Automatic Chicken Feeder

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Alexsherrington
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Automatic Chicken Feeder

Post by Alexsherrington » Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:43 am

I am a student from the west midlands making an automatic chicken feeder for my A-level project. I have made a quick questionnaire which will only take about 2 minutes to fill in I would be very appreciative if you could answer it, as I don't know a lot about chicken food. https://surveys.enalyzer.com?pid=cibem5ca
:D :D
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rick
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Re: Automatic Chicken Feeder

Post by rick » Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:38 pm

Hi Alex,

I didn't get far through your questionnaire before hitting a flaw in the questioning. Most of us will make the feed freely available as chickens will only eat what they need as long as the calorific value of the feed is correct (as is always the case with properly formulated layers pellets etc.) My hens typically have a weeks supply available at once which they take as they need throughout the day.

There are lots of projects around chickens - particularly in monitoring their egg laying, health and making things interesting for them if their range is limited - but an automatic chicken feeder is... a chicken! :)
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Marigold
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Re: Automatic Chicken Feeder

Post by Marigold » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:57 pm

hi Alex, and welcome to the Forum. Like Rick, I tried to do your questionnaire, but found it didn't make sense. I wonder if you actually have any experience with keeping chickens? It does appear that you need to do more research into their lifestyle before attempting to design a feeder for them.
Like all birds, chickens need to eat small amounts more or less continuously throughout the day. They don't eat separate meals, like you might give to a dog or cat for instance. So your questions about how much do you feed your chickens, and how often, are not relevant. A chicken will eat between 110-150g of chicken pellets per day, depending on size and appetite, so you need to design a feeder which will hold and dispense at least 2-5 kilos of feed for them to eat as and when they want it, without spilling the feed all over the floor.
I also found your questions about storage a bit confusing. Chicken feed usually comes in 20-kilo sacks, which should then be decanted into a sturdy container, eg a dustbin with lid, where it can be stored dry and cool, and safe from rats and vermin, until it's used to fill the feeder. If your project is to design a feeder, storage of the bulk feed itself isn't very relevant.
The main problems with feeder design are blockages because the feed gets damp, goes mouldy and won't flow properly; feed being emptied out on to the ground when the hens scratch or flip it out with their beaks or feet; and instability because the feeder isn't firmly fixed or is inherently unbalanced, resulting in the feeder itself toppling over. Other problems include wild birds and vermin getting access to the feed, and rain making it cake up and become inedible - though these problems are partly due to whether the feeder is located in a dry roofed area, or in a run closed to wild birds and vermin.
I suggest you have a read through this section of the Forum, where you'll find some more threads about feeders and nutrition, to give you a bit more background for your project. E.G, this thread recently; viewtopic.php?f=124&t=10647
Also, browse the internet and look at ads for different types of feeder to give you more ideas.
Then, if you'd like to redesign your survey, we'll be happy to give it a go and tell you what we think.
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rick
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Re: Automatic Chicken Feeder

Post by rick » Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:25 pm

Chicken keepers will often throw scratch grain across the run to give the hens some exercise scratching around to find it. A keeper would naturally note if any hens were not joining in the fun as that would be an early indication of poor health (unless they were busy on the nest of course.) Scratch is a treat as a 'boredom buster' - only a limited amount per day.
If it has to be an 'automatic feeder'... Just a thought...

Just to add - Re the second sentence above: counting active chickens in a video stream and processing a reliable result is a phenomenally difficult thing to do! Don't waste your time on my crackpot suggestions unless it will score you big points in the marking criteria! :-)07
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