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Automatic doors for chicken coops are the way to go let me tell ya!
“We’ve got to be home by 9 pm at the latest so we can close the chicken coop door”… I can not tell you how many times I said that over the years before we got an automatic chicken coop door for our coop.
It was even more aggravating in the winter to be cozied up in bed and to look out the window (which has a perfect view of the coop) to see the door still wide open. Then h ave to get out from under the warm covers, pull on enough clothes to tolerate running outside, and unhook the loop of string off the fence post that worked like a pully we had rigged up to hold the door open during the day.
Only to come back out in the morning to do it again. So why bother going through all that hassle?
Protecting your chickens from predators and other dangers is part of being a chicken raiser. And dusk is THE MOST likely time you will have a predator creep into your coop and help himself to a bedtime snack.
An automatic coop door for your chicken coop is an easy way to ensure that your birds are safe and secure at all times with no more rushing home at night hoping you made it before the local raccoons realize your mistake. It gives you peace of mind while you are away knowing that your coop is closed up tight.
Here are seven important tips to keep in mind when looking for an automated door for your chicken coop.
Know What Kinds of Animals You’re Protecting Against
Before you shop for an automatic door, make sure you understand what kinds of predators pose a risk to your flock.
Knowing the type of predator will help you decide which kind of automatic door is best suited to protect your chickens. For example, if raccoons or foxes are the main threats in your area, consider a rolling shutter or tilt-up door with latch options that can be used to strengthen it against these critters.
The Structure Of Your Coop Door Opening
I wish I could say that installing an automatic chicken door to your coop was as simple as popping it on. Or using a few screws here and there. But most likely it’s not.
When shopping for an automatic door for your chicken coop, it’s important to look into the different types of automated doors available.
You also need to take into consideration the inner frame of your chicken coop and make sure that you can do some modifications yourself to make it fit. Nothing is going to be a supper simple installation job.
Consider Different Opening Mechanisms
Automatic doors can have a variety of opening mechanisms, so consider which one will best fit the design of your chicken coop.
The most common types are sliding doors, tilt-up doors, and rolling shutters. Sliding doors open vertically, while tilt-up and rolling shutters open horizontally. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, sliding doors may be easier to install than rollers because they require less support structure.
However, rollers offer more security than sliding or tilting options since they form an impenetrable barrier when closed.
Open And Close Sensors
There are several different options when it comes to choosing how or when your chicken coop door decides to close.
You could have a light sensor and it will open and close at a certain point of dawn and dusk. I didn’t like this option because it left you at the mercy of the light sensor instead of a certain time of day. What happens on the days when the light levels are low because of a rainy day? Will it stay closed because of the lack of light? Who knows.
So maybe I am a control freak but I could just see a ton of issues happening with this option.
We went with the one that is operated by a timer and you choose when it opens and closes. The other bonus is it has a keychain-size clicker where you can open and close the door from the house if something doesn’t operate correctly.
Warning – If your coop door doesn’t have power it will not open or close. So it is best to only install an automatic door if you have a second way for the chickens to get out.
There are several with battery backups so if you are willing to make the investment I would defiantly recommend that.
Determine If Power Source After Dark Is Necessary For Your Area.
When shopping for an automatic door, you need to think about the lighting and power sources close by and where the chicken coop itself is located.
Power Cords – This is going to be the best option if the coop is close enough to your house or garage. If something breaks or quits working you are not going to have to buy a whole new door. You just replace the power cord. But there is one drawback to this. You can only go so far with it.
We have a 100-foot-long outdoor exception cord running from the coop to the house. Thankfully the cord does not go across a high-trafficked area of the yard or we would be catching our feet on it all the time.
That is the max distance I would run a cord to the coop. So if your chicken coop is a lot further away you are going to have to choose some other power source.
Sollar pannels are a great option for stand-lone coops that are nowhere near and electrical outlet. But for us, the chicken coop is under a shade tree and the solar panels would not be getting all that much light. Could it have worked? Maybe. But it’s not worth that kind of gable when you are making such an investment.
Battery Powered – 9volt, D, or AA Batteries are pretty expensive but if that is your only option you are going to have to decide if it is worth the hassle.
Automatic Chicken Coop Door Review – Which Is the Best Automatic Chicken Coop Door?
Here are my recommended automatic chicken coop door openers based on individual needs.
Before you choose which one you want to go with you need to take a picture of the internal structure of your coop and door frame so you know what type of complete kit to get. Also, make sure the size is big enough for your larger breeds of poultry. Some doors can be quite small. You want to have an easy installation process when adding this to your chicken house.
You will find the automatic coop door that week purchased at the bottom of this list but I also wanted to show some of the best options I found with different key features because everyone’s situation is different.
All of these have been selected because they have a 4 star or above rating with the most reviews.
A Complete Door Kit
This one is very similar to the coop door that we have and I would highly recommend it.
My favorite features are:
- The control box is on the outside of the coop so I don’t have to get inside the coop to adjust the times.
- I can set the door to open and close at specific times with the programmable timer.
- It has a remote control that I can use to open and close the doors when the time is off due to a power outage.
- It has an aluminum door and frame so it won’t rust but it is also safer against predators than a plastic door.
- A security light sensor so if a chicken is standing in the doorway it won’t keep coming down on top of them. (you know during the summer nights there are always those last-minute lollygaggers when letting them out free range)
Cons Of This Automatic Chicken Coop Door Opener
- It doesn’t have a battery backup in case of a power outage..
We have not had many issues with it except the door did get stuck in the ice once but that was in some pretty extreme conditions.
Automatic Chicken Door Coop Opener Kit with Safety Mechanism
Over 900 reviews and an overall review score of 4.4
This door is perfect for people who need a little more flexibility in where you can put the operating mechanisms in your coop.
A Solar Powered Door
There are a lot fewer options for solar power coop doors but this one defiantly wins the prize for the most purchases and reviews.
FarmLite Automatic Sollar Power Chicken Coop Door
Over 200 reviews and an overall review score of 4.5
This is the best one I could find with the top reviews. By far the best quality product.
Battery Power Supply
This door has some great features and claims to have a 1-year battery life on just two AA batteries.
It is waterproof and has a warning light for battery power levels. You can use it to open at a certen time, a light cerncer mode for dawn and dusk opening as well as manual mode.
RUN-CHICKEN Automatic Chicken Coop Door
Over 1900 reviews and an overall review score of 4.3
This door would be ideal for someone with a coop that is far away from a power outlet or in trees where sunlight is limited and solar power wouldn’t be reliable.
They are all essentially self locking because they can not be opened unless the timer has reached the opening time or you use a remote control to open the door.
FAQs about cheesecloth
Can You Leave the Automatic Chicken Coop Door Open Overnight?
Leaving the automatic chicken coop door open overnight can be risky. If your coop is not fully enclosed, then coons or other predators can easily sneak in and kill your chickens. Even if it is fully enclosed, there are still risks associated with leaving the door open all night.
But if for some reason you want to leave an automatic door open overnight because you are going to be away for the night and coming back later in the day the best way to do this is to remove the power source whether that is battery power or something else. So the door opener doesn’t get dripped. Ultimately, it’s up to you as the owner of the flock to decide whether or not it’s safe enough for you to leave the door open overnight.
Can You Use an Automatic Chicken Coop Door in Winter?
Yes, yes, yes!!! This is when it is going to be a lifesaver for you and your hens. This type of door is designed to be weather-proof and can withstand freezing temperatures up to -15 degrees Celcius or 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you have frequent power outages a battery-operated door might be a good choice so you are not having to find a way to open and close the door without power. Or having to leave the coop door open.
However, there is a chance that the door might freeze shut if snow and ice accumulate in its grooves. To prevent this from happening, you should regularly clean the grooves of the door and make sure it’s free from any snow or ice buildup.
Pro tip: You can use some windshield washer de-icer fluid in a spray bottle to get the door open if you really need to. Just make sure to only use it on the sides of the door and not to soak where the chickens might eat fluid-soaked bedding.
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