If the feeder design discourages eating, it will most likely have an impact on your chickens’ health.
An example of a bad feeder design is one that lets poop build up in the feed. A remedy for this is hanging a rainproof feeder with a no-roost top (Amazon) because it keeps chickens from roosting on top of the feeder and pooping in their feed. (Position the feeder so the hole with the feed is approximately the height of the birds’ backs.)
And, when the feeder rubs against the chickens’ combs or the chickens may be unable to fit their heads into the feeder to get food, the chickens outgrew their feeder and it’s time to get a new one.
Also, some feeders allow the feed to be scattered on the ground, where it not only attracts rodents but also combines with poop and moisture, which creates the perfect environment for disease-causing organisms.
How Many Feeders per Chicken
Give your chickens access to enough feeders so that at least 1/3 of them can eat together.
It’s a good idea to provide your flock with at least 2 feeders, even if 1 would be enough, to prevent the weaker birds from being scared away by the aggressive ones.
If you have multiple roosters, set up a feeding station for each one, at the very least.
Where To Place Feeders
By putting feeders in the chicken coop, you may prevent feed from getting wet but you’ll also encourage the chickens to spend more time inside.
You’ll encourage the flock to spend more time outside in the fresh air if the feeders are placed beneath a covered outdoor space.
But cheap outdoor feeders draw wild birds and other wildlife.
To remedy the problem of pests eating the chickens’ feed, it’s a good idea to get poultry treadle feeders (Amazon).
I had trouble with wild birds and squirrels getting into my chickens’ feed and this feeder stopped this problem (although it doesn’t help against raccoons, so bring the feeders inside your garage or house at night). It’s also supposed to keep their food dry, but I still have mine under shelters.
The feeders were a bit expensive (I got 3 to stop a bullying issue my chickens were having), but they paid for themselves because I’m not losing any more feed to pests.