Automatic Pop Door Sensor

BigMatt

Hatching
7 Years
May 22, 2012
4
0
7
New Castle, IN
I am trying to wrap my head around automatic pop doors. I can't seem to decide what is the best choice - light sensor or timer. Since chickens don't wear watches,
I would think a light sensor would be better.

I am also trying to figure out what happens if a chicken gets left outside (in the run) with the door closed.

Any input would be appreciated.
 

The Lazy L

Songster
8 Years
Dec 16, 2011
874
329
216
Northern Indiana
Light Sensor or timer?

With a light sensor sun comes up door opens. Sun goes down, door closes. What happens on a dark stormy day? Door closes when the sun goes behind a storm cloud...opens when the sun peeps out...close aging when...chickens are running in and out like the Keystone cops?

Timer. You don't have to worry about stormy days. But Dawn and Dusk times change about 1 minute every day. So periodically you need to readjust the timer. Don't want to confuse the chickens by having the door open 5 minutes before dawn and have them face to face with a coon.

My solution was computerization! <Click Here>


What happens if the door closes before all the chicks are in? They spend the night outside of the coop and in my case in a secured chicken run.
 
Last edited:

Kjf18

Chirping
7 Years
Feb 26, 2012
107
7
81
Salt Lake City, Utah
My Coop
With a light sensor sun comes up door opens. Sun goes down, door closes.  What happens on a dark stormy day?  Door closes when the sun goes behind a storm cloud...opens when the sun peeps out...close aging when...chickens are running in and out like the Keystone cops?

. . .

What happens if the door closes before all the chicks are in?   They spend the night outside of the coop and in my case in a secured chicken run.
Any issue with clouds and a light sensor can be addressed by contolling the sensor's sensitivity. We have a Pullet-Shut door with a light sensor. It only closes the door when it has been sufficiently dark for a period of time. And, a couple of minutes after it closes, it reopens itself for a minute to let in any stragglers. We really like it.

If you want to use a timer, I suggest something like the Honeywell RPLS740B 7-Day Solar Time Table Programmable Switch, which you can find on Amazon. You program the date and time, together with your location (latitude and longitude). It calculates sunrise and sunset from that information, and can't be fooled by clouds or storms. I use one to control the light in our coop.

KJF
 

Tweakster

In the Brooder
7 Years
Feb 2, 2012
76
7
29
Garden Ridge, TX
IMHO:

Either will work well. I chose the timer because I'm a bit OCD, and want control over when the door opens and closes. Honestly, the light sensor does the exact same thing.

I've never had a hen locked out because of the automatic pop door. I set the timer to close the pop door 30 minutes after it gets dark and open it some time around dawn. I adjust the timer every month or so.

I let the hens free range quite a bit. One evening the wind blew the door to the run (NOT the pop door) closed and locked out all the hens. I usually check on them before heading to bed to close the door to the run and make sure everyone is accounted for, and found all the hens stacked up on a step ladder I had left next to the coop. If it had been daylight it would have made for a GREAT picture! I put them back in the coop, on a roost, and started using a brick to hold the run door open instead of a stick. All has been good ever since.

The automatic pop door keeps doing what it is supposed to do and the hens stay happy. I have a good measure of confidence the hens get closed off from predators each night. I also mosey out of the house on Saturday mornings to enjoy a cup of coffee on the back patio knowing the hens were let out on time, without my intervention. Life is good! Both the timer and the light sensor will get a person to that point. I really don't think there is a bad choice here. It kinda reminds me of: deep litter vs. shavings; crumbles vs. pellets; watering with nipples vs. cups; using 2x4s vs. branches for roosts; free range vs. cooped; poop board vs. poop hammock; and... and... you get the idea - choose one and make it work.

HTH!
 

theoldchick

The Chicken Whisperer
Premium Feather Member
May 11, 2010
30,162
9,191
737
We've just added an automatic pop-door to our coop. My concern was not the timer, but the power source. Disrupted power cause failure of the timer, so we are switching over to solar power with a digital timer. The door opens at 6:15 and closes at 8:15. Haven't had a chicken left out yet, as I know their routine. And if they did get left out the run is secure. However I've known other people who's birds simply roosted as close as possible to the coop or on top of it.
 

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