Cheap Chinese Treadle Feeder Bin

Treadle Feeder Bin

$56.95 Amazon    $45.89 eBay

The destruction of American manufacturing was brought about by the retailers who demanded a larger and larger share of the product cost for retailing the manufacturer’s product.  Once the retailers had squeezed American manufacturers down to the bone they made deals with the Chinese companies to slash the price of products even  forcing the remaining manufacturers to squeeze their suppliers or even begin making their product overseas where there is little regulations, where labor is 1/20th of U.S. labor costs.   That transferred trillions of dollars into China where the manufacturers invested in more automation and vast plants.

In most industries workers and managers tend to break off from the main company, building a competing factory.   In China that is easy as few companies are vertically integrated and outsource many of the parts or processes used in making a product. One company might make motors, another makes machine guides, another makes electronics, and a final company assembles machines out of the parts, making it fairly easy to split off.   A salesman leaves with the contact info for a buyer of a product and a new factory is born, increasing the competition for a limited amount of export orders.

Eventually the Chinese could make more product than the retailers could sell and we saw them beginning to appear on Alibaba trying to wholesale their products.  Over the course of three to four years the super cheap wholesale prices still couldn’t move enough to keep the Chinese plants working at capacity and we began to see the Chinese appearing on eBay and Amazon, competing with the very companies that initially brought them the orders that put them in business.

These cheap Chinese treadle feeder bins are an excellent example of this dynamic.   Eventually the re sellers that developed the market here in the U.S. will be driven out of the marketplace, leaving the product sold at rock bottom prices, a brutal race to the bottom on pricing actually.   The prefab chicken coop industry went through this a few years ago and the remaining prefab coops have horrible reviews as the quality manufacturers have been driven out of the marketplace.

Chinese Treadle Feeder Bins

  • No gravity feed hopper, a simple box that stores the feed
  • Mostly aluminum which is not good around the Ammonia produced by chicken manure as it will corrode Aluminum rapidly
  • Aluminum is quite toxic, not an ideal feed bin material
  • Like the Grandpa feeder there is no lip on front to reduce the feed waste when hens rake the feed
  • Highly complicated lever and pivot system needed
  • Overseas shipping costs run on volume, not weight,  so the treadle comes in sections to keep the box size to a minimum
  • Treadle steps are generally stamped sheet metal and quite flimsy, bending in the center till the treadle bottoms out on the ground or litter, limiting the rise of the lid.  Surface quite slippery with a manure covered chicken foot
  • Pivot points on most models are small machine screws that bend, loosen and fall of quickly as there are no threaded nylon locking inserts

As the feeder doesn’t have a feed hopper it doesn’t have clogging problems but if the feed bin is filled up to the full 12 pound capacity the hens will rake out a lot of feed.  Customer reviews recommend filling the feed bin only one quarter full, three pounds of feed, so the feeder would feed four birds for three days or 12 birds for one day before refilling.  

The feeder doesn’t have the side guards like the Grandpa treadle feeder so that is fewer pinch points for a bird to get caught in but it also increases the chance of a bird getting hit by the falling lid.  

The fairly wide but flimsy sheet metal step will bend, jamming the treadle mechanism or bottoming out before the lid rises completely up.  The aluminum stamping  usually has stiffening ridges pressed in but the wide surface is slippery for a chicken’s foot that might have  chicken manure sticking to it.

 The machine is really the front part of a Grandpa treadle feeder with a slightly less complicated mechanism that raises the feed tray lid.  It has only six pivot points compared to the Grandpa treadle feeder eight pivot points so that is two less points of wear and problems.  It has a lot of pinch points where a bird could be injured and like the Grandpa treadle feeder the upwards and overhead feed lid itself is a danger to the birds.   The linkage itself is stamped sheet metal, quite thin for what it needs to do and the hinged back leaves a 1/4″ to 3/8″ gap all along the back side so the feeder isn’t 100% mouse proof.   The product has fairly good reviews but it is a fairly new product, on the market for about six months so the durability issues have yet to show up.  Most of the reviews do reflect the long training period due to the guillotine type feed lid.   My opinion is that the feeder is best thought of as a kit that will take some work to get it working right and some effort to keep it working well.







Three Stars:

I’ve had it for four weeks and the only way the chickens will use it is if I keep it propped open, which defeats the purpose unfortunately. I looked at a Youtube video that said there are 3 steps, 1) Keep it propped open for the first week or two. (That went fine.) 2) Keep it semi open but get them used to stepping on the treadle. This is as far as I’ve gotten. When the lid comes up, it scares them and they run off. I will keep trying but for $50 but I’m disappointed this hasn’t happened yet. The sparrows are really enjoying all the food though. I will update this review if I can get them to successfully use it.

Great Feeder!

I wish it held more feed but for 12 to 15 birds its perfect! Add a couple foam picture mounting squares under the lid corners will dramatically reduce the clunking! (Also the feed inside helps with noise absorption) Block it open with a rock for a week, then keep an eye on your birds for a couple weeks, and your in there! We had a real rodent problem and NO MORE! Also mounting it on a piece of plywood helped stabilize it. As we add them pen by pen, birds get used to how it works by watching the birds in the next pen!

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 This feeder is a great concept, but you really have to train your … 

By Sue on November 29, 2016

This feeder is a great concept, but you really have to train your chickens to use it and have some patience. One of our hens seemed to get it right away, but the others are still struggling. I made some adaptations to it also. The package comes with thin sheet of foam to protect the metal in shipping. I took that and duct taped it to the foot plate as my chickens were sliding off the foot plate. the plate is at quite an angle and the grip strips are not effective. Then I took the other foam sheet and duct taped it to the sides of the lid to prevent chickens from putting their heads into the side of the feeder and get hurt. That helped a lot, but I still couldn’t get them to use it unless I stepped on it and waited until they came over and stepped up. So just this past weekend – after two weeks of trial and error… I placed a small piece of 2×4 (maybe 6″ long) that I had as scrap into the feeder to prevent the feeder from closing all the way. That seems to have done the trick for now – and in a couple of more weeks I will remove it and see if they have figured it out by then. Seriously….patience and adaptation and you will get there. I think the design could be adapted easily and cheaply to make it safer and easier for the chickens to use. I bought it to get rid of all the other birds feeding on chicken food and living in every little corner of our barn. So for that I believe it will work, but not for about another month. Two other suggestions: do NOT fill the feeder more than about 1/4 up as your hens will toss feed all over and defeat the purpose of having a closed feeder, and when you are training, sprinkle some mealy worms in the feeder to entice them in to the scary new loud feeder! Good Luck!