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When we first heard of this it sounded like a good
Most of the time the chook yard was pretty quiet, except for
"Roger" or "Spanky" singing out to the girls;
"Look at - Look at
It was nice... except for one thing; the feed dishes were
constantly being emptied by the local sparrow population!
We tried the usual things like, I guess most
Pie tins tied on a line - Works great if you don't want
A well constructed scarecrow - but sparrows are not
crows............. it was worth a try :o).
Bird traps - Worked really well - now what do I do with
them? ( I Know - but still........)
Put the feed inside the chook house - Ever gotten flogged by
a hundred sparrows when you go to get eggs?
.........The list goes on, but in reality, nothing worked
well enough to disway these greedy little buggers. Seemed we were doomed to make a daily donation to the local wild
bird society; of which, it seemed, most lived on our property.
So we started to look for plans on how to build a bird proof
feeder. After several attempts at a couple different designs, it became apparent how useful this could be - that is
if I could get it right. We made and tested several designs. Finally, the first one was installed. Took a few days
for the girls to get used to it but once they did, it was great! Several more were installed later that
A few weeks later and it was time to order grain. As usual,
the order got delivered, mixed, then put away. That's when it hit me! The grain bin was still partially
full................. Had I gotten the dates mixed and ordered too soon? Was my head still swollen from the good
job I had done on the new feeders and my thinking was off?
Six weeks later and it's time to order again....... or so I
thought. After checking stocks it was plainly obvious that the feed would easily last another 3 weeks or more.
Aaahhhhh! The treadle feeders were working!! Not only were there no more mice droppings in the new feeders as would
occasionally show up in the old open feeders, the sparrow population had dropped
So, after the CAD drawings were ready, we approached a few
manufacturers and after several models and a few adjustments, we had what we were looking for.
Since then we have helped hundreds and hundreds of people
with the same problem. Feeding the local wildlife can be expensive!!
There were several designs we were thinking of but when it
came down to it, there were tthree things we wanted to make sure of;
1. They had to work for all our flock. We have Bantams, Wyandottes, Australorps, and of course, old Thumper and
his lady (Turkeys). So, small, medium, and large birds.
2. They had to be made solid and yet
3. They had to be durable.
* Design played a big part in what we were after. For
example, the treadle plate on most of the ones we trialled was solid. Well, after having to clean them off a few
times we knew this was not a good idea. So the treadle was constructed to catch and collect
almost no mess from the
chooks. They have been installed for over 8 months as at this writing and haven't had to clean
* Another main concern was that the opening to the feed was
non threatening to the flock. On some of the test units, the door swung up under the chooks head and they just
didn't like it, took forever to get them to use it.. So, as you can see in the photos, the door swings away. Works
* There was another thing that came to mind, too. On some of
the test units which when the treadle was activated, it opened the lid to make the complete feed bin accessible. We
noticed after awhile that the sparrows had worked out if they flew into the container while the chooks were feeding
they could also dine! Soon as the chook would begin to move away the sparrows would take flight and didn't get
caught inside. Not good - I wanted to get rid of them, not provide a nice dining room!!
On the other hand, the feeder that was our model for the
current one we sell, the sparrows did not even attempt to get to the feed. Now, I am not a sparrow psychologist so
explaining this would only be a guess........ Maybe they just don't feel comfortable in closed in spaces.?!? What
ever it is, the point is, they stopped costing me money.
*Another thing about design – Steel or
Aluminium? After several months trials we noticed that the aluminium
ones were already starting to show signs of wear around the
moving parts!! Needless to say, this sent alarm bells ringing so we
decided on the steel. No problems there.
We trialled them for a couple months checking them every
day, and not once did we find any evidence of mice or rats. No droppings in the feed tray. They were around the
coop though cause we were catching some in traps. So now we know that the feed for our birds goes to our birds and
not the local wildlife!