A word of warning....

duck55

Chirping
7 Years
Oct 16, 2012
71
19
94
Just a heads up to the people with automatic doors on their coops. Please check all your chickens are inside as the nights draw in. Here in the UK the days are getting rapidly shorter and on Saturday four of our flock were still out when the door closed due to the failing light. Unfortunately a fox (assumed) came in the night and we lost all four birds. Feathers inside and outside the pen were the first signs the next day. We are now monitoring the birds until they get used to the shorter days. One was outside on Sunday after the door closed, but yesterday they were all in.
 

Shezadandy

Crowing
5 Years
Sep 26, 2015
2,391
3,094
397
Portland OR
Just a heads up to the people with automatic doors on their coops. Please check all your chickens are inside as the nights draw in. Here in the UK the days are getting rapidly shorter and on Saturday four of our flock were still out when the door closed due to the failing light. Unfortunately a fox (assumed) came in the night and we lost all four birds. Feathers inside and outside the pen were the first signs the next day. We are now monitoring the birds until they get used to the shorter days. One was outside on Sunday after the door closed, but yesterday they were all in.

I'm so sorry for your loss!

For those reading this that are planning automatic doors- there are doors with "second chance" features. You can program the door to open a second time for a couple of minutes to let any stragglers in, and close back up- a very useful feature.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
17,099
33,594
1,062
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
Very sorry for your loss, but hopefully your warnings will help other keepers.

I chose an auto door with a timer rather than light sensor, as we get periods of gloom that could possibly trigger a door to close plus my run is well shaded. So I err slightly on the side of having it close late. We also have a coop cam plus hubby goes out after dark to pick up the feeder, so that way we can ensure everyone's in the coop at night.
 

trudyg

Songster
8 Years
Jun 3, 2013
911
705
231
North Alabama
Mine beeps before it closes. You can see them come running when it does. But I still watch to make sure. I've had a cockerel managing to get out of the run (flying) and so I go out and count heads. He's off to camp in a few weeks.
 

Shezadandy

Crowing
5 Years
Sep 26, 2015
2,391
3,094
397
Portland OR
I wouldn't ever trust an autodoor, would have to check it morning and night,
so may as well just open/close them myself. Luckily I am able to do so.

LOL My poor chickens would be stuck inside a lot. NOT an early riser over here. :oops: But, they go into a secured pen and the ramp is checked every night for any that didn't get in on time. Since switching to the second chance model, I haven't had to carry anyone in, a welcome change.
 

Cindy in PA

Crowing
13 Years
Jul 8, 2008
2,767
1,148
421
Fleetwood, PA
I've had my auto door 4 years & have only had a few times when anyone was caught outside. The present group of pullets have gotten caught out once, a few weeks ago. Mine automatically adjusts to sunrise & sunset. I did notice that several have waited for the 2nd call this week. I do check every night when I am home, bit it is peace of mind when I go away for the weekend & would normally have to leave them open the whole time.
 

MANNA-PRO

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