Auto doors, chicken curfews and vacations

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jokerone, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. jokerone

    jokerone In the Brooder

    Feb 24, 2014

    I'm looking into getting some backyard chickens. I have a few questions I'm not sure about.

    I've seen some automatic doors for coops and I'm not really sure if they work as advertised. All the videos online show the door opening, and the chickens heading out the door. I don't see anything videos of the chickens heading back into the coop at dusk?

    Do chickens go back in the coop to roost or on their own, or do they need human intervention?

    We are going on a vacation in July for a week. having someone come babysit the chickens would not be possible other than checking on them every few days, but it sounds like they are higher maintenance that that or am I wrong?

    I have a 5 foot fence around our large back yard, and we have two dogs (but the dogs will be at the kennel for the vacation), so I'm worried about Raccoons, which we have a lot of, Owls too. Thats why I want the chickens inside the coop at night.

    Again, I'm in the planning stage right now, so we may want to wait?

    Any advice?


  2. Nava

    Nava I Got The Naked Neck Blues

    Aug 2, 2009
    Ocala Fl
    they will need your help to be put to bed, but then they will do it on their own when they know the routine, they usually go to bed when it starts to get dark.

    i don't know about automatic doors i don't have them, i have lost more birds in their own pen, coons can put their little hands and put them out, at least the head.

    maybe make them a secure run so that they have plenty of room while you go on vacation, them let hem free range when you get back.
  3. jokerone

    jokerone In the Brooder

    Feb 24, 2014
    thanks. I have no problem training them, I was just worried they were UN-trainable. I know some people have taught their cat to use and flush the toilet. Ours uses a litter box.. [​IMG]

    If you have a secure run, is there a reason to shut the door at night?
  4. jeepguy982001

    jeepguy982001 Songster

    Oct 4, 2011
    athens, wv
    i have an auto coop door i forget which one but i ordered it from froy pigeon supplies. They usually take a about a week maybe a lil more then they'll go in no problem. Its probably been the best thing i've bought don't have to worry about letting them out first thing and don't have to worry about closing them up if i'm in town in the evening. It was easy to install and runs off 4 aa batteries. I put the energizer lithium ones in and its been working lil over a year on the same set.
  5. CindaLouWho

    CindaLouWho Chirping

    Feb 19, 2014
    Hesperia, CA
    I was told that when you bring your birds home, (I got mature hens) to leave them in the coop for several days before allowing them out to range. I did that, and all 5 faithfully return to the coop at dusk with absolutely no assistance from me.
    As the sun sets, they gradually move closer and closer to home, and then file in one by one. They don't have a very big attached run right now. It is only the area below the coop, about 4x8. So once they all go inside, I lock them in. They go up to the roost bars and preen and then sleep.
  6. chickkrzi

    chickkrzi Songster

    Dec 8, 2011
    Waco texas
    Have a auto door open/closing unit I bought 3 yrs ago for about $80. Took about 15 mins to install. But about 3 hrs to fix a sliding door. Have it set to open at 7 am, and close at 9pm. I do change it to close at 10 during summer. But don't change the opening. Hens will be on roost way before door closes so no problem there. But my ducks I have to chase them in. only had a few problem with it not opening or closing on time. But that was my fault most of the time. I did have problems when the power when out a few times. I think the most important thing to remember is, ALWAYS have food and water inside your coop just in case door fails to open. ALYWAYS check on your chicken daily, or have some do it for you when your gone. I try and remember to manually operate the door once a week to be sure it operates smoothly. I find it a God sent, and when this opener fails, I will buy another.
  7. jokerone

    jokerone In the Brooder

    Feb 24, 2014
    Sounds like a winner. I'm sure I can talk someone into to stopping by and checking on them. My wife is getting cold feet now about having them. she has to be on board, so I'll have to wait and see if she really wants them.

  8. pjomega

    pjomega In the Brooder

    Aug 15, 2012
    Rhode Island
    Definitely get the automatic door. I got mine from It works excellent, and they are great to deal with . Believe me , it comes in handy. When you go away , you don't need to have someone come over first thing in morning, and then back at night. It us the best purchase I've made for the chickens
  9. The Chickeneer

    The Chickeneer ~A Morning's Crow~

    When you first get them, keep them in the coop for at least a week, then they will return to the coop by themselves. Lots of places sell automatic doors, you can also make one yourself if your handy. I don't have one, I do it manualy and it gives me a chance to make sure they all got in and to collect the eggs. Sometimes, when it rains, the ducks like to stay outside and splash around, and won't go back in at night unless I make them.

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