12 5-Gallon Bucket Projects for the Homestead
If you have been around here long, then you know that I am a huge fan of reusing, repurposing, and making do around my home and homestead. There is one specific item that I reuse more than any other and that is the 5-gallon bucket. Today I am going to share 12 of my favrite 5-gallon bucket projects that you can do on your own homestead!
12 Easy 5-Gallon Bucket Projects for Homesteaders
5-Gallon buckets lend themselves to many different uses around the homestead. They are perfect for carrying feed and water to animals, holding garden tools, and storing pretty much anything. Let’s get into my favorite bucket projects that take these uses a step further.
1. Bucket Compost Bin
If you have a 5-gallon bucket lying around, then this DIY compost bin will essentially cost you nothing. Even if you don’t already have a bucket, you can purchase one for a couple of dollars from a local farm or hardware store.
This is an easy way to reduce waste and make garden compost in small spaces. Simply drill small holes in the bottom of the buckets and start tossing your food scraps in.
View the full DIY Bucket Compost Bin tutorial here
2. Bucket Nest Boxes
5-gallon buckets make great nesting boxes for chickens. I use four buckets in my chicken coop and my girls love them. To make a bucket nest box, turn the bucket on its side and secure it where you want it.
I used to have mine screwed into a small coffee table in the coop, but I like to be able to pick them up and scoop them out daily. I removed the screw and made sure that they won’t roll around by pushing them together tightly.
Read the full DIY Bucket Nest Box Tutorial here.
3. 5-Gallon Bucket Chicken Feeder
This is one of the most recent (and most favorite) 5-gallon bucket projects that I have completed. You can make a simple DIY chicken feeder with a 5-gallon bucket in a couple of ways. One way is to cut 3-4 holes in the lower portion of the bucket and insert PVC elbows. This allows the chickens to poke their heads in to eat without spilling as much.
I tried that method and decided against it for a few reasons→ #1 Mice and other critters can easily enter the bucket. #2 PVC is expensive #3 Only a few chickens can eat at a time.
Instead, I drill smaller holes in the lower part of the bucket about 2-3” apart and place it in a metal feed pan. The feed dispenses into the pan as needed. Since the holes are 1-2”, mice can’t get in and more birds can eat at once because feed comes out all the way around the bucket.
Read the DIY 5-Gallon bucket chicken feeder tutorial here.
4. Gravity-Fed Bucket Rabbit Water System
You can use a 5-gallon bucket to make a rabbit nipple watering system. Drill 4 small holes (the size to match the barb adapter tee) in the bottom of the sides of the bucket…One hole on each “side”.
Add the nipples to the tube and attach to the cage. Make sure that the bucket is set higher than the nipples so the water will flow down.
Find the full tutorial in Polyface Designs by Joel Salatin.
5. Bucket Chicken Water System
A gravity-fed chicken watering system can be set up the same way as the rabbit water system. You will just need to buy poultry water nipples. The bucket can be placed on top of a meat bird tractor with nipples attached to the hardware cloth for simple low-maintenance watering.
6. Long-Term Food Storage in a 5-Gallon Bucket
Using buckets for food storage ts is a great way to move closer to food security. To do this, you will want to use food-grade buckets (I like the white buckets with tight locking lids) and place thick mylar bags inside of the bucket.
7. DIY Bucket Garden Seat
This bucket project is so simple and functional! Flip a 5-gallon bucket upside down and sew a cute little cushion to pop on top and you have a sweet garden seat!
Watch this video to see the step-by-step tutorial.
8. Three-Tier Bucket Worm Compost Bin
You can even use buckets to make a 3-tier worm composting system! Start with two buckets (top with drainage holes, bottom without) stacked.
The top bucket hosts the worms and food scraps. Your worms will turn these scraps into black gold for your garden. Once the compost/castings are ready, add the third bucket with holes on top. Add food scraps and the worms will move up. Then you can harvest the compost and the compost tea (found in the bottom bucket).
You can get red wiggler worms for composting at Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm!
9. Bucket Container Garden
Another way to repurpose 5-gallon buckets is container gardening! Drill drain holes in the bottom of the buckets, fill them with soil, plant, water, and harvest!
You can grow almost anything in a bucket garden- root vegetables, leafy greens, brassicas, herbs, berries, and even young trees!
Read this post for a full bucket garden tutorial.
10. Strawberry Tower Bucket Project
Interested in growing strawberries vertically, but aren’t ready to take the leap to a GreenStalk Garden Tower? No worries! Take 2-3 buckets and cut the bottoms off. Flip the bottom one upside down and fit them together bottom to bottom. Cut 2” holes around the buckets (scattered, but leave about 3-4” between them).
Line the buckets with burlap or landscape fabric to keep the soil from falling out of the holes. Fill with soil, plant strawberry starts in each hole, and *bam* you have a strawberry planter!
Read this post for a full tutorial on this strawberry tower.
11. Catch Mice with a 5-Gallon Bucket
Have a mouse problem around your home or farm? Make a DIY Bucket Mouse Trap! You will need a bucket, a straightened-out clothes hanger, and a can, jar, or paper towel roll.
Drill a hole big enough for the clothes hanger on each side at the top of a bucket (straight across from each other). Stick the clothes hanger through the first hole. Then thread a jar, can, or paper towel roll onto it. Be sure to add a ramp so the mice can climb up the bucket, but not out. Cover the jar/can/roll with peanut butter and wait.
12. Scrap Bucket
And one last simple way to reuse a 5-gallon bucket is to make a scrap bucket! I have a bucket sitting outside my backdoor where I toss scraps for my chickens. You can also do this with compost items. Just be sure to place a lid on it so you don’t tempt wild animals to venture up to your porch.