Here is a pic of the base. You can see where I folded the edges over to cover the sharp ends. The wire is to keep it from tipping over. When it is filled to the top it could get unstable.
Here is an overall view. I can add more pipe to make it taller if I want to. The idea is to hold enough feed that I can take off for a few days and not worry too much about them.
Here is how it looks with the bucket on top. I suspect that the chickens will soon be using it as a roost. When that happens the support wires will be even more important.
Here is a pic of the waterer with the air release valve added. That adds another $3 or so to the cost but it is still much cheaper than one you buy at the store, especially if you have some of the pieces left over from some other project.
What could possibly be worth all this trouble? Here are some of them now. These are Black Australorps. They are a little difficult to see in there without the flash on the camera. The shelter they are sitting in was a doghouse that I picked up for free on craigslist. I added a little door in the side to make it easy to get the eggs out. We don't have to enter the cage except when we are taking out the fertilizer.
Jimmy the Screwdriver at Prepare Your Family asked a couple of questions in the comments on a previous post:
Q: Do you think it will hold up?
A: I think they will probably rust out sooner than a store bought one but I don't really know how well they will last. If it starts rusting right away I might paint the outside with latex exterior paint to see if that will help.
Q: How many chickens?
A: We have a total of about 45. Some Black Australorps, some Rhode Island Reds, some White Leghorns, and some mixed. About 10 or 12 are roosters and some are not old enough for me to tell yet. We plan to keep about 4 or 5 roosters for breeding and cook the rest. We have one cage with just Black Australorps and one with just White Leghorns. I want to try and raise some of each just to see how they turn out. The Reds are in another cage with some more Whites. We bought 6 straight run Red chicks and two were killed in a hailstorm so we ended up with 4 red hens and no red rooster. If I can find just one red rooster I'll probably buy him just so I can have matching sets for breeding.
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