I’m not sure if anyone else has done this, but if you have, it will confirm that my idea was a good one! I just finished my coop and I wanted a way for my wife and kids to tell if the chickens needed more food without having to open the coop, unhook the feeder, open the lid and look into it. Sometimes you just want to get your eggs and get back into the house. I needed something on the outside of the coop to tell them what the feed level was inside the PVC feeder. This would make their trip to the coop more efficient as they would bring back valuable data in addition to the eggs.
Here is what I did: I made the feeder based on many different designs I saw on Google images. I made a “weight” to sit on top of the food. The weight would be tied to another object, which would dangle on the outside of the coop. As the chickens eat the feed and the amount of food decreases, the weight goes down, and the object on the outside would then go up, indicating that my girls were running on “E”.
The whole feeder is 34″ high. I measured the empty level to be at the last easy-to-reach level for the chickens, not the absolute bottom.
I’m sure this design would work with a PVC waterer too (with the chicken nipples). You can just use a float instead of a weight. We’ll be trying that out next. If you decide to make this little enhancement, PLEASE send me a pic at email@example.com. I would love to see it!
Read Chicken Coop from a Playhouse to see the coop.