Automatic Chicken Door Question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by discoveregg, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. discoveregg

    discoveregg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 15, 2011
    Northern Idaho
    [​IMG] Hi all:

    I've been thinking about adding an automatic door to my coop, the set ups that use a timer to open and close the little door.
    Question: If a hen has to lay an egg during the day, how does she get back in to her nest box? [​IMG]
     
  2. fireguy56

    fireguy56 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi, Well in our case the door stays open all day long so the hens have access to come and go as they please. Our run is secure so not an issue that the door remains open all day. That is pretty much how everyone on BYC that uses an automatic door or some type has it set up. The controller I used is an Add A Motor($90.00) It has a switch on it that reverses the motor to let the door back down when it is energized again, after it does its initial opening movement. You use a simple timer to dictate when the motor recieves its electricity to raise the door, then off time, then another pre-set time to energize again which lets it lower the door, and another off time.....the whole cycle repeats itself according to the timer which you set. Hope that makes sense.
    If ya go to my page and scroll down through the pics, you can see my set up and maybe get alittle better understanding of how it works. I will try to shoot a video soon and post it on youtube, with a link on this site to access it. Good luck.
    Erik
     
  3. discoveregg

    discoveregg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] Thanks Erik. I think my situation may be a little different? My chickens all free range during the day, mostly in forested areas with some meadow and brush. I worry about rodents getting into the coop to feed on whatever leftovers they can find, if the door stays open. In other words, I don't have a chicken tractor or any other type of containment around the coop itself.

    Connie
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011
  4. fireguy56

    fireguy56 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Slidell, Louisiana
    Connie, Totally understand. Wish I had a suggestion to help but from what I have learned there is no way to do what you want. Hens lay throughout the day and depending on weather and other influences, may not lay at all. I can't see how you are gonna accomplish having a door that opens automatically via a timer, but gives you the security you're after. good luck. Let us know what you come up with, but I feel you may have to consider some type of containment near the coop for them.....then free range them only when you can physically be there to"Stand guard" for bad guys. Just my thoughts.
    Erik
     
  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I'm one of those wild and crazy people who lets her chickens free range during the day when she's at work. No supervision. The property is fenced, and MOST of the chickens stay inside the fence. (A couple have taken to sneaking out and laying eggs in a rosemary bush on the adjacent property, but within 2 feet of the fence. Then they come right back to their own yard.)

    The auto-door opens in the morning and closes at night. Everybody goes in and out as they please. The rest of the hens lay their eggs in the nest boxes provided for them.

    I do have a pair of Toulouse geese for a bit of flock protection, though.
     
  6. discoveregg

    discoveregg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Hi gryeyes! I was living in Sonora when you were making your big move to Somerset...followed your trials and tribulations [​IMG] Nice to see your posts again! Since that time I moved to Sandpoint ID...
    When you say the rest of your hens use the nest boxes provided for them, do you provide them a nest box outside as well, or do they only lay at night???

    My coop is located between the house and the county road that runs beside it. I have dogs that bark and that seems to have kept the predators away so far (dogs will occasionally chase a chicken but wont hurt 'em) [​IMG]
    We have every kind of predator you can think of here...
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011
  7. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Quote:Hi gryeyes! I was living in Sonora when you were making your big move to Somerset...followed your trials and tribulations [​IMG] Nice to see your posts again! Since that time I moved to Sandpoint ID...
    When you say the rest of your hens use the nest boxes provided for them, do you provide them a nest box outside as well, or do they only lay at night???

    My coop is located between the house and the county road that runs beside it. I have dogs that bark and that seems to have kept the predators away so far (dogs will occasionally chase a chicken but wont hurt 'em) [​IMG]
    We have every kind of predator you can think of here...

    No, they go into the coop as they please, all day long, to lay in the nest boxes in there. The auto-door is open all day, closing for the night and re-opening the next morning. It's on a timer. I actually prefer a different model which uses a light sensor instead of a timer to operate the door.. but it was out of stock when I needed a door NOW.

    I only feed in the coop, too. So the chickens wander in and out, all day long, to eat and/or lay their eggs.
     
  8. discoveregg

    discoveregg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 15, 2011
    Northern Idaho
    Quote:Hi gryeyes! I was living in Sonora when you were making your big move to Somerset...followed your trials and tribulations [​IMG] Nice to see your posts again! Since that time I moved to Sandpoint ID...
    When you say the rest of your hens use the nest boxes provided for them, do you provide them a nest box outside as well, or do they only lay at night???

    My coop is located between the house and the county road that runs beside it. I have dogs that bark and that seems to have kept the predators away so far (dogs will occasionally chase a chicken but wont hurt 'em) [​IMG]
    We have every kind of predator you can think of here...

    No, they go into the coop as they please, all day long, to lay in the nest boxes in there. The auto-door is open all day, closing for the night and re-opening the next morning. It's on a timer. I actually prefer a different model which uses a light sensor instead of a timer to operate the door.. but it was out of stock when I needed a door NOW.

    I only feed in the coop, too. So the chickens wander in and out, all day long, to eat and/or lay their eggs.

    Ok, got it. But have you tried this method when the temp drops and you get snow?? And you don't have any rodents getting into the feed when all the hens are out of the coop?
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011
  9. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Quote:Well..... I haven't lived where there is any snow. Apparently my Slice Of Heaven only gets a light dusting of snow about four times a year and it never lasts longer than two days. The elevation is 2100 feet. However, the coop up here is 22 x 17 feet, as it was once a garage without a front. Now it has all four sides. IF the flock gets stuck in there during snow days, they've got plenty of room. There's also a whole lot of permanent ventilation space, so I don't think chill of winter coming through the pop door would be all that deleterious.

    There has not yet been a day when ALL the chickens are out of the coop. There's somebody, sometimes quite a few somebodies, in the coop at various times of the day. If Red, or Bernadette, or Greta or any of a bunch of adolescent scaredy-cat chooks actually venture outside, it's not for very long. They're awfully happy in there.

    Feed is kept in hanging feeders, either from a cable attached to the rafters (two of those big feeders) and four others holding smaller quantities of feed attached to the walls at different heights to accommodate chicks, juveniles, bantam breeds, and lazy ol' birds who plop they bodies in front of a feeder to eat whilst ummm... seated. Or reclined.

    I use galvanized garbage cans to hold the bags o' feed.
     
  10. Doopy

    Doopy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 16, 2009
    Indiana, USA
    Hi discoveregg. I don't know of anyone that closes their pop door during the day. I have my homebrew automatic door set to open at about 60 minutes after dawn and to close 15 min. after dark. Luckily I have never locked a chicken out in the evening. Well, that's not entirely true - I have one hen who likes to roost in a tree overnight once in a while. Our chickens free range every day all year 'round.

    Barn cats are pretty good at keeping rodents under control but they soon become a problem themselves. They multiply like Mexicans and some will attack little chicks. Large snakes are very good at keeping the rodent problem under control but they also like to eat the chicken eggs. So, as you can see, it's sometimes a balancing act to make it all work out. My advice is to relax and let mother nature do her thing.
     

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