Feed o Matic

 Selling on Amazon for $94.95
Selling at Hog Slat for $75.99
Selling on Ebay for $126.89
This is a pretty feeder.  Like the Grandpa feeder it is well made by Olba in a factory over in Holland.  The company produces retail products for the poultry industry and retail farm stores.

Despite the great appearance of this product it has  some serious issues that prevented us from purchasing the feeder for our own flock.

First is the use of plastic for the  treadle step, feed tray and lid.    Without being told you know that rats are going to chew right through the plastic.  They say that the plastic is U.V. stable but all plastics are brittle in cold weather so I’m not sold on the idea of plastic used on something this expensive and subject to a barnyard environment.   I understand that they are making products for retail sale so they only get about half of the end selling price but you would think that sheet metal isn’t that much more than plastic injected parts.  Of course from their product line they are a long time maker of plastic poultry equipment so perhaps it makes financial sense.

The treadle is wide and long, great for smaller birds and other poultry like ducks, not so great at keeping vermin out of the chicken feed.  In fact, one very reputable seller has started warning prospective customers right on their online product page.

 

Here is a link to the Hog Slat website so you can read a larger version.   They are flat out warning customers that rats, even large numbers of mice,  can push the door open and chew through the plastic parts.  Good business practices on their part but it looks like chicken feeders of this type are a tiny part of their product line.
This is a swing in door style of treadle feeder so I like that part of the design.  However the feed bin is set way, way, back so a full sized bird would have to be crouched over to reach the feed.
After doing some research using Google.eu I found that the company is actually selling many different models in the European market.  
Other websites are saying that Olba is dumping thousands of these older model feeders in the U.S. in order to clear their inventory of a product that wasn’t selling in the E.U. .  On their website you can order one or order a pallet of them with pallet loads running around $40.00 plus shipping. 
There are numerous re-sellers on line, Hog Slat, a company called Rent a Coop, and several small Ebay sellers.
Another issue with the Feed o Matic automatic feeder is that ducks can’t use the feeder as the feed tray doesn’t fill up completely with feed.
 

 A purview of the Amazon reviews on this product showed some major problems with the design.  Some reviewers said it was not for full sized birds like Rhode Island Reds.  Apparently a lot of birds don’t like sticking their heads so far into the feeder, something any prey species wouldn’t feel comfortable with as they rely on peripheral l vision to stay alive.  It has also been reported that chickens tend to rip their combs on the narrow feed tray.  Here is one report that you can read at this link:

“My only real gripe so far is exactly what you said, Marina, that my white leghorn caught her comb on the steel opening flap – one small nick on the end of her comb on a wet day and she turned out looking like she was pink Colombian! :? But that was when I had the brick on the step, so I’m hoping that with the moving parts she’ll get her head out of the way a bit quicker…”

The very first reviews had disclaimers warning that the product was given free or at big discounts in return for reviews, a practice that Amazon has since outlawed on their site (unless they are doing it).  In fact Amazon will now ban companies that are caught incentivizing reviews.  

There is no counter weight system or spring loading on the door so as Hog Slat warned the rats and mice just push the door open which I suppose is better than chewing through the feed tray.  Olba recommends blocking the feeder open while training and even the positive reviews state that it can take several weeks to train the birds before you can un block the door.The Feed o Matic jams quite frequently and more so when the feeder is  blocked open which makes sense as the banging of the door would help shake feed down into the lower plastic feed tray.  But it is the size of the openings in the feed tray that leads to most of the jamming according to the reviews.

 

Almost 30% of the Amazon reviews are negative or critical of the Feed o Matic feeders.  Here is a link to the reviews, both positive and negative, on the Olba Feed o Matic treadle feeder.

The Feed o Matic treadle feeders appeared on Amazon about six to eight months ago and if you look at their Amazon feedback rating their rating started dropping in the last three months and is getting worse in the last thirty days.  For months they had a mere 1% negative feedback rating then the rating exploded to 11% negative ratings in the last thirty days.  Those are all verified purchase ratings and the Amazon sellers can’t pull down negative reviews or ratings unless there is some serious abuse.

Amazon is a brutal market place due to the unfiltered reviews so only the best products survive which is by Amazon’s design.  Former Amazon sellers warn that if  a product becomes too successful other re sellers will knock it off or Amazon will begin stocking the product itself and under cutting the other re sellers.  Still from the consumer point of view that competition is why it is such a great place to research products and buy some products.  We all have heard of “showrooming”, where people go by the local stores that stock a product and check a product out before buying it online but the reverse happens too.
 

 Olba’s website says it  makes private brands of feeders and will modify the design of the feeder for a re sellers.  Indeed  some of the same style feeders sold in England are certainly from the Olba factory.   The feeder to the right of this text if you are viewing on a tablet or laptop is an Olba feeder that has a sturdier welded metal treadle with a mesh wire step.  Olba changed the plastic lid with a sheet metal lid and the plastic feed tray is gone.   That is a great improvement on the Olba Feed o Matics being dumped on the U.S. market.

Bloody inner door on an Olba Feed o Matic

  The complaints on the Olba Amazon reviews about chickens having to reach so far into the feeder isn’t hair splitting.  The picture to the right of this text if you are viewing on a laptop or tablet is from a small farm blogger who had a chicken harmed by one of the Olba feeders sold in Britain.  He thought it was from the other chickens pecking the hen and we flock owners know that a bird that is bleeding is a target for pecking but it is far more likely that the bird damaged its head in the feeder judging from the bloody mess on the upper door. 

 

The negative reviews on the Olba Feed o Matic sold by Rent a Coop focus on a variety of problems.

  • more than normal reluctance to use the feeder or difficulty in training the birds
  • Multiple mentions of feed clogging
  • Water leaking into the feed tray and ruining the feed
  • Difficulty in cleaning wet feed out of the lower feed tray
  • Prices dropping by large amounts since the reviewer purchased their feeder
  • No training instructions included
  • Small mice forcing their way into the feeder
  • Feed dust and crumbs blocking the lower feed tray openings
  • Difficulty of use by the medium and larger chickens

Of course some of the complaints were pretty petty.  Several mentions of the birds being scared of the moving door and treadle but I would think that most treadle feeders are going to have the same issue.

Likewise with the complaints that it is too narrow and only feeds two or three chickens at a time.   Surely a person could ascertain this simply by looking at a picture of the feeder?

And being upset because the chickens were having a hard time understanding how to use the feeder?  Lack of training on the part of the flock owner is responsible for that, why blame the manufacturer or re seller?  Even if a set of instructions weren’t included or lost surely there are plenty of online training instructions for a treadle feeder?

Now lets look at some of the Amazon reviews.  Both positive and negative reviews  of the Feed o Matic feeders are includedHere is a link to the reviews, both positive and negative, on the Olba Feed o Matic treadle feeder.

 

 One review for the Feed o Matic feeder was on a very long thread that compared chicken feeders.  There were several posts that mentioned his initial reaction to buying and using the feeder:

“Got the small Feed-O-Matic to try.  Only allows one chicken to feed and I hold the treadle down with a brick so the chickens can see the seed.  Only one chicken so far has ventured into the feeder to eat and only for a few seconds.  The others are keeping a wide distance from the scary “new” thing.”

“It’s amazing how flimsy tiny screws, nuts, and bolts were used in the assembly.  Hope it lasts.   I’m not impressed with the plastic parts on the Feed-O-Matic just as I’m not impressed with the flimsy balsa wood treadle foot on the ChickenCondos feeder but at least we have a way to keep wild birds from eating the feed.  Rent-A-Coop on Amazon shipped our Feed-O-Matic and said an assembly “video” would be sent.  There was no “video” sent for assembly — only a poor quality reprint of the same printed instructions that came with the feeder!  If the ChickenCondos and Feed-O-Matic feeders fall apart at some point, I will next order Al’s Rat-Proof treadle feeder to try.”

“I also purchased the smaller Feed-O-Matic treadle feeder to try but found the feed bin is recessed way too far back and the chickens don’t seem to want to stick their head that far in — plus it does not come assembled – you have to put it together – not difficult – but it is heavy for a smaller feeder in spite of the lighterweight plastic parts.  Only one chicken can access this smaller feeder plus it is so low to the ground that even the Silkies don’t want to use it.  I find the treadle too light and sensitive that something like rats/mice can still trigger it.  I will have to contact Feed-O-Matic to see if there is a way to remedy that with a setting other than what is recommended on their instructions.”

“I tried raising the Feed-O-Matic on a paver stone to make it easier for the chickens to dip down and under the feeder but the Feed-O-Matic treadle will need to be set on a paver also or else the feeder will tip forward when the treadle is stepped on.  The feeder is heavy for the smallest Feed-O-Matic size but apparently not balanced well and therefore will tip forwards when the chicken steps on the treadle if there is not a paver also under the treadle – the whole purpose to raise the feeder is defeated because of the imbalance of needing a paver under the treadle also.  A larger Feed-O-Matic size like our Chicken Condos 20-lb feeder might be more stable but since I only have the smallest Feed-O-Matic I can only suppose.  This afternoon one of the Silkies, besides the Breda, went into the feeder to eat – hurray!  I am keeping the treadle down to keep the feed drawer open until all the chickens have learned there’s goodies inside the “scary” new thing.  After I see progress on more chickens using the open feeder I will gradually set the treadle in the closed position to see if they will use it in the closed position.  For now the nasty House Sparrows have discovered the new feeder but I’ve positioned it at the back door where I can watch and chase them off.  What I don’t do for my chickens – sigh.  My 20-lb Chicken Condos treadle feeder was not this much trouble.  Again, I’m thinking the smallest size Feed-O-Matic may have been a mistake for me.  Also, during assembly the feeder lid did not close completely – there was a little 3/8 inch gap on the right end of the lid showing the seed inside.  The treadle is also so sensitive that something the weight of a rat will be able to open the lid. ”
In the end the customer managed to get some of his other birds to use the feeder.    There are more reviews from the Amazon seller page below.
 1.0 out of 5 stars  treadle part works great, BUT 
on July 4, 2016
 Size: 2-3 Hens – 11 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
Sorry…..would not purchase again…treadle part works great, BUT…..1. it’s feeding area is really narrow, even though it’s only for 2-3 hens,2. the feed doesn’t flow very well to the feeding area, and 3. mainly, it’s so deep the hens don’t like sticking their heads way in there.
 1.0 out of 5 stars  Five Stars 
on August 15, 2016
 Size: 4-6 Hens – 17.5 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
Feeder tray gets jammed with the crumbs and dust from the food which doesn’t allow the pellets to pass into the feeding tray. Waste of $100! Top is full of food so you don’t realize your chickens are hungry until you realize what’s happening.
 1.0 out of 5 stars  One Star 
on September 20, 2016
 Size: 9+ Hens – 44 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
i bought two. neither worked.
 2.0 out of 5 stars  Two Stars 
on September 22, 2016
 Size: 9+ Hens – 44 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
Chickens are having a hard time understanding how to use it.
 3.0 out of 5 stars  and your training process recommended is not working out because of the “tight fit” … 
on May 31, 2016
 Size: 4-6 Hens – 17.5 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
This is for SMALL birds. The tray on bottom that holds feed is very low and far back. If the description had included for small birds, I would not have gotten it. I have Rhode Island Reds, and your training process recommended is not working out because of the “tight fit” on the bottom tray. Overall, the container and design is a good idea, BUT, strictly for small birds. I tried it but will not be able to use it. Expensive mistake.
 2.0 out of 5 stars  My feed is a mixture of chicken feed and pigeon … 
on July 7, 2016
 Size: 6-8 Hens – 26.5 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
My feed is a mixture of chicken feed and pigeon feed (whole corn). The feed is not able to flow smoothly through the slot provided,it is to narrow for feed that is a larger size than a basic crumble and is not dispensing the food. As a result my chickens go with out food once the feed area is empty.
 1.0 out of 5 stars  Seemed to work well at first and now it gets clogs and the screws come off. 
on September 19, 2016
 Size: 4-6 Hens – 17.5 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
It’s taken several weeks to train my chickens to use this feeder. There are still a couple of chickens who will only go on the treadle when another chicken is already on it. Once they’ve gotten the hang of it, it is much much better than the galvanized upside down hanging feeder we were using. Lots of song birds and yes a couple rats were being attracted to the old feeder. We are noticing much less feed being wasted now. We put a brick under the treadle and on top of the lid to prevent opossums from helping themselves. We also live in the Northwest and have had several rains but it’s not leaking. The reason two stars are missing is because 1)The lid does not fasten tightly enough and we need to use a brick to keep out raccoons/opossums 2) The feed access is only wide enough for 2 chickens on every feed model they have. We’ve had to purchase multiple to accommodate our other chickens and they’re expensive to have to do that.
 1.0 out of 5 stars  Didn’t work out 
on September 6, 2016
 Size: 4-6 Hens – 17.5 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 

Trained my chickens to use this thing twice a day everyday for 14 days and they still couldn’t figure it out. They always got spooked when the pedal moved. Maybe my chickens are just dumb.

Seems like when I pin the pedal down with a brick there isn’t much food in the bottom at all and it gets stuck too.

 3.0 out of 5 stars  ok for 4 chickens 
on December 8, 2016
 Size: 4-6 Hens – 17.5 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
The truth is that for a large group of chickens the design is flawed. It should be larger, and wider. As it is only two chickens can feed at 1 time, so the others have to wait, and this extends the training time too. Great customer service and help though, well build and works well. But for 4 chickens this would work well. I bought the largest one,
 3.0 out of 5 stars  Works good when dry, but food gets wet when it rains 
on July 29, 2016
 Size: 2-3 Hens – 11 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 

It leaks water into the feeding compartment when it rains. So, you must clean out the feed so it doesn’t get moldy. And it is not made to be easily cleaned! I have cleaned out wet feed several times now and is frustrating, because previous reviewers said it was okay without cover. I have a small coup with little rain cover…I like to save it for the chickens. It also is not easily carried (especially when full of feed). It needs a handle. Noticing the price has dropped $30 since I originally purchased doesn’t make me any happier.

Also, the teaching the chickens to feed is not quite as easy as the video. The chickens in my case went on okay, but spooked when they got off and the feeder pedal lifted back up. This made them hesitant to use it again. They did eventually use it fairly well.

Overall, it does work good to be able to put out a few days feed at a time and the chickens did get used to it.

 2.0 out of 5 stars  I bought the Grandpa’s feeder first and it works great, chickens didn’t take too long to figure it … 
on September 20, 2016
 Size: 9+ Hens – 44 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
I have two chicken yards. I bought the Grandpa’s feeder first and it works great, chickens didn’t take too long to figure it out. I decided to get a feeder for second chicken yard. Thought I would try this feeder because it was cheaper. Big mistake. The feed won’t come down unless I pound on the feeder and the chickens can’t seem to figure out how to use it anyway. There are no instructions showing how to train the chickens. I wish I would have spent the extra money and bought another Grandpa’s feeder.
 1.0 out of 5 stars  Our chickens will not eat from the feeder they are … 
on November 30, 2016
 Size: 4-6 Hens – 17.5 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
Our chickens will not eat from the feeder they are terrified of the treadle and noise of the feeder closing . I have emailed them as to how to correct the problem No Answer…..
 3.0 out of 5 stars  Three Stars 
on October 18, 2016
 Size: 4-6 Hens – 17.5 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
Our chickens are terrified of the treadle. “Training” not going well at all! So frustrating….
 1.0 out of 5 stars  Useless clogs easily does not function 
on October 26, 2016
 Size: 9+ Hens – 44 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
This product is not viable. The feeding trough are is SO narrow and does not alow the feed to fill it. Its always getting jammed and clogged meaning my chickens went hungry for like 2 days without my realizing the problem. The feeder needs modification so that it fills without getting jammed up . i will be returning this nom functional product.
 1.0 out of 5 stars  Expensive and ineffective 
on September 22, 2016
 Size: 6-8 Hens – 26.5 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
Chickens afraid of it, even after multiple attempts by putting their favorite foods in it & trying to ease them into it. Also tried to kind of starve them into using it while having propped open and loaded with things they love. To top it off, the little mice have found a way to force themselves into it. Expensive & ineffective.
 1.0 out of 5 stars  Doesn’t works well 
on June 5, 2016
 Size: 4-6 Hens – 17.5 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
I bought this machine and the main problem is that the food gets stuck inside and doesn’t come down where the chickens must eat… not really recommended… expensive and useless…
Positive Reviews:  
 5.0 out of 5 stars  Easy Feeder 
on July 20, 2016
 Size: 4-6 Hens – 17.5 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
I have 15 birds, I purchased the 2-4 hen feeder to see if the chickens figured it out and actually used it. Surrounded by thick heavy woods, I have a huge wood rat problem. Poison was just not a viable option. Leaving open feed was just an invitation for the squirrels and rats.
I placed large grapes along the feeder to get the chickens to stick their heads inside the feeder. I started with the rooster. I also placed a block under the treadle to get the birds accustomed to going in for the feed and not be afraid of the treadle moving up and down. I only had the block for one day. Everyone has figured it out and I plan to order another feeder! The training video was also very helpful.
Yes, the feeder saves me a time and money, NO wasted feed, nothing gets spread around, I fill it up every three days instead of twice a day. The feeder also gives me peace of mind knowing rats are not munching away on the feed.
  
 5.0 out of 5 stars  Great product. 
on July 29, 2016
 Size: 9+ Hens – 44 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
I had my brother assemble the feeder for me. I think it took him about 20 minutes. He had no problem with assembly. It didn’t take long at all for my flock to learn how to use it. They were scared to death of it at first. I put there favorite treats, watermelon and grape tomatoes on the step to encourage them. It took only a day for them to get the hang of it. So far I love it. I’ve only had it out for about a week. It’s rained hard and the food was still dry. A huge plus. Tried to add a short video showing them using it…. But couldn’t find that option.
  
 5.0 out of 5 stars  All in all its a great product for a pretty reasonable price 
on May 30, 2016
 Size: 4-6 Hens – 17.5 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
I was impressed by the quality
I bought 2 more of these 25 pound feeders after the first one passed the test. I put one in each of our 3 breeder areas and they are all working as expected. No water and no animals have made it into the feeder and they are placed in the center of the pen with no cover. All in all its a great product for a pretty reasonable price.
 5.0 out of 5 stars  Great so far! 
on September 19, 2016
 Size: 9+ Hens – 44 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
So far it is working as advertised. When I received it was so tight, the step would close after opening. I pulled away from the bottom part and now works very well. I have five golden comets (regular sized chickens), and they all started using it. At first, they were scared, but I filled up the feeder manually all the way to the top. That way they can easily find the food and not be afraid to stick their head. I also left it open for the first day using a rock. On the second day, I removed the rock, and they all started using. A squirrel also tried to get in. He was able to open it when he stepped on it, but as soon as he went closer, it closed on him. I might have to choose another weight option though. Also, rats weren’t able to get it. They ate the spilled food underneath.
Now I need to see how it will perform when it rains.
 5.0 out of 5 stars  All good so far 
on November 26, 2016
 Size: 4-6 Hens – 17.5 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
Wow, my girls must be over achievers all I had to do was fill it and the brave ones took right to it and followed by the chicken chickens. All good so far. Easy to assemble, latch on container a bit weak. If you have critter issues sharing your chickens feed. This is for you. Recommend.
 5.0 out of 5 stars  Hens love it as much as we do! 
on October 12, 2016
 Size: 2-3 Hens – 11 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
We got this because we were being overwhelmed by sparrows eating all of our feed. We set it up but didn’t do the training because their old feeder still had plenty of food in it. By the next day, with no training all three hens started using the treadle feeder on their own. I’d like to think we have exceptionally smart hens, but I think the feeder is just that easy to use. One day later, all of the sparrows have moved on to greener pastures! Awesome product!!!!!
 5.0 out of 5 stars  Great feeder for feeding your chickens and only your chickens 
on December 12, 2016
 Size: 4-6 Hens – 17.5 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 

Loving the feeder. Chickens figured it out pretty quickly and my food is now disappearing at a fraction of the rate it used to. This isn’t because the chickens aren’t eating it, it’s because they’re the only ones eating it now. Also keeps the food bone dry so you don’t need a covered area to place their feeder (you can have it out in the open, albeit within reason so you’re not having them pecking away with their head in it oblivious to a descending chicken hawk).

Well built and seems pretty sturdy. Would be surprised if this ever breaks. Very happy with the purchase and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.

 5.0 out of 5 stars  It works as described and easy to set up 
on October 25, 2016
 Size: 4-6 Hens – 17.5 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
I have 6 hens and I taught 3 of them to use the feeder and the rest of them followed. This 17.5 lb size feeder can last up to 9 days with my hens. It works as described and easy to set up. I placed it in the coop. I am already saving so much food from the rodents from eating the food, the hens scratching them into the ground and other birds from eating the food. I’m very happy with my purchase after 2 months.
  
 5.0 out of 5 stars  It’s perfect. Our chickens figured it out rather quickly and … 
on September 1, 2016
 Size: 9+ Hens – 44 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
We are going out of town and decided to give this a try. It’s perfect. Our chickens figured it out rather quickly and we go through a lot less food. We have 14 chickens and it lasts close to a little over a week.
 4.0 out of 5 stars  good customer service – quality feeder 
on October 23, 2016
 Size: 4-6 Hens – 17.5 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 

I received this feeder within days of ordering. However, the package was missing most of the hardware, and the feeder was inoperable. After reaching out to Tyler with RentACoop, he quickly shipped the missing parts. After a few days, the feeder was finally assembled and in operation. Despite the hiccup, the company was very helpful and pleasant to work with. I would order equipment from the again.

As for the feeder: it operates as described, and works well to protect the feed from rodents and wild birds, and to minimize the mess from feed getting spread everywhere. The metal and plastic construction is pretty solid, and seems it will last the wear and tear from the coop.
Overall, I will say this feeder is worth the purchase price.

 5.0 out of 5 stars  Does not work with pellets. 
on December 10, 2016
 Size: 4-6 Hens – 17.5 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
Did not receive video but putting it together was a no brainer. The feeder is not designed for pellets to flow. We are trying crumbled food. The feeder is a good idea and we hope it works. Hopefully using crumble will work or we need to return.
12/22: At first we were skeptical. Our chickens were used to pellets. This feeder works great with crumbles! We have 10 chickens and 2 guinea hens and they have learned to eat from this feeder without a problem! Be sure the surface under the treadle is on a flat, preferably clean surface if the chickens track in mud and shavings. May need to be moved or area under treadle clean of debris every few days.
 
 5.0 out of 5 stars  This is worked! 
on December 6, 2016
 Size: 4-6 Hens – 17.5 Pounds of Feed | Verified Purchase 
We had 25-50 sparrows in our chicken house. They were eating all the expensive organic chicken feed. I tried everything to keep the sparrows out and nothing worked. I came across this item and tried it. It took about a week for the chickens to figure out how to use it and for the sparrows to realize that there wasn’t going to be any more food for them. Very well worth the money!!!
 

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