Non-electric "automatic" pop door

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by BuckeyeOT, Nov 11, 2016.

  1. BuckeyeOT

    BuckeyeOT New Egg

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    Nov 11, 2016
    Hi everyone. I'm new to having chickens, so I have lots of questions. I would like to have some sort of "automatic" pop door on our coop, however there is no option for electricity to our coop and I need the system to cost me very little $ - I spent way too much on the coop construction. [​IMG] I've seen several options for "chicken operated" doors that use a pulley system using the weight of the chickens on the roost to close the door. This one was the most interesting to me - has anyone successfully used a system similar to this? If so, what are the pros and cons? I'm worried about shutting a chicken out of the coop at night or decapitating a chicken - I have one that refuses to join the others on the roost and she also likes to perch in the door if I don't get it closed early enough. Thanks!
    [​IMG]
     
  2. bjwilber

    bjwilber New Egg

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    I don't know about the system you've described. I have a Poultry Butler door system. It can run off of electricity, solar or battery. Not cheap, but sooo awesome. Just set the timer or the solar sensor and forget it. Best investment I've made.
     
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  3. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Hey BuckeyeOT Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    I confess to not having used a similar system so definitely not an expert but I have researched it in the past.

    I too would question the reliability and believe that you would still need to check each evening and morning that the system has worked and if you are doing that, you might as well let them out and close them in yourself?

    If I understand it correctly, the door will not close until the last chicken has jumped up. If a couple of your chickens decide to roost outside or even worse, do not return to the coop for whatever reason, the door then remains open and if your run [if you have one] is not predator proof, your whole flock is susceptible to predators?

    With the opening, does it not open until the very last chicken has jumped off the roost or is it a gradual opening as each chicken jumps off? If an outside predator or something else causes your chickens to freak out during the night and possibly jump off the roost, is the door going to open? Or, what if sadly one of your chickens passes away during the night and literally falls off the roost, does the door open slightly?

    Tweaking it just right would probably be time consuming in the first instance but not too bad if you could then leave it at that. But, what if you have growing pullets who are getting heavier or changes in the flock, tweaking it might become more of a hassle?

    Sorry, I have asked more questions than I have answered but I do find the whole concept quite interesting and clever and basically I am subscribing because I too would like to know what others think.
     
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  4. BuckeyeOT

    BuckeyeOT New Egg

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    Teila, I think I have all the same questions you do! [​IMG] I do have an enclosed run, but we have enough wildlife around us that I'm uncomfortable leaving the coop open at night. Hopefully someone has some experience with something like this because I really like the thought of something non-electric. [​IMG]
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    I have seen one, maybe two, of those on here in the past...one had a video of it working.
    Don't recall if they worked out in the long run.

    Not sure if I have much faith in any 'auto' door....have read of many variables and problems with them.
    But I don't need one(retired hermit) so....I just do it all manually and like the hands and eyes on in realtime technique.
     
    2 people like this.
  6. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    There is a video on the internet of a fox breaking into the chicken run during the night.

    It is interesting to watch how the fox climbed a tree and broke in through the top of the run but also sad in that the automatic chicken door had closed and left one chicken sleeping out in the run, the fox did not take long to find and kill her.

    However, the fox was then also trapped in the run. It is not entirely clear on the video at what time he got out and how, but imagine the automatic coop door opening while the fox was still trapped.

    Like aart while not retired, I am lucky that I work from home and that I am able to make sure that all my gals are tucked up safe, head count etc as opposed to relying on something automatic.

    I understand that some people do not have that luxury and automatic is definitely then an improvement on being locked in the coop for long periods or spending the evening susceptible to predators.
     
  7. BuckeyeOT

    BuckeyeOT New Egg

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    [​IMG] Teila, that would be my concern with relying on something automatic too. I currently stay at home with our younger kids and 90% of the time, we are home in the evenings to shut the door right away (they are always in their enclosed run in the evenings or the "chicken tractor" during the day due to issues with hawks, so even if we aren't home right away, they're still pretty safe), but most mornings, I get busy getting kids ready for school and the chickens get let out later than they would prefer. I was hoping to come up with an inexpensive option for them to be able to come and go from the coop whenever they wake/sunrise, but it seems like my ladies might just have to learn a bit of patience and wait for me to let them in and out. [​IMG]
     

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