Some Really Bad Advice on Chicken Feeders is Out There
Never accuse them of nativity when greed is the most likely reason for the poor advice given
There are some well meaning people that have combined their love for raising chickens with their blogging and website skills and they have put up some nice websites with advice on a multitude of issues surrounding raising chickens. These types are generally well meaning but they also either post advice based upon what they have experienced or worse, copied from another blog site. Many times they are new to raising chickens and they advocate things that do not stand the test of time.
But the worst offenders are those trying to make a buck off their advice and website by using affiliate links. Conveniently placed right in the articles are links to purchase the items they recommend, sometimes with a warning down at the bottom that they are affiliate sellers that are getting a commission when you follow their link to Amazon or a manufacturer website. Many times these bloggers are not aware of the legal obligation to reveal any affiliate relationship or they simply get away with not disclosing the fact they make money steering you onto a particular product
How does the advertiser pay the blogger?
- A pay per click, from their website to the advertiser
- A commission per sale
- A cost per lead sent to the advertiser
- Or a drop shipping program where the sale is handled by the blogger/website owner
Anymore most websites and advertisers are tracking traffic in and out so it is easy to determine what is owed to the blogger. That part is simple; the hard part is the moral hazard for the blogger, recommending what they make money off of instead of offering unbiased advice.
But from the consumer viewpoint the worst problem with affiliate sales is that most of the time there is no value added to the product. A manufacturer is already advertising their product and now they are competing against the affiliate advertiser trying to “sell” the same item. The effect is that the sales price goes up five to ten percent to pay the affiliate commission and the product is not any better than it was before.
Why do they exist then? Because most manufacturers are just that, experts at making thing, not always experts at selling things. So rather than learning marketing they take a short cut and offer affiliate sales.
Whether it is greed or simply a well meaning but inexperienced writer you have to be careful of where you get the advice. Here are some of the more popular advice pages on chicken feeders along with why we feel the advice is sometimes flawed.
Top 7 Chicken Feeder to Prevent Waste (sic)
Morning Chores dot com/best-chicken-feeder has an articled named “Top 7 Chicken Feeder to prevent waste” The poor English in the title tells you this was likely written by a third world content creator. They do warn you right away that they are earning commissions but claim their editorial content isn’t swayed by the commissions…. right… and I have some ocean front property in Kansas for sale if you are that gullible. From the top of page ranking this is a Google paid ad for their blog site/website to drive traffic so they can make commissions.
But you can check links to see if they are affiliate links to some places like Amazon. Find the link they want you to follow, right click on it and choose “inspect element”. The bottom of your screen will be partitioned off and the HTML code will be revealed. Here is an example from that exact Grandpa feeder link in the article.
You will see the amzn.to/ then a short link, that is an Amazon affiliate link that is provided to that specific blogger or website creator in order to credit them for the traffic and or the sale from the person that follows the link.
When you get down past a generic few paragraphs about how to choose a feeder filled with useless information, you find their top pick, the Grandpa feeder. Right off the bat it talks about how 20 pounds of feed will last seven days for 4 to 6 chickens. A quarter pound per day is 80 days for one chicken, so those four chickens would be eating five pounds a week or roughly 3/4 pound of feed a day or a half pound a day if there were six birds. That alone tells you this person writing this knows nothing about chickens past KFC.
Right below that is a paragraph about how rapidly the training will happen. On a Grandpa feeder? Even they say it is going to take a few weeks.
From there it gets comical. Their bullet points disagree, in the Pro’s they say you do not need to check the feed every day and then in the Con’s they say the feed might not feed down on its own. They do disclose that the Grandpa feeder isn’t waterproof but again the grammar points to a non native English speaker writing the copy.
Their second choice is a hanging Little Giant feeder, which they say holds 12 pounds but it will feed 12 adults for 10 to 14 days. Wow, the 20 pound feeder had the hens eating a half to three quarters pound of feed per day. This magical hanging feeder has the same hens surviving on just over one ounce of feed per day. Once again zero experience in raising chickens is evident.
Then the feeder is galvanized so it won’t rust. Except that it eventually will.
Next up is the Little Giant Large Steel Poultry Feeder. Suddenly the galvanized steel only resists rust and the open feeder with no door somehow magically is waterproof, and it has a feed saver grid that prevents chickens from kicking feed out of the feeder. But the Con’s section then says that the hens can kick feed out of the feeder.
Next up is the Chicken Feeder Trough by Ware Manufacturing. Magically galvanized metal no longer rusts again and the wire tops prevent birds from kicking feed out of the feeder. Well, usually the hens are using their beaks to rake the feed out of the feeder but yeah, they probably aren’t using their feet. Next up is the Pawhut automatic feeder, two places below the Little Giant feeder despite this one having some advantages like the rain hood that might actually help keep the feed drier and magic galvanized steel that doesn’t rust. And they warn that it is more expensive, but it is $10.00 more than the Little Giant and it has the rain hood and magic galvanized steel….
The next item is a plastic hanging feeder, made by Harris something, so inconsequential that the product doesn’t even deserve mention. Then we have the PECk o Matic Feeder, a rube goldberg contraption for nearly $60.00 that drops feed from a green cylinder attached to a bucket that you provide, into a red upside plastic umbrella thing a ma bob. Says it will “discourage” rodents from stealing the feed. Likely because they are laughing at the design of the feeder. And they are recommending this feeder despite the warning that it might not dispense pellets. Okay, the most popular type of chicken feed and it won’t work well.
If you inspect the element on that PECk o Matic link you will find a second type of Amazon affiliate link that starts with /?tag=morningchores…. which is another way for the website to get credit for the sale or for sending traffic to that particular Amazon seller.
Next up is “The Top Five Chicken Feeders for your Chicken Coop or Chicken Run”. This is at backyardchickencoops dot com/au. Complete with a spiffy wise looking geezer in a flannel shirt holding a chicken up to his face and salmonella be damned.
Now this article is written by a senior editor. Impressive…. and it features a picture of one of the ubiquitous Chinese aluminum guillotine style feeders. Which is proclaimed the bees knees, the Number One. Dear God, how can anyone declare that disaster of a slave labor produced feeder as the best feeder available?
You can look up those Chinese feeders at this link on our site but the short and dirty word is that you can’t fill them up more than one third of the way from the top or the birds will rake out the feed, the flimsy metal bends easily, the linkage screws fall off or strip quickly, and the lid is so light that rats and even mice can just lift the lid and chow down.
Then follow the link to an internal page on their website, $99.00 Au dollars. About $80.00 in real money. For a $16.00 feeder if bought in pallet lots from China.
Next up is the Hopper plastic feeder which has a broken link to their own website, probably the Chinese manufacture stopped selling them to the site.
Next up is the Tankstand feeder, another plastic feeder with another broken link to their own site. This one they say is raised up off the ground to prevent rodent vermin. Not sure what they mean by that but it sounds like that somehow stops rats? Sure, that’s the ticket….
The next item is a Flip Top Trough Chicken Feeder, another simple trough feeder with yet another broken link.
Then we have the Galvanized Gravity Fed Chicken Feeder Range. Another broken link on a page that was written in June of this year.
Next up is their number 6 choice (what happened to the top 5 chicken feeders?) which is called a Tubular Drinker and Feeder Set. And again a broken link, but further down they have another link for the “best” chicken feeder which is the only active link in the article. Followed by a bit about another website willing to educate you on all manners of chicken wisdom for a fee and you can get a discount using her discount code BOKBOK50. Bokbok btw is the name of the feeder that they are reselling
Next up is ” Best Chicken Feeder to Prevent Waste 2020 Reviews” at rurallivingtoday dot com.
And bless their hearts, there are no links at all so one might think that this is probably an honest review.
Well, maybe not. So many people have learned to distrust affiliate links that advertisers have turned to ad trackers. Merely clicking on the web page captures your IP address and other identifiers which allow the advertiser to know if you read the review before you Googled their web address and purchased a feeder.
As advertisers and search engines become more and more sophisticated it is getting tougher to determine if a review is honest or not. The best indicator is if the review covers many of the same type of feeder or if it mixes a recommended feeder in with totally different types of feeder like this website has done.
The feeders reviewed are mostly the plastic bucket type feeders that use PVC elbows. And these types of feeders do work until you get wild birds or rodents coming around. The claims of “deterring” feed loss to rodents and wild birds aren’t backed up by the reviews posted on Amazon nor are the claims of the feeders being water tight. We have reviewed these types of feeders and for the money they are not worth the $60.00 plus shipping they are charging.
The next feeder being reviewed is the Roamwild Pestoff Rat Proof Chicken Feeder. Again a plastic feeder that we have reviewed and found sadly lacking in value. The spiffy metal sliding plate gets stuck easily and the rats and squirrels quickly chew through the plastic to get to the feed. And the videos on the review show chickens pecking feed out of the small opening and raking out as much as they are eating.
They next review another Rent a Coop feeder without showing the picture but from the description they are talking about the metal wall hanging feeders with a small overhang over the open front. Once again I doubt they ever used one of these feeders as they claim the chickens cannot rake out feed and that rats and wild birds cannot access the feed.
The next feeder they review is the Royal Rooster feeder and waterer pair. Another feeder we have reviewed and found of poor design and poor quality. They leak, they are not pest proof, and of course they are cheap plastic.
The last feeder they review is called a Happy Henhouse feeder which is just another of the Chinese aluminum treadle feeders that sell for around $100.00, drop shipping from a Chinese import company. This is the same Bokbok feeder that we have reviewed and found slightly better than the original version that was a market flop.
The vast majority of the other review articles are pretty much the same and nearly all are paying Google for placement at the head of the search results.
Yet our advice remains the same, be wary of any that offer direct links to sales sites and they may or may not reveal an affiliate relationship with the seller. Look for the depth of the review, honestly it takes several pages to go over the pros and cons of a feeder. Look to see if they link to the review pages as well as the sales listing and are they discussing the design problems at length or do they just say something like the sliding mechanism needs to be washed frequently to prevent being jammed.
The biggest giveaway though is reviewing different types of feeders together instead of separating them by major design feature such as treadle feeders, then hanging feeders, then wall mounted feeders.
And always drill down past the paid placement listings. You will notice if they are paid ads, they will be labeled as an ad, but the paid placements show up the same as organic results. If you Google “best chicken feeder to prevent rats the best actual feeder in our opinion, the Ratproof Chicken Feeder by the Carpenter Shop won’t appear in the listings until the second page. Sometimes a website will pop up on the first page simply because it is an exact match to what the person is searching for but it is rare.
For this website we do not accept any affiliate links or any form of payment including offers of free feeders shipped to us for review. This is a hobby that costs a few bucks a month for hosting and we have zero intention of making money or becoming famous. Our hope is to bring a little sanity to the process of finding the best feeder for those with backyard flocks as we feel they are the only sustainable and ethical way of feeding your family.