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Pop door safety

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Reinbeau, Nov 3, 2008.

  1. Reinbeau

    Reinbeau The Teapot Underground Premium Member

    Hubby made a sliding pop door for the coop - it slides up and down on the inside of the coop. There's a 1.5" lip on the outside of the coop the door slides down into/behind, but litter can get in the way so it doesn't go down the full distance. Can raccoons jimmy that up? I was thinking of covering the outside of the door with aluminum flashing - it worked great for the top of the nest box, they can't land or sit on it now, it's slanted and they can't get a grip. I'm thinking the same thing would apply with that door. It's just a piece of plywood, 10x13, so it isn't that heavy. Thoughts?

  2. Hmmm,

    - 1.5" lip that may get gummed up with litter so it doesn't go down the full distance.

    - Just a piece of 10x13 plywood that isn't that heavy.

    - Worried about predators with thumbs. [​IMG]

    Each run/coop's security is only as good as its weakest link. I think you are tempting fate.

    You are going to need some sort of locking system to stop them from sliding that door up and helping themselves. I was never able to come up with a sliding door design to do this without defeating the purpose of me having a slider (just raise and lower the rope, right?).

    If you otherwise like the idea of a slider I would figure out a way to put some type of hardware that would beef up the security. Even something as simple as a sturdy pair of hook & eye locks mounted on the inside would be better than nothing.

  3. purr

    purr Songster

    Apr 30, 2008
    east freetown, ma
    I have the same set up and when I was using shavings I would have to clean where the door sits into. Now that I'm using hay for winter I don't have this problem. Once the door is in place it is secure I have thumbs and believe me I tried to get it open and there was no way.l this is my setup
  4. purr

    purr Songster

    Apr 30, 2008
    east freetown, ma
    note to self chickens will eat styrofoam insulation
  5. Reinbeau

    Reinbeau The Teapot Underground Premium Member

    Right now I do use a nail in a hole above the door, it can't be raised from the outside. My thoughts are I want to install an automatic opener/closer, the closer part is what I'm concerned with, that way I can safely come home after dark, the door will be closed, and then I'll latch it - my problem is now that the winter dark is here, I'm frequently out teaching mat classes anywhere from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, so I'm not home to close that door, which means I can't let them out in the afternoon as I have been. I'm trying to come up with a workable system. I think I will cover it with flashing as a bit of added security, they can't get a grasp of the wood that way to lift it up.....the pop door goes out to a secure run, but how secure is any run with a determined critter eying dinner? I'm just trying to be extra cautious.
  6. Portia

    Portia Songster

    Feb 29, 2008
    South Central PA
    We use a dawn-dusk auto opener for our pop door. The door is a piece of plywood similar to yours that runs in a wood track attached to the outside of the coop. We were also having problems with shavings getting piled up, so we took the bottom piece and slotted it so that the shavings would instead fall to the ground. Seemed to do the trick. The problem right now is the shortening of the days and the door closing before the chickens all get into the coop; they range until it is almost dark to get in as much food as possible in the dwindling daylight hours. They have food and water in the coop and eat once they go in, but they prefer forage and will do so until the last rays of light are leaving the sky. I have taken to using a timed light in their coop so they head in a little earlier to where there is food and it is light; still, they are much more into foraged goodies and I suppose will be until we get a freeze. I'm still working on this conundrum, luckily I am home in the evenings and have 2 dogs that keep the yard free of chicken eating quadruped predators (sadly, they aren't so good with hawks &owls)
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I am not quite envisioning your door setup so some of this may be off the mark. (Is it on the inside or the outside of the coop?) Is there any way of altering things so that rather than a blind 1 1/2" pocket, the door goes down into an openbottomed cavity? That is goes down behind a wide board (with the bottom of the space open, not closed off) if it is on the outside of the coop; or behind a strong but narrow batten if on the inside of the coop. THe idea being to avoid having a small area where litter can jam up and prevent the door from seating deeply when it closes.

    *If* you can ensure that the bottom edge of the door always drops fairly deeply down behind something like that, so the bottom edge is guaranteed to be inaccessible to fingers and toes and claws, I would personally think it's pretty safe to just have the weight of the door alone holding it closed, assuming your run is as predatorproof as you can make it. (Predators are less likely to break into your run if there are no chickens in it at the time, and no appearance or scent of a way of getting into the coop).

    You might wish to add some extra weight to the door, more to encourage it to close more positively without hanging up than to discourage predators (frankly raccoons are awfully strong and any door too heavy for them to claw upwards, if they got a purchase on it, would probably also be too heavy for an automatic opener and more heavy than you wanted to deal with yourself too). If you simply glued extra scrap pieces of plywood to the door, slightly smaller than the door itself so's to remain between the tracks out of the way, just stack 'em on there til you run out of pieces [​IMG], it would also add a bit of insulation as a byproduct, which never hurts. Or if your coop is insulated (I forget) you could actually properly insulate the popdoor, which would add weight as a byproduct.

    Covering the door with flashing would be good as long as you have enough clearance in the tracks that it won't start jamming. Won't help you if the door has not seated fully down into its pocket because there is crud jammed down there, though.

    Good luck, have fun, does not sound like a major insoluble problem,


  8. bills

    bills Songster

    Jan 4, 2008
    vancouver island
    My sliding door is on the outside, so I put a small kick board on the inside to stop the litter from getting in the tracks, or at the base. Seems to work very well, as the door closes tight. For extra security I added a spring that firmly holds the door down. I used a rope and pulley, that I can open and close the door from outside the run. You have to pull against the spring when opening, but it's not that hard.
  9. lilchick

    lilchick Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Williamsport In.
    We have the drop doors on the outside of the barn. I got tired of running out to chase one in so I could close them up!
    To keep predators from lifting up we use a metal dowel rod across the top.
    Cut a hole on each side of the part the door slides thru.. The rod also makes a resting stop when door is open... works great for us....
  10. setter4

    setter4 Songster

    May 8, 2008
    Central Pennsylvania
    Quote:Now you tell me....my coop is now lined with plywood to cover the styrofoam insulation![​IMG]

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