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Picture of Chicken Feed Level Indicator

I've had a bulk feeder in my chicken coop (similar to the one in the Instructable below) for some time now, and I too was wanting to incorporate a visual indicator without having to periodically lift the lid to check.

It is a problem with a setup like this in that you can become complacent after a while (speaking for myself of course) and you finally discover that the container is completely empty when you are greeted at the gate by the starving hordes.

Hunting around for ideas, i stumbled upon this Instructable published around six years ago.

I thought that there has to be a better way though, than installing ropes and pulleys to do the trick. I also don't like having the indicator upside down i.e. 'E' on top and 'F' at the bottom. Call me fussy if you wish.

After giving it some thought, I came up with the idea of having a magnet sitting on top of the food and using a ball bearing rolling down a clear external tube mounted at the side as an indicator of how much food was within the feeder.

Step 1: Materials Used in Construction

Picture of Materials Used in Construction

Above is my feeding station prior to the upgrade.

1. Block of wood to make a plug to fit into my 100mm PVC food container.

2. Magnet - I used a rare earth NdFeB (Neodymium Iron Boron) N35 which are very strong.

3. Length of clear PVC pipe - I had an old broken aquarium gravel cleaner made from clear PVC that would be ideal for the tube. You probably don't have an old gravel filter, but you can buy clear tube from an acrylic manufacturer relatively cheaply.

4. Ball bearing. My tube was 35mm diameter so I went for a 25mm bearing.

5. String or chain the length of the feeder to connect the plug to the lid. You could use whatever you like here, I used ball chain.

All I had to purchase was a ball bearing $1 (you could probably get a used one for free if you know a mechanic), and the magnet - $15 from my local electronics store.

The rest was from parts I had stowed away in my shed as I tend to be a bit of a hoarder.

audreyobscura5 months ago
Where did you find your clear PVC? It looks great!
AussieAlf (author)  audreyobscura5 months ago
It was an old gravel cleaner used for cleaning my fish tank. If you google 'clear PVC pipe' there should be someone selling this. I can buy a 1 meter length for $15 here.
Você pode mangueira plástica transparente
AussieAlf (author)  A1000son5 months ago
sim eu acho que você poderia