Automatic chicken door training period

Bliss57

In the Brooder
Jul 11, 2021
13
29
39
Just installed the Happy Coop door yesterday. The problem is that the hens and especially the rooster are wary of the change in doors. Yesterday they came out but were too afraid to go back in. Today they just won’t come out. Has anyone else experienced this? If so, how long does it take for them to get used to using it?
 

Swbertrand1

Crowing
Apr 21, 2018
1,130
1,550
271
Wilmington, NC
Yes, we've experienced this to a degree, but our chickens' curiosity always seems to override their fear of things new....... for better or worse, right?

If you can, operate the doors manually for a few days, maybe a week or so, they should get used to the new door and you'll see a different result. It might be the sounds of the motors that scare them.

Does this automatic door have an "auto-reverse" feature (like a garage door) if it closes with something in the opening? If so, great. If not, be sure the door ONLY goes down or closed while the chickens can see it moving and see to get out of the way of the door.
 

Bliss57

In the Brooder
Jul 11, 2021
13
29
39
Apparently my chickens aren’t as curious as yours! They will only do what the rooster deems to be ok. There is a manual button, but it only will stay closed or open for 3 minutes that way. I’m hoping that they will get tired of hanging out in the barn and the will to go outside will prevail. I know I need to give it time, but it’s frustrating
 

bill3607

Crossing the Road
Aug 24, 2020
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37,670
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Alabama
They should get used to it after a few days more or less.

Chickens do like change, but they will adapt. You may can speed it up a bit if you can pick them up and manually put them through the door a couple times or so if necessary so that they see it as safe.
 

Bliss57

In the Brooder
Jul 11, 2021
13
29
39
Unfortunately the rooster prevents me from doing that. He gets riled up if he feels like his hens are in danger. He is a little over a year old and has challenged my husband and I a few times. I am having a house sitter come over in a couple of weeks, so I really hope this door works out. I greatly appreciate your advice and will give it a week or so before I give up on it. Wish me luck!
 

Swbertrand1

Crowing
Apr 21, 2018
1,130
1,550
271
Wilmington, NC
There is a manual button, but it only will stay closed or open for 3 minutes that way.

I'd remove the electronic aspect from the equation. Disconnect the door from the arm or actuator that moves it, then move the door manually yourself (don't rely on the manual button).
It could be the sound of the motor that's alerting him, or it could be the visual of the different looking door. I really think that if you take the sound and automation out of the equation and give them time to get used to the new look, they'll adapt to it pretty quickly.
EDIT: sorry, didn't finish this comment yesterday.... :)
 
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Bliss57

In the Brooder
Jul 11, 2021
13
29
39
Not sure how to disconnect the door, I will ask my husband if he will take a look at it and see if we can try that.
 

perkolator

Songster
Aug 20, 2019
532
1,340
216
Placer County, CA
My Coop
My Coop
When I installed our auto door the chickens were hesitant....until I tossed a handful of BSF grubs on the other side, then they were fighting to get through it. My chickens can ALWAYS be bribed with treats ;)

Haven't noticed any issues with them using the door at night - however in the mornings I've seen all of them inside the coop as if the door was closed - nope, it's open, they're just dumb and once one goes through all of them will, lol
 

bill3607

Crossing the Road
Aug 24, 2020
4,796
37,670
888
Alabama
When I installed our auto door the chickens were hesitant....until I tossed a handful of BSF grubs on the other side, then they were fighting to get through it. My chickens can ALWAYS be bribed with treats ;)

Haven't noticed any issues with them using the door at night - however in the mornings I've seen all of them inside the coop as if the door was closed - nope, it's open, they're just dumb and once one goes through all of them will, lol
I am not sure that is dumb, though. I think it is probably that not one of them really wants to be first, because there may be a chicken eater out there lol

I mean everything wants to eat chicken and they seem to know it.
 

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