The chicks were 12 weeks old in this photo which was taken in the first week of August. They love getting treats of bugs and grass, and the occasional scraps from the kitchen, but they are getting most of their nutrition from their starter/grower crumbles.
We were still using their little trough feeder which needed to be refilled daily, and which they kicked over way too often. I decided to make some modifications… I lashed it to a brick paver so it would stay put, and I added a filler pipe that holds enough food for several days.
It was pretty easy to do – I notched the pipe a little bit so that the feeder would slide into the bottom. Then I used the ubiqitous duct tape to hold it all together and to keep the crumble from leaking out the sides/bottom. I drilled a keyhole in the top of the pipe and mounted it on a screw in the framing of the run. A planter drip-tray made a convenient lid.
The other ‘system’ you can see here is the waterer. I used a decommissioned 5 gallon bottling bucket from my original homebrew kit, and a short length of pvc pipe into the run. Since the bucket sits outside the run, I can clean and refill it easily. Then I added two of the push-in nipple waterers (they’re the orange bits in the photo above) which you can get for a couple bucks each in the watering section of the poultry equipment, from FarmTek.com. I’d strongly recommend getting some extra grommets – at 45 cents each, it’s just good for the peace of mind. Unless you have exactly the right drill bit and technique, you may end up tearing a grommet on your first attempt.
I love setting up systems that let me be lazy, and these were two pretty easy additions. I still visit the girls a couple times a day, but my time is more flexible now.