Selling on Amazon for $94.95
Selling at Hog Slat for $75.99
Selling on Ebay for $126.89
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.
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.
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.
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 included. Here 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now I need to see how it will perform when it rains.
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.
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.
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.