Coast & Country

It is thought that wild fowl were first domesticated for their eggs in Egypt nearly 5000 years ago. Grandpa's Chicken Feeders have only been around since 1995 but are playing an increasingly important role for many modern day chicken owners by providing the ideal feeding system for the rapidly growing number of people keeping chickens in their backyard.

Eggs are one of nature's most complete foods containing many proteins, vitamins and minerals. More and more people are becoming concerned with the bird welfare and egg quality in the big commercial egg factories and are opting to keep half a dozen chickens themselves. You can even keep 6 chickens in all NZ towns and cities just by complying with a few simple rules. It is important that poultry housing provides protection against rain, direct sunlight and is free of draughts, yet well ventilated to prevent ammonia and spread of disease. The main problems with keeping poultry are the sparrows, rats and mice who move in for a free feed and then spoiling what they don't eat with urine, faeces and diseases, twice a day feeding being necessary to minimize this wastage and health risk. Grandpa's Feeders eliminate these problems by stopping these pests accessing the feed, allowing you to go away for the weekend or longer without needing to rely on friends, family or neighbours to feed your birds once or twice a day.

Grandpa's Feeders work by the weight of the chicken stepping on the tread-plate which opens a lid giving access to the feed and closing again when stepping off, protecting the feed from pests and the weather. Feed is the single most important factor to successfully keeping a flock of laying birds. To maximize egg production and maintain body weight, do not restrict their feed intake in any way. One bird will eat approximately 130 gm per day and ample clean water must always be available. Grandpa's Feeders were designed and developed in Whakamarama near Tauranga by Bill Kirkham (Grandpa). Bill had no Idea the contraption he first constructed was going to evolve into what is now an international success story.

Lifestyle Farmer

These clever well-built creations have now been available in New Zealand since 1995, improving the lives of many a chicken owner. Grandpa's Feeders stop the loss of valuable food to wild birds, rats and mice. These pests are not only eating your chicken food, but also putting you and your chickens' health at risk by contaminating the food with several serious diseases, which they commonly carry.
There is a real resurgence in keeping half a dozen chickens in the back yard, partly as a result of changing views towards commercial battery egg production. Also, the large growth of lifestyle farms on which chickens are often the first step in fulfilling one's dream of a better life in a rural environment. Many lifestyle farmers often have full-time jobs, and find it essential to have good management tools like a Grandpa's Feeder to make it all possible. There is also the added advantage of automatic feeding, so being tied to daily feeding or relying on friends or neighbours on those weekends away is now a problem of the past.

The team at Windsong Enterprises, the company which makes and distributes Grandpa's Feeders, receives plenty of interest from overseas, because there seems to be little to nothing available which offers all the benefits that Grandpa's Feeders do. One of the most interesting niche markets has been building feeders for the Karore bird sanctuary for its kaka breeding programme, which has been a huge success. Windsong Enterprises makes two sizes suitable for chickens, bantams and ducks, plus smaller feeders for a variety of animals, including cats, dogs, rabbits and pigeons.

It also makes specialised feeders for zoos and bird sanctuaries, all working on the same principle of the weight of the bird or animal pressing down on the platform to open the lid giving access to the food.

Otorohanga Kiwi House

The male kea with one of the new 'Grandpa' type feeders took less than 46 seconds to work out how to open the feeder and get at the food inside. The main advantage of this type of feeder is that mice cannot access the food and it is also protected from the weather.
We also use another variety of this feeder for some of the smaller waterfowl around the park - Campbell Is Flightless Teal, Brown Teal and Blue Duck. One of these being a 'Roll Treatball', small food items are placed inside the ball which the keas then have to roll around the enclosure before the food will fall out of the ball. Besides the new feeders, several new enrichment devices have been introduced for the Keas.