Alright smart people. I have 8 chickens and one dog. I have one deck, level with the yard (one small step down) that I DO NOT want the chickens to have access to, because let's face it, they crap a lot and it's gross to have a deck full of poo. Also, they peck the paint off the wooden siding. There is an 8ft gap in the deck railing that allows people, chickens, and the dog to go into and out of the yard. Can anyone think of a system that will allow the dog to go out into the yard, but keep the chickens OFF the deck. Of course I mean something that I don't have to be present to operate. Of course I could put up a gate, but the dog, lacking thumbs, would not be able to open it. Unless it were weighted, like the gates at Colonial Williamsburg...hm, I may be onto something...she is a smart dog, I could teach her (and the kids) to push open a gate that is not latched, but weighted to swing closed (gently, no point in squashing anyone here). The chickens would not be strong enough. Any thoughts and ideas are welcome!