Trying theTreadle Feeder, Week 1

Local Built Chicken Feeder Fights the Battle of Feed Waste.

Sunday 5 pm

Finally an answer to my fight against the wild birds eating my chicken feed. I found what I think is called a Treadle feeder, a clever invention that only allows my chickens access to food when they step on a levered platform. The weight of the bird opens the lid allowing them to feast, and when they step off it closes.  Awesome! Except so far, mine won’t even go near it, let alone stand on it.

I called the manufacture of the feeder and was told they’ve sold over a hundred so far and nobody has yet to have a flock not use it, until mine of course.  The nice people who are building these feeders are from Cavecreek, Arizona, and are successfully selling them in a number of feed stores here in the Valley. I explained that it had been two days since I introduced the feeder to my birds and they still considered it a boogie man.

I felt bad watching them stare at it, and even worse knowing they were hungry, so I opened the box myself a few times to let them eat. That was a mistake, one that only prolonged the transition to the feeder.  Showing them how to use it seemed rather silly anyway, and useless I might add.  So, if there is such a thing as chicken training 101, I flunked.

The company was helpful and offered a few pointers that left me feeling assured that within a day and a half my birds would be eating out of the feeder. I did as told, offering them absolutely nothing to eat other than what was in the scary wooden box. Well, a day and a half passed, and my hens still hadn’t figured out the mechanics of a meal. I began to panic.

Thursday 7 am

The survival mode finally kicks in, and this little lady pictured below is Lady Madonna, the hero of the day.  She’s a 4.5 lb. polish hen, and the hero who jumped on the platform and opened the door. It took about a second for all the other birds to realize she was having breakfast with the scary monster and nothing bad happened, so they all joined her. One by one they pushed and shoved their way on to the platform and feasted on the extra special goodies inside.

Lady Madonna isn’t very high in the flock’s chosen pecking order, second to dead last actually.  Maybe that’s why she’s so smart, nothing has ever come easy in her world. She’s been beat up twice and put in the chicken hospital once for a month long recovery.  Fat chance the others will ever accept her as one of them, especially with that goofy hat on her head. But a little respect for finding the vittles would be nice. Will she move up a notch in the pecking order?  Perhaps, too soon to tell.

Sunday, one week later.

It’s been a slow process, I’m still not completely satisfied they are all  using it on their own. I’m watching them closely, and still monitoring the feed consumption. I need another week to give this feeder my 100% seal of approval.

Update: Pitched the Treadle Feeder! My birds learned it was easier to kicked out ALL the feed onto the ground – very wasteful.

Chicken Keeping in Phoenix, is it Legal?

Are Chickens Allowed in Phoenix   Yes
Max Chickens Allowed     20
Roosters Allowed     No
Permit Required     No
Coop Restrictions:     80 feet from residence-ZONING ORDINANCES APPLY
City/Organization Contact name:       City of Phoenix Ordinances

Read on, especially between the lines…

Sec. 8-7. Poultry and rodents.

(a)  Except as otherwise provided in the article, it is hereby declared to be a nuisance and it shall be unlawful for any person to keep rodents or poultry within the City. No poultry or rodents shall be kept in an enclosure within eight feet of any residence within the City. Poultry may be kept within eighty feet of a residence if written permission consenting to the keeping of poultry less than eighty feet from a residence is first obtained from each lawful occupant and each lawful owner of such residence. Poultry shall not be kept in the front yard area of any lot or parcel with the City. Poultry and rodents shall be kept in an enclosure so constructed as to prevent such poultry and rodents from wandering upon property belonging to others.

(b)  No more than twenty head of poultry nor more than twenty-five head of rodents nor more than twenty-five head comprising a combination of rodents and poultry shall be kept upon the first one-half acre or less. An additional one-half acre shall be required for each additional twenty head of poultry or for each additional twenty-five head of rodents or for each additional twenty-five head comprising a combination of poultry and rodents. For areas larger than two and one-half acres the number of poultry or rodents shall not be limited.

(c)  No male poultry shall be kept within the City limits except such male poultry as are incapable of making vocal noises which disturb the peace, comfort, or health of any person residing within the City.

(d)  All such enclosures shall be kept in such condition that no offensive, disagreeable, or noxious smell or odor shall arise therefrom to the injury, annoyance, or inconvenience of any inhabitant of the neighborhood thereof.


Creative Poultry Keeping

Whatever Works!

When raising chickens there are only three things that matter… food, water, and shelter.

You can spend a lot of money for an elaborate set-up, but quite honestly, half the fun is being creative with the resources you have on hand.

There’s no need for fancy, chickens are very docile and non-destructive. Whatever you can provide that will protect them from predators is sufficient. Their nesting area needn’t be large, they actually prefer tight quarters. I made the mistake of giving every bird her own nest box when I first started raising poultry. However, one box for every two to three birds is definitely their preference. This nest box pictured below will easily accommodate four birds.

Store bought nest boxes are certainly pretty, but they are also expensive. Check the garage, or a flea market for something else that might be suitable. Apple crates work nicely for example. Or visit a Home Depot, they sell scrap wood in the lumber dept. for as little as fifty cents a board, what a bargain! Have your measurements ready because the first two cuts are free!

Here in Arizona it’s time to start a flock, the weather is perfect for chicks by mid October. In other parts of the country it’s time to research, plan, and prepare for the spring flock. Have fun in your adventure!