Grandpa Feeder, AKA The Head Chopper

 

Grandpa guillotine style feeder
Selling for $119.95 on Amazon 
Selling for $109.95 on Grandpas Feeders website

The biggest issue with the Grandpa feeder is the guillotine design.  In the question section some customers said  it would harm chickens.  One said she had returned her feeder because it could harm chickens.  Here is what they wrote:

 Sandra K. Anderson 

answered on June 28, 2016

 Yes, the chicken on the side can get hurt, thats why I returned mine. I got one where the food can be poured in the center and drops down to the bottom where the chickens can feed.”

 CYNTHIA    answered on June 28, 2016

Yes. I keep a stone on the side of the pedal to keep open during the day, then remove stone at night to close lid. Otherwise great for birds. The feeder is really pretty and looks well made, so why all the customer complaints?

The Grandpa feeder is a highly complex machine.  The treadle assembly alone has five separate parts and eight fasteners! 

There are eight separate pivot points on the door/treadle assembly, eight nuts that might fall off, eight rotating  bolts that will wear over time and become sloppy.  A good design would have been two pivot points.  The entire treadle step, treadle arm, linkages, and lid have 46 separate parts!  That is a lot to manufacture  and a lot to go wrong during assembly or years down the road.  There is a reason it originally sold for over $200.00, it is costly to produce, overly complicated, and  not so much elegant as a Frankenstein design.

That multi piece treadle is the source of the greatest weakness.  Why use five separate parts when a single treadle bar could have been bent out of steel or aluminum flat bar?  Making it out of five parts means it is going to flex and eventually break.  The PVC pipe used to connect the aluminum square tubing and the aluminum treadle plate was probably used because it was soft and easy to insert the metal screws to hold everything together. PVC gets very brittle in sub zero weather and it is not UV resistant at all. A better design would have used two fasteners to hold the step on the treadle bar  instead of the eight fasteners used.  That is a total of 13 parts in the treadle assembly alone!

The part that shoves the door open has a fatal flaw as well, it is thin for its purpose and quite flimsy.   That part is not under tension, it is under compression, and just a matter of time before it snaps.  In the picture it looks like the part wraps around behind the horizontal bar but that is simply a reflection in the shiny sheet metal.   A thin sheet metal strip like this would be fine if it was under tension but under compression it is going to flex and snap or allow the door to bind.

According to the online reviews the feeder leaks when it rains, probably because of the inadequate overhang of the lid on the corners.  The lower section where the lid comes down also has a slight raise, not enough to shed the water of a heavy rain.  Several of the positive reviews mentioned leaking and the need to keep the Grandpa feeder under a cover.

The feeder doesn’t have an  lip either so they had to add a wire grid in an attempt to stop the birds from raking feed out onto the ground, unsuccessfully according to one review.    A simple 1/2″ horizontal lip bent on the front part would have eliminated the need for the wire grid for the vast majority of birds.  A huge number of the positive reviews mentioned that the wire grid prevents the food from flowing properly and they warn to check the feed level and push feed down with your hand if needed.

The most dangerous part of this feeder is the multitude of pinch points on each side, a total of six rotating parts, each that could trap a chicken’s feet or head, but the biggest danger is the two pinch points caused by the two side guards, allowing a perfect place for a bird to get caught.  Several reviews have pointed this out and either returned the feeder or block it open during the day to negate the risks.

One thing you will notice even on the positive reviews of the Grandpa feeder is that it takes weeks, some times a month to train the birds.   The manufacturer recommends using a pair of “training bolts” that are moved down succeeding holes, gradually allowing the lid to close further and further till it closes all the way down.  This is a necessity as the lid is flying up in the chicken’s face and over its head, something that even you and I would hesitate to use even though we know the lid won’t come crashing down until we step off the treadle.  A properly designed feeder door swings in, not up, and uses a fraction of the pinch points, parts, and fasteners.

Clogging seems to be a constant problem according to the reviews and that is likely caused by the angle of the bottom of the feed tray and the lack of sufficient height so there is enough pressure to overcome the friction of the feed on the sheet metal.

Several of the Grandpa feeder complaints covered the fact that mice can still get into the feeder, from an ill fitting lid or because of the lack of any spring loading on the door.  There is no heavy counterweight and no spring, and the mechanism itself is fairly balanced so there is no resistance to prevent a mouse or rat from simply pushing the lid up and climbing in.  And at least one review said there is still some space at the top that allows mice to get in.

Finally there are several complaints about shipping damaged caused by the lack of proper inner packing.  That is the fault of the manufacturer cutting corners due to the falling price the market will pay for their product.  Good inner packing will protect a product from a head high fall, usually Styrofoam or cardboard crush zones.  That does add to the cost and the inner packing makes the boxes larger which costs more and adds to the dimensional weight charged for shipping the product.  Yes, UPS treats packages like the old Samsonite commercial with the gorilla and the suitcase but that is to be expected and inner packing is a must.

The price has come down considerably in the last year, from over $200.00 plus shipping to around $120.00 plus shipping and to be fair the Rube Goldberg contraption is likely very expensive to manufacture due to the extraordinary number of parts and fasteners.  I would expect the price to plummet further as the increased competition erodes the company’s market share.

 

 

13% negative reviews is not a sign of a well made product

Click here to see the reviews 

 The idea is good, the material not so much 

 Oddfarm 

on May 23, 2016

Size: Standard

Verified Purchase 

Not really worth the price, especially the extra shipping charge. I will have to put something on the pedal come winter time because it gets too cold to expect them to step on cold steel. I can’t even hold the metal feed scoops in the winter time. If the sun hits it, it is blinding and gets hot. So…the idea is good, the material not so much. Also, too many sharp edges.

 I’m quite disappointed with this feeder and extremely upset that the price 

 Johanna Porres 

on May 21, 2016

 Verified Purchase 

I’m quite disappointed with this feeder and extremely upset that the price was cut nearly in half now. I think I will be returning mine

I’m quite disappointed with this feeder and extremely upset that the price was cut nearly in half now. I think I will be returning mine

 

 My Chickens Never Figured Out How To Use It 🙁 

IthacaNancy 

on January 2, 201

 Size: Standard 

It’s been over a year, and my chickens just don’t seem able to figure this out. Maybe they are particularly stupid. I love the idea, since chipmunks and small squirrels can get into their run and get their food, but I have to leave it propped open for them or the bin is never emptied. 🙁 Maybe I’ll have some smarter chickens in the future

 

 Amazon Customer 

on December 23, 2016

Verified Purchase 

For the price, I was expecting much more for this product. I have a small flock of 7 hens in a backyard setup, and wanted something that did three things: 1) protect the food from the rain, 2) protect the food from other critters, and 3) allow my flock to have better access to more food more often without me needing to refill. I’ll explain why the product falls short on those key points.

1) The lid mechanism that attaches the lid to the feeding tank is difficult to secure correctly, and almost always leaves a gap. For each major rain that we’ve had, I’ve had to flush out the food and clean out the food container.

2) The feeder does nicely with this concern, and it helps that I don’t have a lot of critters to protect from. The issue about the lid applies to this, too, however.

3) Perhaps the most important part of an “automatic feeder” is to have food available whenever the chickens want to eat. Unfortunately, it’s been my experience that I’ve needed to do more maintenance with this feeder than the older one I had. The way the food storage is setup does not allow for gravity to constantly have the opening filled with food. So, there may be plenty of food in the feeder, but my chickens get about a day’s worth of feed and I need to push it down for them again.

I want to reiterate – I expect to have daily maintenance as chicken ownership, and that’s fine. But for a feeder that is upwards of $200, I expect it to do much more – and much more effectively – than this feeder.  

Chickens got used to it no problem, but mice still got in…  

Judith M. Olstad 

on December 3, 2016

Verified Purchase

 

My chickens adapted to this feeder right away with no problem. It is nice that it keeps them from scattering feed throughout the whole run and keeps chicken poo out. I found mice droppings in the feeder today, however, which is the whole reason I paid so much money for this product, so I am very disappointed with that result. It seems like there is still some space on the top of the feeder where mice can get in. Unless my chickens are letting the mice in while they eat, I’m not sure how else they can get in. Would love a solution to fix the mice problem if anyone has one to offer.

 

 Disappointed 

 volksmarchge 

on April 4, 2016

Size: Standard

Verified Purchase

This product is ok, but I doubt I will purchase another even when I increase my flock in the next month or so. 
I received no instruction sheet or screen and was missing screws. Very disappointed to have to scrounge screws just to assemble it. 
I find the powdered feed remnants always sit at the bottom front of the feeder which causes the rest to not fall down as intended. Every day I have to push the feed down and forward. Maybe if the storage well were angled a bit more the gravity concept would work better.
The product is good, certainly better if you actually received all the parts, but I just can’t justify this cost again. Too disappointed.   

 

 

A few use it.. most are too scared … 

K. Eshnaur 

on January 5, 2016

 Size: Large

Verified Purchase

A few use it..most are too scared. Not waterproof. Too much money.  

 

Hens still skidish   

 Arnold 

on June 10, 2016

Size: Standard 

Verified Purchase

Two Stars   

Sandra K. Anderson 

on June 8, 2016

Size: Large

Verified Purchase

Did not work for all the chickens   

 

Chickens waking us up with their Disperse to eat but scare of the feeder move and noise 

 gabriela 

on June 26, 2015

 Size: Standard 

Verified Purchase

Still trying to train the chickens after 3 weeks! They are 2-4 years old and still scared of the finder motion and noise.  

   This poor review is because when I received this expensive feeder …   

M. Zimmerman 

on July 19, 2015

Size: Standard 

Verified Purchase 

This poor review is because when I received this expensive feeder there was no protective packing in the box. The metal feeder itself was bashed up and one of the two PVC pipes that attaches to the treadle was bent and broken. It was absolutely crushed and unusable, and I had to return it. One a brighter note, if you’re looking to reduce the wild birds stealing feed like I was, go to backyardchickens.com and search for ideas.

 

 

 

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