Auto Doors and Young Birds

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by SadieSue, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. SadieSue

    SadieSue Songster

    Apr 19, 2010
    Tacoma, WA
    We are in the process of building our first coop for 6-8 hens and my husband has agreed to install an auto door as I leave town occasionally and then won't have to worry about everyone coming into roost safely and securing them at night. Coop will be 4X8 raised and enclosed in a fully roofed, hardware cloth enclosed 8X12 run.

    I have already ordered a Foy's auto door with solar sensor. We do not have any birds yet, but are just a couple of weeks away from finishing the coop. but I have a couple of pullets coming home from a show with me this weekend who will be living in a bunny hutch temporarily. My question is, do I need to train my birds to come in and out of the coop at the proper time? Obviously with the solar sensor the door would be opening and closing at dawn and dusk, but should I not set the door in the frame for the first few days until the birds get used to coming in and out on their own? I'm figuring once my builders get the framework screened in we'd let the birds come in and mill around with us while we complete work on the inside of the coop, but then they'll be coming back inside with us into the garage at night into the hutch, (I think).

    Any thoughts, ideas?
  2. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    Mine figured it out pretty well by themselved. Kept them in the coop for 2 weeks. No access to outside. Once they knew it was their home, they figured it out the first night. That is all the training I gave them.

    First steps outside.
  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Well, they'll learn to go OUT easily enough. [​IMG]

    Usually, I would lock them in the coop for a few days first, so they get settled in there and learn "this is home, this is safe, this is where we stay at night, and we sure would like to go somewhere else during the day."

    Then you activate the auto door (I have the same one) by putting the batteries in, and they will go in and out during the day once they are brave enough. You may have to round them up and put them inside the first few nights, but it won't take long for them to know they need to go inside before dark.
  4. CopperCT

    CopperCT Chirping

    Jan 12, 2011
    I also have the Foy's door opener with the light sensor. My birds never have had a problem with learning how it works. I locked them in for a week when they were pullets so they learned where to sleep and after that used the auto door. They go out in the morning and are in at night well before the door closes. The light sensor is pretty sensitive and the door doesn't close until it is quite dark. I only had an issue when I moved the sensor after I put a tarp on the roof before winter. It made the door close earlier than the chickens expected so about half of them got locked out the first night. I put them all back into the coop that night and the very next night they were all in before the door closed and have been getting in on time ever since. I always check to make sure no one is locked out but it has never been a problem except that one time when I moved the sensor. I love the Foy's auto door....great idea!!
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011

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