One of the most common type of ground feeders is a trough. We offer troughs of various sizes in both galvanized metal as well as plastic fabrication.
The primary advantage of trough feeders is that they are easier to clean than a hanging feeder. This benefit makes a ground feeder the ideal vessel for wet feeds like mash. And, they are the only practical way to hold kitchen scraps like chopped fruits and vegetables.
Good trough feeders have guards on them to prevent birds from roosting on top. You want to avoid allowing birds to roost over your ground feeders because their dropping will contaminate the feed. Another way to discourage roosting is to attach your trough to a wall. When attached to a wall, there is not enough space for a chicken to roost. The “Reel Top” feeders have a rolling mechanism on top so birds have trouble roosting, and the slide top feeders have partially covered tops with small openings for feed access.
The general rule of thumb for trough feeders is that they should hold only enough feed for one day. That means you must refill trough feeders daily, and it also means that food will be less likely to go bad. You are better off using a few smaller troughs instead of one long one. Having multiple troughs allows birds lower in the pecking order to get some food too. Smaller troughs are also lighter and easier to clean.
You should only fill a trough up to 2/3 full. By leaving the top 1/3 empty, you will reduce the amount of feed that spills out and is wasted when your chickens peck. Using this approach, you can expect to lose only about 10% of your feed. You can even take it a step farther and fill your troughs only half full and reduce you loss to 5%. Just keep in mind the lower your fill level, the more troughs you will need.
Unlike a hanging feeder, when using a trough do not add new feed on top of old feed. If you do, you run the risk of having the feed on the bottom go bad. When using troughs, always empty them before adding new feed. And, make sure clean your troughs thoroughly every few days.
The amount of feed that a chicken consumes depends on the breed of the chicken as well her age, size and the climate or conditions she is living in. The following points illustrate how food consumption varies:
- Mature bantams only eat about ½ lb per week
- Mature egg layer eats about 2 lbs per week
- Mature dual-purpose chickens eat about 3 lbs per week
- Mature meat bird eats about 10 lbs total in order to reach butchering weight
The following are some of the various ground feeders that we carry: