A reliable chicken feeder is an essential item to keep hens laying eggs on a regular basis. A quality treadle feeder is a great way to provide your chickens with feed whenever they want it without also providing food for an entire community of wild birds and rodents. These items open automatically when a chicken steps on the platform, making them a convenient and reliable feeding option. Manufacturers create treadle feeders in a variety of designs and materials to match your needs, and learning about some of the primary features can help you find the right fit for your birds.Feeder Size
One of the most important factors to consider while shopping for a bird feeder is the amount of feed it can hold. Feeder size can vary significantly, from several litres to 20 litres or more. Some manufacturers advertise their feeders based on the number of chickens they can comfortably feed, such as two to three or 10 or more. If you plan to be away for extended periods, seek out feeders that can hold many days worth of feed at once. It is also worth considering each specific product's design. For instance, some feeders only provide enough room for one chicken to eat at a time, while others have a trough-like design that enables multiple birds to line up to the feeder.Materials
Chicken feeders can be comprised of several different materials, including plastic, wood and metal, which affect the weight and design of the unit. Perhaps the most important consideration is the safety of your birds. If you choose a metal feeder, look for ones without sharp edges. Additionally, check the design of the platform on a treadle feeder to ensure the birds' feet don't catch in the material, and investigate the movement of the feeder to determine whether there is a risk of a chicken's head becoming caught under the lid. Longevity and weather resistance are also factors. Plastic and aluminium feeders may work well in the short term but tend to break down or rust over time, while reliable feeders comprised of material like galvanised steel are durable alternatives.Other Considerations
Some bird feeders have a waterproof design that protects the feed from moisture. This can be a valuable design option if you plan to have your feeder out in the open, especially on larger units that hold feed for many days. One of the greatest benefits of treadle feeders is the elimination of pests in the feed; however, this aspect of a unit is only as effective as the feeder's design. Search for well-made products that sit off the ground and have a lid that sits flush when closed to keep out nuisances like rodents, birds and insects.