Can you make your own automatic deer feeder.  Of course, there are plenty of ideas out there to help you save money and make your own.

FROM: http://www.huntingforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22343

Buy the spreaders at bassproshops.com for $49.00. after that all you'll need to do is buy an aluminum garbage can and rope.

cut a whole in the bottom
mount the motor and funnel
drill holes in the lid so you can secure it to the can
use the rope to hoist your feeder up into the trees

I bought some camo paint to dull the aluminum and have used mine for a few seasons with zero problems. it will hold all the corn you can hoist.

One thing i'll suggest is using two ropes. this way you can secure one while you use the other to hoist. once you get it to the height you want you'll wrap the rope you hoisted with around a tree several times. this will allow you to take the other rope to re-tie without the help of another person.

I've found that this method works best because it will allow your feed to be spread out further. from my experience, deer like to brows more than feed off of a pile.

 The video below show a great inexpensive way to create an automatic deer feeder on your own.  

You can purchase an automatic timer relatively cheap and attach it to a galvanized garbage can or a 30 or 55 gallon drum and hang it from a tree limb. Just make sure that you have a lid to put on it. With the automatic deer feeders you can regulate the amount of feed you provide for the deer. Raccoons and squirrels will do their best to steal the feed as well and it may take some time to out smart them.

FROM: http://www.racksnspurs.com/images/feeder.jpg

Check out the picture. This one holds 300 pounds of feed.
"It uses a pickle barrel and holds 300# of corn. The barrel has a recessed top so you need a cover. I had a buddy make one out of sheet metal. The hanger is piece of galv. pipe. I use wire cable and a hoist to get it off the ground. You will need a stool with a hole in it for the spinner, so the weight is not on the spinner when filling the feeder."

$29.95 will get you an electronic feeder from Bass Pro, then another 10 minutes to bolt it to the bottom of a five gallon bucket with a lid and "POOF", you have a feeder. You can mount in on a 55 gal drum but the buckets are cheap, easy and quick.

FROM: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6199509.html

Gravity deer feeder with baffles United States Patent 6199509

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Over the course of the last several years, there has been an increasing desire to maintain and encourage animal populations as a measure to promote the environment and for both subsistence and recreational hunting.

A chief concern of those interested in promoting animal populations is the provision of adequate food supplies during those times when naturally occurring forage is not sufficient to support dependent animal populations. These periods typically occur during the harsh winter and summer months but may occur at any time due to a variety of factors (drought, flood, etc.).

This concern is often addressed by the provision of some sort of feeding system (also known as a "feeder"); however, these feeding systems suffer from a number of deficiencies. One type of feeder known to the art includes an electric motor (often battery powered) and a timer. U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,926,441 and 5,873,326 are examples of this type of feeder. The timer activates the motor and distributes feed (usually corn) on the ground or in troughs periodically. This feeder design often results in excessive waste of the feed because feed is dispensed without regard to demand by the dependent animal population. A further disadvantage of feeders with this design is the regular maintenance required to verify that the mechanical aspects of the feeder are in good working order (i.e., the motor and timer are still working and that there is an adequate power supply).

Still other feeders known to the art are wind- or movement-powered, thereby eliminating the need for electricity or batteries as described above. Because of the uncertain or intermittent nature of the mechanical action of this type of feeder, control of feed distribution is problematic and often results in either inadequate or excessive distribution.

In addition, prior art feeders often utilize troughs from which the dependent animal population may obtain distributed feed. This type of feeder is referred to as a "free choice feeder." One disadvantage of this feeder design is that large quantities of feed often accumulate in the troughs of free choice feeders as feed is continually deposited in the trough by the action of the distribution mechanism (i.e., the motor/timer, wind action, etc.). Thereafter, feed accumulated in the troughs is exposed to the elements and begins to decompose or spoil. A further disadvantage of this design is the ease with which undesirable animal populations (typically, squirrels, hogs, birds, etc.) may access the troughs in free choice feeders and consume feed intended for the targeted animal population. A further disadvantage of this design is the periodic maintenance required to prevent contamination of the feed supply by the feed accumulated in the troughs and the associated cleaning and maintenance.

In addition, a further disadvantage of prior art feeders is the use of multiple leg supports and/or tree mounting. Animals may become snared or entangled in these leg supports as they attempt to consume the large quantity of feed that often surrounds the leg supports. As a result, the leg supports and/or feeder are often damaged as the animal tries to free itself In addition, the multiple leg supports provide an effective point of attack for animals attempting to overturn the feeder. Tree mounted feeders are similarly susceptible to wind damage of all types, whether to the feeder itself or to the supporting tree.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a feeder comprising a hopper fitted with interior baffle(s), at least one or more feeding ports spaced about the lower perimeter thereof, and a domed or angled based in the hopper. This hopper may further be fitted with a feed container attached to the hopper which provides increased feed storage capacity and which may itself be fitted with a reduced diameter base (a funnel). Fitted with this base, the feed container may be larger than the hopper itself (and thereby able to store a larger quantity of feed) while still directing the feed into the hopper. Further, either the hopper or the feed container may be fitted with a movable or removable lid which protects the contents from contamination by precipitation or other foreign matter. In addition, the feeding ports may further be protected by the provision of rain guards intended to direct precipitation away from the feeding ports. Finally, the feeder may be supported on a single pillar, column or other similar support structure.

By operation of gravity, feed travels downward through the hopper striking a series of baffle(s) which slow the flow of and alleviate compaction of feed on the domed or angled base. This domed or angled base holds feed in a loose and stable state adjacent to feeding ports open to the exterior of the hopper where it is available for consumption.






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