Canadian Poultry Magazine

Features 100th anniversary Technology
Equipment for use when feeding

November 1927

September 25, 2012
By Canadian Poultry


As the use of dry mash becomes more important in the feeding of poultry, and especially since the all-mash method of feeding promises to become a standard practice, a suitable feeder that will meet the various requirements becomes a necessity.

The older types of mash feeders, usually known as hoppers, had a storage compartment from which the mash was supposed to feed down by gravity. This type of feeder or hopper proved unsatisfactory, as it is difficult, if not impossible, to construct such a hopper so the mash will feed down and at the same time admit light and prevent wastage. The use of improperly constructed feedrs causes much loss from waste of feed and lessened egg production, as the layers fail to eat suffiecinet mash when it is contaminated with litter and droppings or when ample light and easy accessibility are not provided. The hopper types of feeders are eing rapidly replaced by various forms of open box mash feeders.

The feeder that will best serve present day needs is the one that induces the birds to eat the most mash. Such a feeder must keep the dry mash easily available at tall times; must be waste proof, dirt proof, roost proof and must not clog; and it must be so constructed as to provide ample light on the feed as chickens like to see what they are eating.


The reel mash feeder

This was designed by the Ohio Experimental Station in 1921 to embody these essentials. Since the first design some minor improvements have been made and these are included at this time. This feeder has proved effective and is popular among poultry keepers – thousands all over the country are now using the reel mash feeder as a part of their standard equipment.

The open box permits the hen to eat from either side, and the mash is easily accessible. The reel and the lip boards (1 by 2-inch strips on the top edge of sides of box) prevent waste. The feed is kept clean by elevation of feeder on a stand 18 inches above the floor while the reel keeps the birds out of the box and prevents them form roosting on it. This feeder affords an abundance of light so the hens can see what they are eating. The result is a great consumption of mash. Two or three of the feeders, depending on the method of feeding, should be provided for each 100 layers. The feeders can also be used for pullets on summer range after they are from 8 to 10 weeks of age. If placed outside they should be protected from rain.

How to make the reel mash feeder

The feeder is essentially a box four feet long, twelve inches wide, and five inches deep, placed on a stand sixteen or eighteen inches high. Making the feeder four feet long enables one to use ordinary plaster lath for the reel. The reel one half inch shorter than the inside length of the box so it can be centred one-quarter inch form each end of the box by adjusting the screws used for axes. Flat head heavy number 10 screws two and one half inches long are the best for the axes. If the reel is not centred and rubs against either end of the box it will not run freely as it should.

The lip boards are two inches wide and are placed on top of the side boards so as to project over on the inside about one and one-quarter inches to prevent the birds from hooking out and wasting the mash. Cleats are nailed on each end of the box two and one-half inches from the bottom. These rest on the ends of the stand and permit the box to be easily removed. It will be noted that the cleats extended one inch beyond the sides of the box, centering it on the stand so as to provide an open space of one inch between each side of the box and the running board. These openings prevent the accumulation of dirt next to the box. Narrow notches one inch deep are made in the center on top of the ends to receive the axes of the reel.   These axes are nine inches above bottom of the box, making the clearance between reel and lip board three to three and one-half inches.

I desired the stand supporting the mash box can be suspended by four wires from the ceiling, thus making the legs unnecessary. Also it may in some cases be preferable to make the mash feeder eight feet long. The procedure in making a longer feeder is the same, the lath used on the reel being replaced by strips of proper length three-quarter inch square.

The stand may be made ten or twelve inches longer to hold a twelve or fourteen quart water pail at the end of the mash box. Two cleats at the bottom of the frame will support the pail. This makes a desirable and economical substitute for the water stand.

Any new feed must be gradually introduced to chicks, and green feed should form part of their ration from about the tenth day.

Chicks may be given wheat bran after the second week and the bran should be accessible in hoppers for a couple of hours at a time for a few days.