Feeding the Chickens

We have two hanging feeders in the chicken coop.  They always have feed in them, to supplement what the chickens get from their foraging.

The feeders are designed so that the feed is poured in at the top and the chickens eat it out of an opening at the bottom.

Our chickens don’t like it that way.  They prefer to perch on top of the feeder (or crane their necks down into it) and eat from the top.  I tried explaining to them that they’re doing it all wrong, but they just ignore me.



One of the youngsters has figured out my routine.  We keep the feed in a barrel in the coop.  This chicken waits till I take the top off of the barrel, then hops over in it to feast.



I’ve been tempted to put the lid on with her in it, to see if that breaks the habit.  But instead, I just lift her out.  She always seems alarmed when I pick her up.  By now it seems to me she should be expecting it.  They’re not the brightest animals on the farm.



23 comments on “Feeding the Chickens

  1. shoreacres says:

    I’m not sure if that young chicken inside the feed barrel is dumb, or smart. Seems to me she’s figured out how to maximize her chances! As for that eating out of the top of the feeder business, that looks to me just a bit like the chicken version of “never mind the dish, I’ll just eat this ice cream out of the carton.”

    Thanks for the morning grin!


    • Bill says:

      She’s definitely clever. She’s the only chicken we’ve ever had who figured out there’s feed in the barrel. It just makes me laugh that she seems surprised every time I reach in and take her out, even though it’s been going on for weeks.


  2. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, Chickens are well, chickens. Who can figure out what goes through the mind of a chicken. I suspect it’s pretty basic with pretty much nature’s only two things on there mind, food and survival when danger arises. Life should be so simple for us. I agree with you in that chickens are not the brightest animal on the homestead.

    Have a great chicken feeding day.


    • Bill says:

      The drive to our house passes by the coop. The chickens are usually out foraging on the other side of the road from their coop. But whenever a vehicle comes down the road they all panic and dash toward the coop, taking them from safely out of the way to often directly under the wheels of a moving vehicle. They’re not the brightest animals on the farm, that’s for sure.


  3. jubilare says:

    I dunno, she’s bright enough to figure out the food-source. 😉 Maybe her “surprise” is actually indignance?


  4. bobraxton says:

    surely a chicken TED talk would do the trick


  5. Why peck at the outlet when you can go directly to the source? 🙂


    • Bill says:

      If I take a handful of feed out of the feeder and toss it out the door of the coop, they’ll all scramble out the door after it, making a tumultuous racket. Even though it’s the exact same feed available to them in the feeder anytime they want it, they behave as if I just tossed out a handful of candy.


  6. I have the same feeders, and my pullets are doing the same thing. My older hens don’t seem to bother doing this – maybe because of their size. Actually a couple of pullets roost on it, which is just great, because of the poop that accumulates in the feeding tray.


    • Bill says:

      Oh yeah. I have two pullets who insist on roosting on the edge of a nesting box, filling it with poo nightly. And it’s pretty common for one to stand on top of the waterer during the day and poop over into the lip of it. Chickens.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. pattisj says:

    Love the chicken in the can! They must be related to the pigeons in our yard.


  8. avwalters says:

    If you’re waiting for bright from a chicken, expect a long wait.


  9. EllaDee says:

    The wild birds are the same at my Dad’s bird feeder, they far prefer to get in and eat from the top. Like humans, I’m sure even if they were able to explained the instructions they woul disregard them.


  10. I find the chickens antics priceless regardless of their lack of brain power. Not sure that says much about me – apparently I’m easily entertained!
    I have the same feeders and to keep the pullets out (and more importantly – the poop) I cover them with tin pie plates. They fit perfectly in the top although you have to bend the edge to get past the feeder handle. As to poop free water – we set one up using a 5 gallon food grade bucket and some chicken nipples (sorry – that is what they are called) like these http://www.avianaquamiser.com/chickennipple/


    • Bill says:

      I’ve been planning to switch to the nipple waterers for years but still haven’t done it. The waterer we use stays pretty clean as long as we keep it up on blocks. Still, your system is better.


  11. df says:

    Those picture are really priceless. I love that chickens seem to make the best of what comes to hand. Not bright, maybe, but pragmatic in their own way.


    • Bill says:

      Our chickens are spoiled. I just gave them some tomatoes a few minutes ago. They come running when they see me. And the red pullet jumped over in the feed barrel again. She’s starting to be a little calmer when I lift her out now.


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