This feeder is radically different from the other feeders for five main reasons. First, the door is soft close so it closes quietly. Second, no plastic parts othe than the soft close cylinders that rats will eventuality chew through. Third, the treadle is set way back on purpose so that if a critter or a pack of critters managed to get the treadle down when they went forward to eat they would lose the leverage and the door would close. Fourth, the door is spring loaded so it is nearly impossible for several rats to push it open. A dozen might do that, four or five couldn't. Fifth, the entire treadle and door is counter weighted at considerable expense with 2 pounds of counterweight that ensures the door always opens and always closes. It also has a one piece steel treadle that won't flex and break like the riveted aluminum or plastic treadles.
As far as competition there are three main competing products. The Grandpa feeder, the Feed o Matic from the Dutch company, and one from a company called Coops and More and a few clones of that model from other companies. All of the feeders are more expensive than our feeder
The Grandpa feeder is a nice feeder but three times the cost or our medium feeder. It is an outdoor feeder, we tell people that you should have some sort of rain cover if our feeder is used outside and the feed isn't emptied out by the birds every day or two. Some of our customers swear that their feeder does fine outside but water blowing against the door might drip down into the front edge of the feed tray. The Grandpa feeder also has what is called a guillotine feeder door that goes up and down instead of swinging back. That makes it hard to train the birds. To train a flock using the Grandpa feeder you HAVE to block the feeder open for a week or more.
The Feed o Matic is the green plastic top and plastic feed tray feeder sold on Amazon and several other websites by re-sellers. The 26 pound model sells for $95.99, 67% higher than our medium feeder, but they do offer free shipping. Now the average feeder shipping is around $22.00 so the rest goes toward paying the enormous Amazon fees and percentages. The feeders are made in Holland by a company called Olba and after lackluster sales in the EU due to design flaws they started dumping them on the U.S. to get rid of them. You can buy pallets of them at 50% off and there are many re sellers of the product. One reseller, Hog Slat, posts a warning in bright red text stating that rats can push the door open and that rats can chew through the plastic feed tray and lid. The treadle is way too large, rodents or pigeons can swarm the feeder and hold the door open. It is made for smaller birds, too small for Rhode Island Reds, lots of complaints on the Amazon shopping cart page, around 30% of the reviews are critical of the product for a wide variety of reasons. Not only that, but the initial reviews all had a disclaimer that said they received the product for free in return for their review! Amazon recently made that illegal and grounds for banning the company from Amazon. The treadle on this feeder can also be jammed if the litter builds up or if the birds track a lot of chicken poop on the treadle. And the door isn't spring loaded so rats and even small mice can easily enter the door just by pushing on it. They advocate blocking the feeder open while training and customer reviews say it can take several weeks sometimes to train their birds. That is because blocking a feeder open is the worst thing to do during training because it teaches the birds that the treadle and door are not supposed to move. The Feed o Matic jams a lot according to the reviews, especially when the treadle is blocked open. One review said the feeder leaked and their feed was molding. Other reviews say the birds don't like sticking their heads so deep into the machine. With a critical review rate of 30% this product won't last long on Amazon before Amazon pulls it from the market. In fact, most of the sellers have removed the item, only two are still selling the feeder on Amazon. Here is a link to the reviews both positive and negative
The Chicken Condo feeder has several clones out there, all with the same fatal flaws. The door isn't spring loaded or counter weighted so a mouse or rat can just push its way into the feeder. They have a complicated treadle step frame made of many sections of aluminum angle and metal fatigue and cracking ensue rapidly till the door no longer operates. Rats and pigeons can also swarm the treadle due to its large size treadle. The birds can't see the feed until they stick their head way up under the feeder. The door swings up, not back, so the potential for trapping a bird's head is high. The doors are complicated, many parts, and prone to wear and jamming in a dirty chicken coop. The marketing videos on these types of feeders advocate leaving the feeder blocked open for several weeks during training, not a good thing to do if you are buying a feeder because of vermin stealing the feed because it also teaches the vermin where the feed is and how to push the door open. Our feeder tried out the multi component treadle bar, the complicated arrangement for linkages fastened to the door to operate, and we quickly learned to eliminate both the complicated door and the multi part treadle due to the treadles failing rapidly. Instead we invested in the equipment to weld a solid steel axle, only one moving part, and nearly bullet proof. This also allows the spring loaded adjustable door that eliminates the possibility of several rats or a squirrel from pushing the feeder door open. None of the competing feeders have the 2# counterweight either which we found was essential for ensuring the feeder never failed to open or close completely. These Chicken Condo type clones were so bad for business that one company named Coops N More pulled their feeder from the market and it was an almost exact clone of the Chicken Condo feeder.
Buyers should be wary. Read the reviews and if there are many critical reviews that is the best indication of a poorly designed feeder. The Amazon feeder has a 30% negative review rate but when you look at the company's profile they claim a 100% positive rate so they do have control over the ratings and reviews on Amazon?