How to keep chickens from spilling food?

Due to the limited space in their coop, I feed our hens from a Little Giant 3-pound hanging feeder. It’s the perfect size for the coop and, depending on how well behaved they are, you may only need to replenish it once every few days.

Even though every morsel looks the same to me, the hens love “scratching”  in the feeder to choose the tastiest one to eat. Females scrape the feeder, wasting food. It’s so annoying!

I took several precautions to minimize waste and overflow:

  • Make use of a feeder with a rim or lip around its outside.
  • Utilized a hanging feeder.
  • We used feed pellets instead of crumbles
How to keep chickens from spilling food

But this still wasn’t enough. One of my hens favorite thing to do is to clean out the feeder as soon as it is full.

I would fill it all the way to the top, and by late afternoon, it would be empty and blowing in the wind with all the food on the floor scattered inside.

Can you outsmart chickens to not spill the food?

I tried to manipulate her, to be honest because it was so annoying!

Let me tell you what I’ve did:

  1. I started putting out just enough food for the day in the feeder.
  2. To keep the girls occupied, I hung many additional cabbage piñatas and let them to run about freely.
  3. Until they cleaned the coop floor of most of the food, I refused to refill it.

You’re wondering did it worked? For a week, yes. After that, no!
I began researching for other types of feeders.

Even if they had an abundance of bigger ones that could be placed outside in the run, I do not like to put food or water in the run “after hours”, since I believe it might attract scavengers such as mice and rats.

I was asking myself, how do I stop my chickens from spilling feed?

After then, the answer to my prayers came. On Facebook, a person who also kept chickens, expressed their solution I was having.

As a result, I decided to give it a go. I just need a short length of chicken wire and a pair of wire cutters to complete the task. I had both of them.

It was thought that if a layer of chicken wire was placed over the feed, you could prevent the hens from wasting food by spilling it while still allowing them access to all of the food resources.

How to keep chickens from spilling food

This is what I ended up doing:

  1. I dismantled my feeder by removing its metal arm and nut.
  2. I used a bigger piece of chicken wire and cut it into the form of a circle, making sure that the edges extended beyond the circle by approximately three inches.
  3. After disassembling the feeder, I reassembled it while ensuring that the food would still have sufficient space to pass through the openings in the feeder.
  4. I cut the chicken wire so that the edges were just a little bit longer than the edges of the feeder. These were sharp corners. I took precautions by tucking the edges under the feeder’s lip to prevent the chickens from scratching the females or poking out their eyes. You could also duct tape the edges so they aren’t sharp, but use big pieces of tape that the girls can not really swallow if they mistakenly pulled them off.
  5. To finish, I double-checked my work and refilled the feeder, being sure to keep the edges in their original positions.

I removed all of the pine shavings from the feeder before putting it back in the coop.

How to keep chickens from spilling food

After giving it a deep clean, I re-hung it. Since then, about five days have passed, and there has been no leakage of any kind. I anticipate finding at least one pellet on the floor each and every day. I couldn’t be happier that there isn’t even one!


After publishing this post, there were a lot of questions about chicken feed, why chickens are messy, and etc.

I will try to answer the most common ones.

Should I feel comfortable tossing chicken feed on the ground?

Feeding hens in a coop is not the same as free-ranging chickens because of the different environments in which the chickens are fed. Parasite infections, contagious diseases, and coccidiosis are just some of the problems that may arise when feed is contaminated with droppings.

So, try to avoid as much as possible spilled food in the chicken coop.

Should food and water be available to chickens at night?

They don’t wake up for food or water after they go back to the roost for the night. Although, whey they’re awake, they need constant access to water and feed.

How often should I feed my chickens each day?

Daily chicken feed should be divided into two halves. This may easily be split into three or four smaller meals if you are home throughout the day. Chickens like to eat many smaller meals throughout the day rather than one huge one.

Are metal or plastic chicken feeders better?

Most poultry waterers and feeders are either plastic or plated metal. In general, plastic ones are less costly and simpler to clean, whereas galvanized metal ones are more long-lasting and sturdy but cost more.

It all comes down to what you like, can afford, and believe is best for your flock.

Can chickens eat from galvanized feeders?

Since supplements like ascorbic acid and other sanitizers induce corrosion, I have never loved metal. I’ve previously seen Chinese products of inferior quality that I would never use. Also, they rust pretty fast!

There is, obviously a high-quality metal feeders. The quality galvanized finish is resistant to corrosion and may persist for a very long period.

How many feeders do I need for 5 chickens?

Only one chicken feeder, however if you have more then 10 chickens we always suggest to go with one more.

When there is no space for them to eat, they start to peck at each other, which is bad!

Rodent, bird and weather-proof chicken feeder?

Here is a video of DIY Chicken feeder that you might like. To be honest, I really enjoyed watching how she created the product.

Let’s take a closer look.

Follow this steps to create similar DIY Chicken feeder:

What you need:

Large food-grade plastic bucket with a handle and a good lid (2-10L is good)

A square scrap of untreated timber

An eye bolt (stainless steel or galvanized)

A drill with appropriate bits; one matching eye bolt diameter & one slightly larger hole saw or spade bit.

How to do it:

Using the hole saw or spade bit, drill a small hole in the bucket base, making sure to remove any loose bits of plastic.

Drill a hole in the timber piece, to attach the bolt.

Thread the bolt through the hole in the bucket, with eye placed inside.

Secure the timber on the end of the bolt, it should hang freely.

Fill the bucket with chicken feed & secure lid.

Using a metal chain or hook, suspend in the chook run at an easy height for the girls to peck the timber. Its movement in the base of the bucket will allow a few grains of feed to drop. Your chickens will very quickly get the hang of it!


In short, chickens are flighty animals and they don’t want to eat something that is dirty. With a little bit of work and the materials that you have around your house, you can create the DIY feeder as a more appetizing option for your chickens. The birds will gobble up their food from the new feeder without question.

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