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#27375 - 11/07/02 10:48 PM Fish Feeders
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12520
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
Intro: Under the topic: "Pellet Food or Minnows" the question arose about types and requirements of fish feeders. Hopefully we can provide some good info in a series of posts w/ this topic.

Preface, also see the posts under the topic: 'Manual Feeder' - for information about building home made feeders. Also see posts under heading: Types of Fish to Choose, topic Coppernose Bluegill for feeder and feed ring info. For info about fish feeds see under heading Questions & Observations, topic: what fish food

1. I know of two main brand or company name feeders: Sweeney and STREN. Various retailers handle these feeders. The companies do not sell direct to the public.

Sweeney 1-800-687-6075 or 800-443-4244. www.SweeneyFeeders.com

STREN start w/ www.aquaticeco.com Also there is a reader of the PBoss forum that handles the STREN feeders and hopefully he will add his contact info. (Note: See Greg Grimes' post below).

2. All sizes are available and hold from four lbs to over 200 lbs of feed. Many of the feeders can serve double duty as game or bird feeders during the off season.

3. Power Supply. Most are powered by an internal weather protected rechargable 6 or 12 volt battery. Some models have solar power and are more expensive.

4. Somewhere I saw in a catalog but I can't remember where, about numerous styles of timer & scatter device combos that bolt onto a bucket or barrel. This produces a mechanical feeder for a little less money. I'm now pretty sure they were in the Cabala's Master Catalog. I see they have a pretty wide selection of various styles and prices. Also try www.cabelas.com use feeder as a search word. Although the catalog has a larger selection of feeder items than the web site.

HAND FEED. I live at my pond site and I prefer to hand feed my fish. I see what the fish are eating and I only add handfulls of feed at a time as they "clean up" each handfull. I consider it fun and relaxing and often exciting when the big'uns start splashing around and throwing water all over the place. It is also fun watching their size increase during the year. I normally feed 5 to 6 days a week when ever the water temperature is 52 deg.F or above. Fish do not eat good at the surface until the temp is closer to 60 deg F.

FEEDER ADVANTAGES. 1. Pond is able to grow or support more fish and the average size is bigger fish.
2. One can keep an eye on the general overall health & condition of the fish. Often in smaller ponds you can get a good idea of the quantity of fish present esp if most eat pelleted food.
3. For some unknown reason, it's fun watching fish feed.
4. Feeding pellets is often consistantly more successful at growing more and bigger fish as compared to trying the fertilizer application method. Fertilizer application sometimes does not work too well.

FEEDER DISADVANTAGES. 1. One disadvantage to a mechanical feeder is the possibility of ducks or waterfowl hogging the feed when no one is around. 2. Feeding high protein pellets to fish introduces nutrients into the pond making it more fertile, so you will likely see additional algae/plant growth from the fish feeding. 3. Once you start feeding your fish you should not directly stop feeding. Feeding builds the fish biomass or weight present in the pond over what the pond can naturally support. All the extra fish in the pond will start losing weight and sickness or deaths may result if the outside food source is stopped. If you stop feeding, harvest quite a few fish from the pond to get the total poundage (carrying capacity) back to a "natural level".

NO FISHING. I recommend that no one fishes around the feeder/feeders despite how tempting it is to do this. Fishing near the feeder is counter productive in that it teaches the fish that danger lurks around the feeder and they are more hesitant to utilize the feeder. . You want your fish to feel non-threatened when using the feeder.

FEEDING RINGS. Sometimes a home-made floating, feed, retention ring is helpful especially when first training the fish to eat pellets. The feed ring keeps the feed in deeper water and prevents it from floating to shore where it is often uneaten to mold and/or grow algae. Feed rings can be built from PVC pipe (2" to 4") glued into rectangle or square (2'x2' upto 8'x8'). I use 1" or up to 2" dia black poly water pipe formed into a circle with a connector and caulk/tape to make it water tight. Rings can be anchored or tethered in the desired area. I prefer to put a wind baffle of vinyl siding or flashing material (4"-6" wide) that is attached like a belt to the inside of the ring using wire ties or similar material. This helps keep pellets from fish splashing them out or the wind from blowing them out of the ring.

Feeding your fish introduces you to AQUACULTURE -growing a crop of fish in water with pelletized feed. Aquaculture in the future will provide the world with a big portion of its "seafood".
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#27376 - 11/08/02 07:13 AM Re: Fish Feeders
Bill Duggan Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/23/02
Posts: 625
Loc: Flatrock, Ga.
Bill, here is one source of hanging type game feeders www.game-country.com. I use a 16 Gal. feeder which holds 50 to 60 pounds of feed. The feeder is mounted on a metal arm which swings out from my dock. The feeder cost $110 on sale at Bass Pro last year.

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#27377 - 11/09/02 03:37 PM Re: Fish Feeders
doddbldr2 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/04/02
Posts: 57
Loc: OHIO
Bill, thanks for the information on the feeders. My pond is in my back yard and I would love to see the fish come up and eat. When you have a feeder ring in the deeper water, how do you get the feed out to the ring? Also, how do you implement a feeding program? Do you start with a hand full of pellets until they get used to the food? I assume that you feed the amount that the fish can eat in a certain time period? I have seen post regarding purina pellet food. Is that what you use? Thanks again.
Dave Dodd

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#27378 - 11/10/02 07:50 PM Re: Fish Feeders
Bill Cody Offline
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Field Correspondent

Lunker

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12520
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
doddbldr2 - Feed ring in deeper water is relative to your conditions. I and my fish feeding friends have docks so the ring is positioned out in front of the dock that extends out from shore. Water depth will then depend on pond bank slope and how far the ring is away from shore. By "deeper water" I meant anything away from shore 2'-4' usu. w/out a dock and 4' to 8' deep w/ a dock.

Initial Feeding. Yes, start a new feeding program with only a hand-full of pellets placed into the ring. Do not add more until all food is eaten. Feed at the same time each day. Fish mey initially eat the food after you leave and it soaks up water & softens a bit. It may take several days to a week to get the fish accustomed to associating you with food. Fish are creatures of habit and will soon learn when it is feeding time.

I personally prefer Purina Aquamax 400 (1/8"), 500 (3/16"), or 600 (1/4") for carnivours (blue-bag & 19.95/50lbs). This does a couple of things for me that the cheaper food does not do. 1. If you plan to feed canivorus fish, Aquamax (blue bag)or Trout Chow is almost a necessity. Carnivours require high protein for good health. 2. It has fish meal in it and higher protein (41% vs 32%)than cheaper Purina or Other brands of food and w/ fish meal and flavor enhancers in it, it tastes better to the fish. My experience shows more fish will learn to accept the higher protein pellets than with the cheaper feeds. Numerous bass will often learn to eat the high protein fish additive pellets. 3. Aquamax blue-bag will hold its consistancy when coated/soaked with a little water. Abt. 1/2 c water to 1 qt pellets and shaken till all water is absorbed. Allowed to stand 1-2 hr. Now the pellets can be rolled, pinched or molded into softened balls and many hesitant fish will accept this form of food. Larger pellets for big fish can be made by molding several pellets together. Small fish can eat a larger pellet that has been softened. Many fish reject the hard pellets due to texture. Soften the food, make it similar texture to other live things fish eat and now they will learn quicker and easier to eat pellets.

Many pondmeisters feed the Pruina Pond Chow (32%)because it has several sizes of pellets which is fine esp if one wants to feed several sizes of fish & does not have time to presoften the food. Plus the P. Pond Chow is less expensive. Less expensive is good if you are feeding hundreds of pounds of pellets each year. Hwever if you buy Aquamax (blue-bag) it can be bought in several sizes of pellets and then blended to your own feed size mixture.
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#27379 - 11/11/02 02:13 PM Re: Fish Feeders
Greg Grimes Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 05/03/02
Posts: 3973
Loc: Ball Ground, GA
Cody- yes here is my plug for the feeders I sell. BTW great post very informative. One other advantage not mentioned about automatic feeders. Mutiple feeding times! Bluegill can only eat a small amount at a given feeding, so more feedings per day will result in better growth, productivity for the bluegill. Also the feeders are great to fish around for kids fishing for catfish. Bill the catfish may learn a little slower b/c this one catfish with a scar has been caught probably 12 times by visiting friends and family.

Duggan- I sold the Game Country feedes for years. They are good for the money. Disadvantage is poor customer service,(hard to replace a bad timer). The main disadvatgae is difficult of setting mutiple feed times and the fact it throws in a circualar pattern. It has to be mounted on a swing gate, or over the water requiring filling by boat. I still fill up about 20 a year and as I said good for the money.

I now sell the Stren/Remington Feeder line. I went from dealer to distributor in six months b/c I have sold so many. They are easy to set, food sent out 45 feet into the water, 2 yr no questions asked warranty, etc.

You can now check them out at www.lakework.com. I have a link to the Stren site to view all options. My best seller is the ADF-75d (holds about 90 lbs of smaller pellets)that sells for $375 plus about $25 in shipping (GA) you will need a 12 volt battery $22 and I suggest the solar panel $40. We now can also take a credit card. THis price is about $200 cheaper than a Sweeney. Thanks for allowing the plug, Greg
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Greg Grimes
www.lakework.com

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#27380 - 11/11/02 04:51 PM Re: Fish Feeders
Dave Davidson Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/22/02
Posts: 1892
Loc: Hurst & Bowie Texas
I just bought a new feeder(timer only) today from Bass Pro Shops. Made by Kenco, its called the Straight Shooter and cost $29.99. The box says:
One-directional feeding lays a narrow band from 3 to 40 feet. Circuit Board technology. Feeds twice daily, sunrise and 1 hour before sunset. Special programming to adjust for daylight saving time, shorter days, etc. Adjustable feed amount and test button with delay.

Now, at $29.99 I don't expect perfection but I'm not risking much. My wife is already upset about the expensive timer I bought last weekend. I'm going to try it out during deer season and if it works like they say, try to rig it for fish feeding.

Has anyone else had any experience with this timer?

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#27381 - 11/11/02 04:55 PM Re: Fish Feeders
Bob Koerber Offline
Member

Registered: 04/24/02
Posts: 470
Loc: Hartselle, Alabama
Dave I have had very poor results with it clogging up making it useless. I even added a funnel between it and the bucket I used hoping that having a larger hole 8 inches in the bucket would help but it didn't. I plan on adding a vertical rod on the part the spinner hits to keep the feed flowing to see if it helps. Good luck Bob

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#27382 - 11/11/02 07:17 PM Re: Fish Feeders
TROLL Offline
Member

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 31
Loc: CENTRAL IL.
Dave, I have two timers made by, BA PRODUCTS of KERRVILLE TX. the same style you have.they work great.

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#27383 - 11/11/02 07:22 PM Re: Fish Feeders
tim k Offline
Member

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 263
Loc: lampasas texas
I have to second Greg's endorsment of Stren/Remington feeder. I have purchased many feeders over the years, both for deer and fish, and the Stren has been super sturdy and reliable. The timer is the best, I feel, on the market. First class unit.

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#27384 - 11/11/02 09:26 PM Re: Fish Feeders
Bill Cody Offline
Moderator
Ambassador
Field Correspondent

Lunker

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12520
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
To All. Great input so far, just as I wished for. Other pondmeisters that feed their fish any style are welcome to join in and tell us your experiences. Maybe give reasons why you do or don't have an automatic feeder. I don't have one for the reason mentioned earlier.

Greg. That catfish that has been caught numerous times must be one of the "dumb ones". There's one in every crowd! They are by all means not all that way. Myself and many of my pond friends with smaller ponds have a real hard time catching additional catfish once one or two have been caught. The hooked fish must emit some hormone or pheromone that signals other cats to be caucious or not bite.
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#27385 - 11/12/02 08:12 AM Re: Fish Feeders
Bill Duggan Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/23/02
Posts: 625
Loc: Flatrock, Ga.
Greg and us other Georgia boys must grow some dumb cats, I caught about 25 cats in about two hours last saturday. Also Greg I agree with your complaint about the Game Country timer being difficult to set for times other than the two preset.

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#27386 - 11/13/02 08:48 AM Re: Fish Feeders
Greg Grimes Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 05/03/02
Posts: 3973
Loc: Ball Ground, GA
Duggan, Are your fish still eating? I fed yesterday for the last time with the cold temps moving in. The catfish ate well and actually one scared the .... out of my golden retriver getting a drink of water.

I personally do not use sinking pellets like some feed stores will tell you to do this time of year. Wonder why they tell you that??? I think most PB readers realize warm water species will feed little to none when water temps are below 55-60?
_________________________
Greg Grimes
www.lakework.com

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#27387 - 11/13/02 10:14 AM Re: Fish Feeders
Tom Jorden Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/19/02
Posts: 7
Loc: Lafayette La
I wish you could see my South Louisiana bass feed on a 30 degree morning! Although I cut back the amount of feed in the winter, my fish, both bass and bream, are fed 365 days a year.

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#27388 - 11/13/02 10:35 AM Re: Fish Feeders
Bill Duggan Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/23/02
Posts: 625
Loc: Flatrock, Ga.
Greg, currently feeding with my last bag in the feeder. Will stop feeding this weekend. I hand fed last saturday(noon) and the feed floated to the other side of the pond before the fish became interested but then once a few started eating they all went at it. The cats I caught saturday were active but very cold to the touch.
What do catfish farmers due about winter feeding? Do they use sinking feed?

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#27389 - 11/14/02 07:24 AM Re: Fish Feeders
Bill Duggan Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/23/02
Posts: 625
Loc: Flatrock, Ga.
Just when I think I got it all figured out the new copy of Pond Boss comes out and Bob Lusk says it's OK to feed year round in the south.

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#27390 - 11/14/02 10:18 AM Re: Fish Feeders
Greg Grimes Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 05/03/02
Posts: 3973
Loc: Ball Ground, GA
DUggan, My supplier of adult chanel catfish tells me the cats (don't know about others) can not digest the food when their body temps are lowered to a point. They fed longer than I would thing usually mid to late Nov., but stop after that. My advice is just to watch the fish as you are doing. If they continue to feed, go for it. For me though I'm not charging my clients to fill up the smaller amounts over the winter so I just shut them down. Turn the duration time way back and you still can get some beneftis over the winter if you see them feeding.
_________________________
Greg Grimes
www.lakework.com

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#27391 - 12/10/02 06:34 PM Re: Fish Feeders
harvey dupriest Offline
Lunker

Registered: 11/03/02
Posts: 187
Loc: Ben Wheeler Tx.
have pond in east tx.i dont live there full time so i bought a sweeney feeder with solar panel with 100 pound capacity, works great and is easy to set timer. do not know if the fish have slowed eating so am going for this weekend to check things out...harvey...your right it's fun to watch em eat

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#27392 - 03/11/03 11:10 AM Re: Fish Feeders
Bill Duggan Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/23/02
Posts: 625
Loc: Flatrock, Ga.
Greg, have you started back feeding in any of your ponds yet. I have not but the cats were biting last saturday, caught about 10 with nightcrawlers.

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#27393 - 03/11/03 07:57 PM Re: Fish Feeders
Greg Grimes Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 05/03/02
Posts: 3973
Loc: Ball Ground, GA
Funny you should ask. I put out two feeders today and plan on setting up three tom. The nice weather makes me want to go back fishing. The bluegill starting eating right away even though they had not beeen fed since Nov. No cats seen in the one pond that has them.
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Greg Grimes
www.lakework.com

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#27394 - 03/12/03 04:06 PM Re: Fish Feeders
Fishman Offline
Member

Registered: 05/08/02
Posts: 188
Loc: Waco, TX
I've started most of my feeders and the fish are eating. Water temps fell about 5 deg the last couple of weeks, but they're back on the rise.

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#27395 - 03/13/03 07:45 PM Re: Fish Feeders
Greg Grimes Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 05/03/02
Posts: 3973
Loc: Ball Ground, GA
I saw the channel catfish eating the food from my neighbors pond after only two days of feeding. Thought you would like to know Bill.
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Greg Grimes
www.lakework.com

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#27396 - 03/14/03 03:47 AM Re: Fish Feeders
lakedoctor Offline
Member

Registered: 02/19/03
Posts: 122
Loc: Indiana
WELL JUST HAVE TO JUMP IN HERE FOR A MIN,I live north of the mason dixon. But have a thing that I would like to share with anybody that likes to feed your fish a more natural type of feed.It is cheap easy to install and timed to last all day and night I like the bug zapper over the feeding areas.Leave them on from dusk till dawn and they produce a floating forage that last all day.The best part is no feed to buy and getting rid of those pesky mosquitoes doesn't hurt nothing.The problem that I dont like about the pellet type feeders is the waste that goes to the bottom adds ammonia to the bottom layer of the pond.The smaller the pond the faster the level will increase.At least in the hot summer months of a pond with little fresh water comming in it can be lethal to the fish.Just sharing a few thoughts I wanted to throw out there for a little response.Gota have fun some how that red head fell asleep. DOC
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Doc

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#27397 - 03/14/03 07:30 AM Re: Fish Feeders
Bill Duggan Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/23/02
Posts: 625
Loc: Flatrock, Ga.
Doc, have heard of these bug zappers or bug-a-matics. Do you think they add enough protein into a pond to increase the production of a pond without feeding. Also in the south we are begining to feed well before bugs are active.

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#27398 - 03/14/03 07:57 AM Re: Fish Feeders
lakedoctor Offline
Member

Registered: 02/19/03
Posts: 122
Loc: Indiana
In the ponds that I have to manage they work great.Iam not a big fan of feeding a target fish but try to get a balance of all fish and as long as you start with a good forage base of either fathead or gambusia minnows then they grow and mature at a natural but fast pattern.I've seen alot of pond owners that feed and the cats get so big so fast they end up out growing the rest of the fish and up here where you cant feed most ly past oct. they can almost wipe out the bass and blue gill in one winter.If a person has a pond that is for just the target fish they feed then I say go ahead and feed them all they will eat .But I don't have alot of demand for that kind of ponds. Hope this helps explain Doc
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Doc

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#27399 - 03/14/03 11:53 AM Re: Fish Feeders
DAN PATERSON Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 242
Loc: CLAYTON, MICHIGAN
RE: Bug Zappers and free fish food.... My pond is located about 1/2 mile from the house so I do not have electrical power near it to run a bug zapper but I sure would if I could. I do have a 4 foot long zapper next to my barn and dog kennel and after seeing the amount of skeeters, moths, flies and other bugs on the ground below it I had a sheet metal tray made that hangs just below the zapper. Every day I empty the tray into a small pail and scatter the bugs off the end of my dock. The fish don't seem to mind that the bugs are not alive and kicking and they quickly scarf 'em down.
The amount of food in pounds is not great, but the smaller fish really go after them.

I also have several 16" X 16" square baskets made out of 1" wire mesh hanging on poles over the water on the back side of the pond. I take all the critters that just happen to die in my area (Woodchucks, Muskrats, Possums, Coons) cut 'em in half on a old oak stump with a machette and dump 'em in the baskets. After 3 or 4 days in June, July or August the flies have found 'em and laid their eggs and the maggots soon follow, falling thru the mesh openings to the waiting fish below. I keep a covered 5 gallon bucket in the back of my truck and have been known to pick up road kill until I fill an old freezer that I have in the barn. As soon as the weather warms up in the spring I'll start filling the baskets.

I know this method is not for everybody but it sure works for me.

Dan
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Dan

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