY Chicken Waterer and Feeder from 5-gallon Buckets

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!

Now onto the tutorial.

DIY Chicken Waterer and Feeder From 5-Gallon Buckets

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).
  • Drill
  • 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 

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 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:
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. 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. 🙂

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

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.

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Cindy
Cindy

This is great. I have a new house that came with chickens and rabbits and mini pigs. I am going to make this for my animals so the pigs will not eat there food.

Jess
Jess

Great ideas! For the water, how do you fill the bucket without it running over the sides since the water only stops when the lid is on

Jeanayia
Jeanayia

I drilled my holes on the opposite end (about an inch or two) to prevent water spilling out when I filled it. Make sure you dont drill the holes too high because they should be submerged under the water in the pan. Worked great for me 🙂

Bobbie
Bobbie

Do you mind if I ask how long each fill lasts? I know that would depend largely on the number of chickens you have, but that would be helpful to know. Great job – thanks for sharing your expertise!!!

Ravikanth Benjamin
Ravikanth Benjamin

Excellent info. I like it.

elizabeth
elizabeth

GREAT CREATIVE WORK, COULD NOT IMAGINE THE ”THROW-AWAY” COULD BE OF SUCH GREAT USE IN MY FARM.

Anthony Joseph Falante
Anthony Joseph Falante

Great info,I set mine on a cinder block so they don’t scratch bedding into it

Nazia
Nazia

I used your idea but modified it by replacing the foil pan with one of those plastic pans that go with planters. I bolted it with 3/8 bolt and washers (rubber) to prevent leaks and now the buckets hang with the base attached. No water has leaked yet. Fingers crossed.

Leah
Leah

how do you fill the homemade waterers? The commercial ones have a rubber stopper that prevents water from flowing out while you’re filling it, how does this one work best to fill?
Thanks!

Nazia
Nazia

You could use a plug or tape and remove after your lid is placed..

Tina
Tina

Be sure to remove the wire handle on the bucket, chickens or other foul can get caught (legs,beaks,necks) and die. Otherwise this is a really great feeder.

Ardelle
Ardelle

Excellent idea…my chickens may need these at some point.

ron
ron

what about pellet feed and water holes seem too large maybe 1/4 inch holes

Bonnie Coffey

I got plastic drain pans from Dollar Tree for the bottoms of my feeder/waterer. They are just barely larger in diameter than the buckets. $1 each, sturdy and won’t corrode. They work great!

Ardelle
Ardelle

Like your idea.

Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.