Total cost: $3
If you don’t have a hole saw or 5 gallon bucket, add that cost to the build. Among much of my obsessive research about how to effectively manage a flock with as little effort as possible, or at least preloaded effort where I can spend some extra time and fuss once to make my life easier and reduce maintenance in the long term, I found a neat DIY on the chicken forum. So I got to work. Or rather, I didn’t get to work and I made a version of this and tried to cut the hole out using a dremel and hated myself for it. That said, I was able to wedge the elbow in and use it to feed the ducks and it worked swimmingly. But I gave it away with the ducks, so I had to make a new one. And when I bought a super cheap hole saw set at Harbor Freight for the duck pond, I realized that it was a much better option than the stinkin’ dremel! This go-round was way easier.
Start with your elbow. If you are like me and could only find double female ended elbows, you will need to cut the female end off of one end so that it doesn’t flare out at all. This can be accomplished with a hack saw and a steady hand, a chop saw, or father in law and husband who you’ve bribed with beer and the promise of a meal.
The hole saw that I used for my 3″ pipe was the 3″ hole saw blade. The hole that the saw made was a hair smaller than the exterior diameter of the elbow, which allowed for a tight press-in fit. The bucket was left over from a work lunch catered by a local Mexican restaurant. It was full of tortilla chips. Cat litter containers work well here too. Round buckets are also an option, but the lids can be total pains to open. If that’s the case, for ease of use, I recommend the Gamma Lid, but they’re like $15, so quintuple the cost of your project. Square buckets have lids that don’t seal as tightly usually and are easier to open.
For spacing (you need some space under where the elbow sits to allow food to flow in) I used a scrap of 2×4. That puts my opening 1.5″ up off the floor of the bucket (which is not the same thing as the bottom of the bucket as measured from the outside, there is a lip). I just looked through the slightly translucent bucket and used a pen to make a little line marking where the bottom of my hole would need to be. Then I came in with my hole saw, lined it up, cut out the hole, and jammed the elbow in there. It fits snugly. Then you just pour about 25 pounds of feed in the bucket, elevate it to a height that makes sense for the chickens, and allow them to go to town.