Automatic Chicken Coop Door: Old-Time, Morning-Only Design

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by RobertPlamondon, Jul 12, 2016.

  1. RobertPlamondon

    RobertPlamondon Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 14, 2016
    Oregon
    I once came across a no-electricity automatic chicken coop door that opened the door in the morning, but you have to close it yourself at night.

    How did it work? It used a wind-up alarm clock. With this kind of clock, the winding key spins several times when the alarm goes off. So if you attach a pulley or spool to the key, when the alarm goes off, it turns the spool. Attach a string to the spool, and the alarm mechanism winds up the string, lifting a door.

    You come back in the evening to wind up the clock and let down the door.

    I've never tried this one, but to my way of thinking, it punts on the hard part of the problem (closing the door at the right time), while satisfying the most important part: letting the chickens out at the crack of dawn while you sleep in. I like chickens, but not the the point of wanting to get up early for them.

    Robert
     
  2. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 18, 2016
    Missouri
    Robert......good to see you are posting and participating. Been a follower or your website for a while now. Also built an adaption of the Woods colony house. Mine is 8' x 12' and seems to be working as advertised. Thanks for publishing that.

    I'm an early riser, and am sometimes up before dawn, but still wait about half an hour or so after first light to let the birds out.......light enough I can take a good look around. Birds are usually waiting by the door, but coons and other varmints have usually gone home by then. For a while, I could count on the birds going to roost within a few minutes of my dusk to dawn light coming on. Uncanny how good they were at detecting the level of waning light. But lately, they have been tardy, missing the last call by 5 to 10 minutes or more. That made me wonder if an automatic door might close and shut somebody out. Would hate to see that happen. So for now, I would not be using an automatic door if I had one.

    PS: I have been running a 2 wire electric fence around a patch of sweet corn to keep the raccoons out. This is similar to your one wire design, with wires at 5 and 10 inches. It has been up about 3 weeks now, with no breaches to date. So far, so good. If such a setup will work for sweet corn, it should also work to protect the birds.
     
  3. RobertPlamondon

    RobertPlamondon Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 14, 2016
    Oregon
    Yes, the morning part is the easy part. There's a "no chicken left behind" problem in the evening, or can be. My hens like to stay out until it's pretty dark, plenty dark enough for raccoons to be out and hunting. So there's a danger period in the evening (at least for my flock) that a timer can't fix. That's what pushed me towards electric perimeter fencing instead of doors on the houses. But if you're gonna do doors, the alarm-clock idea is at least amusing, and takes away half the work.

    I've been pretty happy with my 1-wire and 2-wire electric fences, as discussed in my fencing FAQ. They're a nuisance in some ways, and aren't a 100% fix, but they work as well as many other solutions that are much more difficult and expensive to maintain.

    Good luck with your sweet corn!

    Robert
     

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