Automatic coop door anyone?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Liamm_1, Oct 19, 2010.

  1. Liamm_1

    Liamm_1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Does anyone have or had an automatic coop door. The type with a light sensor, opens a few mins. after sunrise, closes a few mins. after sunset...
    At first I laughed at the idea of paying $250 or whatever it is, but now after reading a story of a raccoon attack not long after sunset, it has me thinking twice. At times, I'll return home after sunset, and I'm worried until I get back and shut the small coop door.
    One question I have is this: these doors, and others, are slide up doors. Is a raccoon smart enough to slide the door up and get inside?
    I've been screwing mine shut each night for security.
     
  2. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    This is the type of door we have and it works great. Sometimes emergencies happen and it's nice for the chickens to be safely locked up. For extra safety, ours is installed on the inside of the coop. There is a sill that it rests on inside, just below the opening. From the outside, there is no cord that can be pulled on or bottom edge of the door that could be pried up.
     
  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I have one and LOVE it. It's an inside installation, and it uses batteries, so no need for electricity running out to the coop. I don't have to reset it for seasonal changes (like one would with a timer instead of a light sensor) and the ONLY thing I've had to do is prune back the really leafy branches that were making it dimmer by the coop door.

    With the change in daylight hours, I'm soon going to be at work before the chickens are let outside by the auto door, as well as back in, roosting, before I get home. I'll only get to see 'em outside on the weekends. [​IMG]
     
  4. Bandera Grassland

    Bandera Grassland Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I recently installed an automatic door that operates with a drapery motor that raises and lowers the door timed by a lamp timer, which I can program for whatever time I like. It has been in for less than a week and the chickens are still adjusting to it. They have all figured out how to go out, but only about half have grasped the concept of going back in at dark. The rest are still going to the old window I used to leave open. When they can't get in, they nestle on the ground next to the coop. For the last several nights I have had to go out and pick up each one and place them in through the new door so they get the hang of it. Had I installed it at ground level they would have figured it out immediately. We have many feral hogs that come up even in the daytime. So far they have not bothered the chickens, but go snooping around for spilled chicken feed. I knew I could not install the door at the ground or I would have pigs in the coop. Instead I installed it as a window. The opening is much smaller than what my chickens were accustomed to, so it is taking a little while to adjust.

    The model I bought (available on eBay) really is way overpriced for what it is, but it works great and installed quickly. The lightweight door simply slides down and rests on the frame. A clever raccoon could pry it up with his nimble little fingers and enter the coop. To prevent this, I added a piece of trim on the outside that protrudes above the base of the door so a naughty coon can't get his fingers under it. I'm painting the coop right now and find new hand prints every morning, so I know they are trying. [​IMG]
    What I don't like about this design is there is not a secure bar that keeps the door from sliding up (like a garage door opener). I wish someone would make a more secure design. This design also does not have any type of safety feature that pulls it back up if something is in the way (like a garage door opener). Yesterday evening the door came to rest on the back of one of my hens as she was entering the window. She just flattened herself out and sat there. The door is not heavy enough to crush her, but she was trapped. The Randall Burkey Company in Boerne will be marketing a new design with a stronger motor and more secure locking system. Unfortunately, it has not made it on the market yet and I couldn't wait. This new design is powered by a 12v battery with a solar charger so you don't need to worry about your timer going wonky if the power goes out. The door has a reopen feature when it closes to reopen for a set time for any chickens that didn't make it in on time. The door closes securely against a couple of bolts and cannot be forced in or pulled open. Unfortunately the door swings out which is a problem in my situation where my chicken coop is in my cattle pens. The cows could rub on the door jutting out from the building and damage it. I would need to build a half wall for the door to open against to protect it from being knocked off.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2010
  5. sovia

    sovia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We bought one a few years ago from Foy's and LOVE it! Yes, it was expensive, but the thing has more than paid for itself. Our only complaint is that it is currently operating on a daylight sensor which is not that easy to adjust. It opens a little too early and closes a little too late. I just bit the bullet and ordered the timer.

    We have the metal sliding door mounted on the inside. There is no way a raccoon could open it.
     
  6. Debbi

    Debbi Overrun With Chickens

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    I guess I'm a control freak. I like to see for myself the coop/run is free of anything not meant to be there, and that all chooks are safely inside. Batteries die, power goes out, I keep on trucking! [​IMG] If I'm going somewhere and know I won't be back till after dark, I make sure to turn on the electric fence surrounding the run. It's solar powered with a battery back-up. JMHO
     
  7. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Oh, I still do a head count! Also, not all of my coops have an auto door.... so I worry about the time period in the late fall and winter when it gets dark before I get home from work. (It's already dark when I LEAVE for work!)
     
  8. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey, would you guys mind giving a link or two about what type of door you're using? I've been planning some retrofit and it just seems like the way to go.
     
  9. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ah, the electric fence, a good backup plan!!
     
  10. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    We check them on the web cam at night, to make sure they're all tucked in. [​IMG]
     

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