Author: James L. Bruner
This is a simple and brief outline regarding the use of building a gravity feeder using pvc piping for those who prefer do-it-yourself types of projects.
The Gravity Fed Deer Feeder
For those who like to create their own projects or simply do not want a purchased feeder, here is a simple gravity fed feeding station that works best with corn or similar grain feed. Please check your local state laws regarding feed, hunting over feed, feed amount allotments, and dispersal methods.
As mentioned this is a gravity feeder that works entirely through dispersal. We’ve seen this same type of feeder explained many times on the internet and have noticed many attributes which would be considered unsafe or possibly harmful to the deer and the trees. With that in mind we want to address some of that advice as we review the simple process.
First you will need a length of 4″ pvc pipe which you can purchase in 10 or 20 foot lengths. A 10 foot length will be enough to make 2 feeders and hold plenty of grain for a day of hunting. The color of the pipe is typically white. ABS can be used which is black in color and may be preferable for some hunters. Many will notice right away the use of 4″ pipe rather than the 6″ that is recommended on many websites. A hole 6 inches in diameter create a large enough opening that a deer could get it’s muzzle caught in when trying to gather the last of the feed that has not dispersed onto the ground. Of course this could happen with 4 inch pipe also but the likelihood is dramatically reduced with smaller pipe. If you choose, you can use as small as 2 inch pipe for the project. Again, it’s all gravity fed so there is no need for a large feed chute or trough area. The diameter of pipe dictates how much grain or food substance the feeder will hold and nothing more.
If you plan to make two feeders, purchase two 45 degree elbows of the same diameter pipe. Glue on caps and covers are optional which are nice for keeping the elements, like rain or snow, out of the feeder and molding any of the grain. The simple technique is merely to attach the 45 degree elbow to the 5 foot length of pipe. There is no need to glue the pipe or use any cleaning solvent as in common plumbing practice when adjoining two pieces of plastic pipe together for waste water or water supply. Put together snuggly and you will have a secure fit plus the ground will also supply a portion of the support.
To situate the feeder rest the lip, or collar, of the 45 degree fitting on the ground and make a small depression similar to a large bowl where the fitting collar meets the ground. This will be the positioning and give you the heigth which should be about right for most people to pour the grain into the top opening. Next you need to secure the feeder to a tree, post, whatever you have. Preferably it would be best suited not to secure the feeder directly to a tree as a post or a dead tree would work just as well. If in fact you have to fasten the feeder to a tree do not use wire or a strap and nails. In time this will kill the tree if left throughout the year. A wide strap of cloth, a belt, or a rope will be sufficient. Just be sure that the securing item is something you can adjust to accomodate movement and tree growth when fastening to a live tree. You may consider two straps but in the situation with a 5 foot length of pvc, one will suffice.
Thats pretty much it. Pour your feed from the top and it will fill the small depression you made in front of the fitting which is resting on the ground. Once the depression is filled the pipe can then be filled to it’s capacity. As the deer, squirrels, birds, etc. eat the grain, more will flow down the tube to accomodate the empty space created on the ground. Personally I have never used this method for deer hunting but we have used it for feeding squirrels to try and keep them out of the birdfeeders. We used a 2 inch pvc pipe with a cap on the fill end just to be sure the squirrel didnt dive in from the top and it worked quite well until a black bear came along and…well. No need explaining what happened next.
Regardless this will work fine for feeding deer or whatever it is you are interested in. It is extremely weatherproof and would hold up just fine through the winter providing it doesnt get banged around on the coldest days as any pvc has a tendancy to become somewhat brittle or fragile when the thermometer dips down to the frigid level.