Mason Jar Bird Feeder and Waterer
I don't know if you have noticed, but there are all sorts of accessories today that can be used with mason jars. Poultry feeders and waterers have been around forever and can be found in most feed stores like Tractor Supply, Runnings and Country Max. The ones I'm using today are galvanized metal, but they also have less expensive ones in plastic that are about half the price. Theses feeders are usually used with plastic quart jars, but the same feeders and waterers fit on a mason jar as well, so I decided to make a pair for my garden. Depending on where you buy your supplies, this feeder and waterer should cost less than $10 to make (each). Here's how I made mine.
Left is the waterer and on the right is the feeder
- 1 - Poultry Feeder
- 1 - Poultry Waterer
- 2 - Quart, Standard Mouth Mason Jars
- 2 - Glass Plates or Bowls
- 2 - 1/4" eye bolt with nut (1"-2" long)
- 4 - Rubber Washers
- Diamond hole saw bit, 1/4" or 3/8"
- Eye Protection
- Extra long needle nose pliers or extra long nut driver
- Plastic or Newspaper to protect work surface
Choose a plate or bowl that is wider than the poultry feeder and waterer you are using. This will be placed on top of the mason jar and act as a cover to help protect the seed from rain. You will need to drill a hole in the center of the plate to allow the eye bolt to fit through it. The eye bolts I used were 1/4", so you can either use a 1/4" diamond studded drill bit or a hole saw bit. I think the hole saw bits are easier and faster to drill out the glass.
Make sure you always protect your eyes when drilling glass, so put on those safety goggles. This can also get messy, so you may want to cover your work surface with plastic or several layers of newspaper.
The hardest part to drilling glass is getting started. I find that if you start the drill first and then slowly place the drill bit against the glass where you want to drill the hole, that seems to work best. You may need a second person to help you hold the glass so you can steady the drill with both hands when you first get started. Once you have started the hole in the glass, pour a little water on the area to keep the glass and the drill bit cool. This is very important! Not only does the water keep everything cool so that the glass doesn't shatter, it prolongs the sharpness of the drill bit and makes drilling the glass a little easier.
Drilling the bottom of the mason jar is a little trickier. I found that to start the hole, it was easier to place the jar on it's side so that I could lay the drill on the table and then press the drill bit into the center of the bottom of the mason jar. The table really helped me to support the drill so that I could drill straight in without slipping too much. Once the hole was started, I stood the jar back up, bottom side up, poured a little water on the area I was drilling and then continued drilling the hole. Slow and steady is the name of the game here. When I felt that I was almost through the glass, I turned the jar back on it's side and finished drilling the hole. Turning the jar on it's side kept me from slamming the drill into the jar once the hole was completely drilled. No mater how careful I thought I was, once that glass gives way, it's hard to hold back on the drill so that it doesn't slam into the jar and break the whole bottom out.
Once your plate and jar are drilled, you need to wash off all the glass residue that is left behind. It will have a milky white appearance to it, but may be a different color depending on the color of glass you are drilling. Rinse everything well and allow it to dry or dry it with a lint free cloth.
Now you are ready to assemble your pieces. This is where some extra long needle nose pliers will really come in handy, especially since your hand will likely be too large to fit inside the standard mouth of a mason jar. Take your eye bolt and slip your plate or bowl on to it, then a rubber washer, then the mason jar and then another rubber washer. At this point you are ready to add your nut. Use the needle nose pliers to hold the nut, while you turn the eye bolt to tighten everything up. Don't over tighten, or you could shatter your mason jar. Now you can screw on the poultry feeder or waterer and you are done.
When you want to fill your feeder, simply turn the feeder upside down, unscrew the feeder base, add your seed to the jar and replace the feeder. Turn the whole thing right side up and hang in a tree or on a shepherds hook.
If you you don't want to use the waterer for water, it also makes a great thistle feeder.
If you find that your seed is still getting wet, you can replace the plate or bowl that you originally used with a wider one, or you could drill small holes for drainage in the base of the feeder.