RentACoop Metallic Treadle Feeder
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Another made in China treadle feeder but you know, the original Grandpa Feeder is also made in China….
Selling for $119.95 on Amazon
This is a Grandpa treadle feeder clone, seems to be nearly identical other than a bit cheaper material is used in places and in other places the clone seems to be a bit better.
They are undercutting Grandpa feeders by around $30.00 .
The feeder is about the same size as a Grandpa feeder and holds around 25 pounds of feed. It has a grid that is supposed to help prevent birds from raking the feed out on the ground.
The design is so similar to the Grandpa feeder that you should take a look at the product review on that feeder and this review will just discuss the changes made.
The first change visible is the treadle plate, Grandpa uses a textured plate, this one uses a treadle plate with a lot of holes drilled in it. The second change is the treadle arms have a much better tube that slides into the back treadle arm tube instead of the plastic tube that Grandpa uses.
The feeder is marketed as raccoon proof but that is a highly dubious claim. Raccoons are very strong and intelligent.
84% positive reviews on Amazon is mediocre product but when you actually read the reviews even the four star reviews show problems yet the customers seem to be happy to get the feeder at the reduced price
The complaints ranged from shipping damage, water leaks, parts bent in use, poor assembly instructions, multiple complaints about the screws stripping out,some worried about the holes and chicken toe nails getting caught,
Some of the complaints are silly of course, smaller birds like silkies cannot use the feeder, of course not, they are too light. Or the people that thought the shipping springs were supposed to be left in place, they are there to help minimize damage during shipping and can be used to lock the feeder at night if needed although a determined mammal like a possum or raccoon could easily pry it open or just dump the feeder for a snack. And as usual people don’t read the directions and have problems with the lids sticking in the open position. One customer complained that the lid wasn’t slanted to prevent chickens from perching on it, well, did it have a slanted roof in the dang picture? No? Then why complain.
One review is someone that needs taken out into the back forty and shot. They ordered this feeder, then plan on getting a Grandpa feeder to try out and returning the feeder they like the least! Holy cow, that returned feeder is going to either cost the company $50.00 or more in shipping back and forth plus it is most likely going into the trash after it is returned as it is used. Used feeders spread disease. People like this drive up the cost of selling stuff and that gets passed on to customers. Check the reviews folks and then choose wisely, return when there is a problem that cannot be fixed but please don’t plan on buying and trying and returning till you find one you like.
Cheaper than the Grandpa Feeder!
Our next concern is having the treadle/lid pivot point out front on the unsupported side guards. A lot of pressure is going to be present and a single layer of sheet metal is going to bend and flex. This is most likely why there are complaints about the lid not closing after the birds have used the feeder.
The lid lifts with very little force, just like the Grandpa feeder, so squirrels, even tiny ground squirrels, are going to be able to lift the lid like they do with the Grandpa feeder.
Another big red flag is they market the product as “galvanized aluminum”, which would be a very rare duck indeed. Nearly all galvanized product is steel, not aluminum, and while it is possible to put a chemical coating on aluminum or paint it with zinc paint, you see very little hot zinc dipped aluminum sheets being sold. Manufacturers use steel because it is stronger, much stronger, an equivalent aluminum feeder would have to have much thicker materials and thus very costly. The pictures definitely show galvanized steel so either someone wrote the product literature completely unaware of the material or they are misrepresenting the product.
And of course the product is made in China like all the other junk on Amazon these days. One person answered a question asking about the country of origin by stating that it was made in the U.S. but the company itself didn’t answer the question. For the price, I guarantee it is made in China, that is a complicated feeder to manufacture, at least several hours of shop time even if you were hyper efficient, plan on $80.00 in labor costs by the time you pay your overhead. The materials would cost $20.00 and I doubt that the sellers net that after paying Amazon’s selling fees and shipping the product to the distribution warehouses around the country. The company doesn’t disclose where their products are manufactured on their own website but their products are mostly plastic and are for sure China sourced.
One thing is unusual about this feeder, it has a two year guarantee. But the “guarantee” consists of little more than sending replacement parts only, something that most sellers are already doing. Some of the parts replacement are going to be way beyond the average consumer’s skill range. I tend to get suspicious when I see someone offering limited warranty and having to sign up within thirty days of purchase? Why? If you can prove when you bought it why not just offer the warranty?
So you have a product with all the problems of a Grandpa feeder, with weak treadle links and treadle steps, made in China, not completely waterproof, and it takes weeks before you are able to actually allow the lid to close. As a rat proof feeder it fails the test, who wants to wait another three weeks and feed rats for another three weeks while you are training the birds? Plus there are plenty of complaints against the Grandpa feeder getting rats inside simply by pushing the lid up and crawling in.
The product is over marketed a bit in our opinion, the galvanized aluminum, the warranty that is quite limited and little different than what other sellers offer without the fan fare, the claims that raccoons and rats cannot get in, are are more than a bit of hyperbole.
On the positive side the feeder is a tad larger than the Grandpa, costs a lot less, and they did replace the plastic tube parts in the treadle step. So the product remains an option but not a very good one. Expect the Amazon reviews to turn South quickly at some point as more sales are made.
You can see the Grandpa treadle feeder review at this link.