2.05.2014

I Love This Goose & Duck Feeder, Okay?

Installed the last new poultry and waterfowl feeder a couple weeks ago. It took the place of an old goose feeder station that used two baby pig troughs mounted on a backboard. While prepping for replacement, dug out the sunken pavers that held up the old station so it could be re-leveled. When I saw all the worms wriggling in the dug-up soil below, I called over the hens so they could have a snack.

I've seen at least one of these girls swallow a small snake, whole. Despite those kinds of instincts, these hens did not understand the concept of eating worms. What???

A few brave souls would eyeball a worm, pick it up and give it a shake. They'd then drop the worm and walk away. Ooookaaaay. I had to make up for that obviously bad call by scattering some scratch for them to eat. I have a reputation to maintain as the biggest providing rooster, you know.

photo of the Saturn 3 (smaller feeder)
courtesy Premier 1 Supplies
Moving along: All the moving, digging and leveling done in the area of the old feed station left me smelling of waterfowl spit and old fermented grains. The work (and smells) were worth it all, however, as the new station is nice and level, and there will be so much less waste with these new feeders, Saturn 15's from Premier 1 Supplies (and no, I'm not getting paid for this review, it just took a long time to find a good feeder large enough for ducks and geese).

The Saturn 15 has larger feed openings than the Saturn 3, and easily fits most duck and goose heads, although you could always remove every other "bar" on the grill if you needed larger openings. The feeders have eliminated a good 80% or more food waste, which is a significant cost savings when it comes to organic chow.

Some things I've learned about using feeders - in general, and specifically the Saturn 15 - for ducks and geese:

Photo of ours, the Saturn 15.
Not as pretty as Premier 1's photo. 
1. Since they need to drink water to wash down dry feed, one needs to keep drinking water near the feed station. They will often grab a mouthful of feed then dunk their beaks in the water. This can lead to drinking water needing refreshing twice a day, so the grains don't start fermenting.

2. When ducks & geese move from water bowl to the Saturn 15 feeder, their wet beaks can leave moisture in the feed, which may clump and block feed in the tower from refilling the base. You'll want to raise the tower to sit at its highest level on the base, and to check the feeder to ensure free-flowing feed. I give our feeders a few shakes every night to ensure the base is filled.

3. If you don't hang the feeder, the small "hat" at the top of the feeder can get knocked off by a stiff breeze or a curious goose. I use a carabiner clip at the top to keep the hat on the feeder. The hat also keeps chickens from trying to roost at the top.

4. Although feed gets eaten rather quickly around here, the fats in organic feed/grains can go rancid if kept too warm for long periods of time. Keep feeders protected from direct sunlight. Spouse built these wooden feed protectors for both sun and rain protection.

The one downside: we had hoped the new feeders would keep out the dogs, who believe that being fed twice a day is not quite enough. Since they no longer have the easy access like they did the old feeders, they've taught themselves to lick the feed out from between the grill bars instead. *sigh*. Dogs.



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