5 Chicken Feeders Worth Buying

by Susan Carter | Last Updated: May 2, 2022 When you buy something using the links on our posts, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

Grub’s Up!

Even free-range poultry, with the opportunity to graze, and scratch up bugs and insects, will need to be provided with a good-quality seed mix. If you don’t want to encourage vermin, it is far better to provide this in dedicated feeders, rather than scattering it across the yard.

As any poultry keeper will tell you, chickens can be particularly dumb – you may need to show them, several times over, where the feeder is, and, if you’re using a treadle feeder, how it actually works. They should get it with a week or so.

Feeders should be emptied out at the end of the day, ready to be refilled the next. This discourages rodents, and also prevents feed from going stale in the feeder, which can promote bacteria and disease.

As with drinkers, it is advisable to have two feeders, to ensure all the chickens in your flock have a chance to get to the feed when they want to.

Hanging Feeder – Miller 12lb Galvanized Hanging Feeder

After being disappointed by the quality of too many plastic feeders, we recommend something more substantial. Metal feeders come with their own problems, but you can normally deal with them yourself.

The Miller Feeder is a solid, durable feeder, although it doesn’t come with a lid. Lids can be purchased separately, but are quite costly.

The Miller hanging feeder also has a tendency to clog easily, which will result in frustrated, annoyed chickens! It may also mean that trapped food goes stale without being noticed: as well as attracting vermin, this will encourage disease, which you definitely don’t want.

Pros of the Miller

Cons of the Miller

Is the Miller value for money?

This feeder is a good price, so, if you’re not bothered about thoroughly checking it daily, and periodically shaking it throughout the day to release trapped feed, it could be a good basic option for use in your hen house or coop.

Automatic Feeder – Grandpa’s Farms Automatic Feeder

Grandpa’s Farms Automatic Feeder offers you the peace of mind of knowing you don’t have to rush home to feed the chickens (unless you want to, or need a convenient get out from awkward gatherings!)

It is easy to assemble, and comes in two sizes, so, however large your flock, you should be able to get an automatic feeder that holds enough for them all – and remember, it’s good practice to have a couple of feeders, in any case.

This is metal construction, which can be cold to handle, and for chickens to stand on, in extremes of winter weather. However, most chickens will prefer to spend much of their time in the coop during cold weather.

As this is treadle-operated, some chickens do struggle to grasp exactly how it works.

Pros of Grandpa’s Feeders

Cons of Grandpa’s Feeders

Is the Grandpa’s Feeders value for money?

These are very expensive feeders, and are probably more for the professional or semi-professional poultry keeper than the hobbyist keeping a small flock in their backyard.

Trough Feeder – Little Giant Reel-Top 36″ 

Most trough feeders we’ve tried are terrible – pretty good for chicks but bigger birds will just cause mayhem. They trample all over everything, they knock the troughs over – I’m sure you can imagine.

So we recommend you get something simple like the Little Giant. It isn’t sexy but it does the job. This feeding tray holds a lot and it is long enough that it should be able to feed your hens at the same time. We love how the spinning rod keeps the chickens from roosting and pooping on their food.

The fold-out feet are useful for bigger chickens and the tray overall really helps food from being wasted.

Pros of the Little Giant

Cons of the Little Giant

Feeder for Chicks – Little Giant Baby Chick Feeder

We just love the feel and functionality of the Little Giant Baby Chick Feeder – and so will your chicks! Simply plonk a mason jar on top and refill as needed.

It’s not exactly waste-free, since you get some spillage but it’s an extremely minor quibble. You’ll also get more spillage if you fill it too high, but it won’t take you long to get used to it.

The edges are rolled galvanized steel, so nothing for the chicks to snag on or peck at.

I did read one comment from a man with a very inquisitive chick who somehow got itself inside the feeder and he had a devil of a time getting him out. That wouldn’t stop me buying it, but I would have a think about what I’d do in that situation if I was using this as my main chick feeder.

Pros of the Little Giant Baby Chick Feeder

Cons of the Little Giant Baby Chick Feeder

Weatherproof Food Dispenser – RentACoop

The RentACoop Galvanized Chicken Feeder offers a full range of sizes, from the backyard handful right up to a professional-quantity flock. This waterproof trough feeder comes with a rain cover and 2x waterproof stickers. You can place it inside a coop or outdoors.

The design of this feeder minimizes food spillage to a very satisfying degree. It is best mounted and raised off the ground to shoulder height of the chickens so they can feed more easily. The big storage size minimizes constant refilling.

Pros of the RentACoop

Cons of the RentACoop

What to Look for in a Feeder

You’re looking for a feeder that can take enough feed to keep your birds happy for a full day, so you don’t have to keep going back and forth. Chickens that are able to free-range will also scratch themselves up grubs and insects, as well as grazing on low-level plants.

Your feeder needs to be of a design, or at a height, that discourages rodents. Hanging feeders might spring to mind, but remember that most rodents, especially rats, can jump far higher than you might imagine.

If your feeder sits on the ground, it is advisable to move it a little each day, to ensure no rats have set up a nest in or around it, as the presence of rats will discourage your poultry from feeding.

Treadle feeders are good, as they rely on a spring mechanism that is designed to be operated by the weight of a chicken, or heavier, meaning rodents shouldn’t be able to trigger them. However, rats, particularly, are quite intelligent, and can often work out how to get under the lid. Again, make sure you are emptying out unused feed, and checking in, under, and around your feeder every day.


An automatic feeder is a good option if you will be out of town for the day, and don’t want to worry about getting home to feed the chickens. It will automatically release feed, usually in response to treadle motion, at a set day.

Whether you use grain, pellets, or crumble feed, it should flow easily through your feeder, without spilling excessively from the tray.

Types of Feeders

Hanging feeders, as their names suggest, are often hung in the coop, or from the top of a chicken run. They are a good way to feed chickens that have to be confined, as they still allow for maximum floor space in the coop and run. Even free-range chickens may need to be confined, for example if there is an outbreak of avian flu, or during severe weather. It is therefore worth investing in hanging feeders to cover this eventuality.

While moving a feeder off the floor is a good first step to deterring vermin, remember that most rodents can jump and climb, so you will need to check your feeder to ensure that vermin haven’t got to it. This should be done on a daily basis.

Treadle feeders, once chickens have worked out how to use them, are the best option for keeping vermin and non-poultry birds away from your chickens’ feed, as the treadle should only respond to a chicken’s weight. Bear in mind, however, that rats are very intelligent, and may learn to open the lid, bypassing the treadle.


Automatic feeders are usually treadle-operated, but can be set to only release food at a set time. This is ideal with free-range chickens, as it encourages them to search for natural additions to their diet, which helps improve their intelligence and behaviour, and makes for healthier chickens overall.

An automatic feeder will usually be of minimal attractiveness to rats, as it won’t always release food if it is set on a timer. However, as with all feeders, you will still need to check daily for vermin activity.

Automatic feeders are also good if you are regularly out at work for the day, as you can set it to feed your chickens before you get home, so they’re not kept waiting.