After one birthday, Mother’s Day celebrations for three mothers, a college graduation, two wedding anniversaries, a trip out-of-town, overnight company for a week, a high school graduation celebration, and the addition of four chicks, I think I have finally found a moment to be on the computer again! 🙂
The addition of the four chicks to our household was the follow-through on my daughter’s desire to do some gardening and try her hand at a small flock of chickens. It is officially her project, but I confess that we have all been enjoying them, and I have adopted one of the chickens as my own! Of course, we have been cutting corners on the cost of the venture wherever possible, so when she needed to have a feeder for her chicks, I went to work with my collection of salvaged rubbish. In the above photo, there is a spaghetti can, the cone section of a two-liter bottle, the bottom of a bleach bottle, a small blue lid from Diamond brand almonds, and a black lid from a large coffee can. This is what I began with, and though there were a few changes made as I went along, these items are really all that is required to make this feeder.
The spaghetti sauce can was to be the main holder of the chick feed. I planned to put holes along the sides at the bottom end of the can to make a gravity-feed dispenser. In order to have the food be pushed to the outside of the can, I knew that I had to have some sort of cone shape that would stay centered inside on the bottom. I began by resting the two-liter cone shape on top of the bottom of the can. Staring down at it from the above, I tried to center the red bottle cap in the middle of the can below it. I used a permanent marker to trace a line where the can and the cone met. Then I trimmed the bottle cone down to fit inside the can. Since the line I had drawn was a reflection of the outside diameter of the can, I cut about a quarter-of-an-inch below the line I had traced (toward the neck of the bottle) so that it would fit inside the can.
The next step was to assemble the bottom of my feeder. The bottom of the bleach bottle was the right diameter to fit into the coffee can lid. I put them together as shown, placed the can on top in the center, and traced around the can. (Somewhere in here, I obviously removed the label from the spaghetti sauce can.) Then, taking the stack apart again, I cut along the traced circle to remove the center section of the bleach bottle bottom. Then I stacked everything back up to make sure the cut was large enough to accept my can without having large gaps between the can and the bleach bottle piece. This cut allowed the can to pass through the inverted bleach bottle bottom and rest about a half inch lower on the coffee can lid.
The distance between the bottom of the spaghetti sauce can resting on the coffee can lid and the place where the bleach bottle piece met the can was all the space that I would have for making holes for the food to go through. If I could have found my old juice-can opener (the one that makes the triangular-shaped openings in the cans, also known as a “church-key”), I would have made short work of putting four holes in the sides of my can within that space. As it was, I had to make the holes with another tool on a pocket knife that did not make as nice of a cut. Anyway, I made four pie-slice-shaped tabs in the sides of the can as seen in the photo and pressed them in toward the middle of the can. I used these tabs to hold the cone-shaped bottle piece in a centered position on the bottom.
With the cone in place, I put everything together so that I could mark where I wanted to make feeding holes in the rounded section of the bleach bottle bottom. I wanted the holes to line up with the openings in the can. I decided that I should have left a longer section of the side on the bleach bottle and I switched to a lid that was the same side as the coffee lid except that it had a longer lip to it. It is the red lid that is seen in this photo. This does show the marks I made and what one looks like with the opening cut out. The last thing I did was to cover my can with a piece of solid white contact paper. This was not completely necessary, but I thought it would protect the can from moisture and enhance the look of the feeder.
By the time I was finished, I had a red, white, and blue feeder, since the lid that fit the top of the can was blue. While very patriotic, I liked the look of just a red and white feeder better and added the red lid over the blue one. I would have used the red lid by itself, but the holes in it bothered me. Anyway, this is what the finished feeder looked like. The food is kept clean and off the ground, with all the pieces still able to come apart for easy cleaning. And these are our new chicks eating happily! (Even though this is not a good shot of them, they are really very cute!!)