Whenever you are feeding livestock, you are inviting other “pest species” to come share in the bounty of free food. Whether its birds, mice, rats, squirrels, or deer these pests can dramatically increase your feed bills and harbor diseases. The best way to discourage these free-loaders is to simply make the food unavailable to them. Chickens seem to be one of the worst culprits for inviting pests because their food tends to sit out longer than other livestock like horses or cows who eat their grain immediately. I came across a video and some directions for a DIY solution for chicken owners that allows your chickens constant access to feed yet keeps it away from rodents and wild birds. Its called a treadle feeder, and it works by opening a lid when the chickens step on a lever. When the birds are not at the feeder the lid is closed, and the food is safe. While the construction may take a little trial and error or some physics knowledge, it is nothing that someone with basic construction skills couldn’t do.
Here is the link to directions for building your own treadle feeder:
-written by Rachel