Self-closing door??

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by peggyb43, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. peggyb43

    peggyb43 In the Brooder

    Sep 29, 2008
    My hubby and I are first time chicken raisers, and we like to take overnight camping trips. I am wondering if anyone has created a door that the chickens can be trained to go in and out of, maybe like hanging rubber or plastic strips over the little chicken door. We haven't seen any predators yet and the chickens are 10 weeks old and have been in their house for about a month. They are in a fenced run about 7 feet high. Any ideas?

  2. Ottoman

    Ottoman Songster

    Oct 4, 2008
    I have put chicken wire over the top of my peen / run this keeps birds of pray from swooping in and getting my Chickens, it also keeps the chicken from flying out. my chicken fence is down about one foot under the ground. I keep my coop door open all the time. And I go off for the weekends.
  3. roosmom

    roosmom Songster

    Jun 3, 2008
    upper peninsula
    I agree with ottoman. Fence or a roof over the run is the way to feel your chickens are safe. 7' is good for your chickens but it wont stop a predator from flying DOWN into the run.
    We thought about the plastic or rubber strips also. We go kayaking/camping in the summer. We did not do it but we may try it this winter when it gets very cold and blowy out.
    I would be concerned about water and food. Food is pretty easy to take care of for one or two nite trips. Water on the other hand is a different matter. It should be kept as clean as possible. We modified a 5 gal bucket so it would supply them for a couple days. We also put ACV in with the water to keep it from going slimey. GOOD LUCK. [​IMG]
  4. Jenski

    Jenski Songster

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    If you scan back through the posts in the "Predators & Pests" section of this forum, you will find several folks who left their birds over weekends and returned to find fewer birds, or none at all (none living, anyway). Predators will check out your coop and run, there is no doubt about this. Whether they find a way in is up to you.

    Securing chickens in a coop at night is the best way to ensure against night-time flock losses. Leaving a coop door open at night is risky, but you may be able to swing it if your run is truly a Fort Knox.

    Good luck with whatever you decide, and do keep us posted on how your arrangements work out.

  5. peggyb43

    peggyb43 In the Brooder

    Sep 29, 2008
    Thanks for the info. We have fishing line in quadrants over the run...we've seen rooftop restraunts do this to keep birds out and it seems to work. Maybe I'll try the open door idea while we are here to watch and see how that goes.
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Also note that 10 wks is no time at all, in terms of a track record of no predator sightings. Plus now we're getting towards the time of year when predators are hungrier and more motivated.

    Bear in mind that if you ever DO lose a chicken to a predator, it becomes a whole new ballgame. Now the local population of hungry critters will know there's a buffet there, and even a much beefed-up run and door and such may not be sufficient to keep out the newly motivated predators. There is a lot to be said for doing all you can do to discourage them from getting that first taste...

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do,

  7. jmeeter88

    jmeeter88 Songster

    Aug 18, 2008
    New Hartford, NY
    The idea of a automated door system seems pretty neat, but I keep coming back to the thought of what would happen if the door shut before the chickens got inside... [​IMG]

  8. amysflock

    amysflock Songster

    May 8, 2008
    Tenino, WA
  9. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    The problem with predators, is that they don't always come around regularly, but they do come around. Also, people that put game cameras up at their coops, often see a lot of animals they didn't even know were coming around at night.

    If you search on automatic doors here, there are previous threads with links to companies that sell them. I'm pretty sick today, or I'd look it all up for you. Foy's carries them in the USA. We've ordered and gotten really fast service from Well's in the UK. That order came faster than some of the stuff I've ordered from the US! It's slower ordering directly from the German manufacturer, but we did that once, too. [​IMG]

    Ours have worked great for a couple of years. We have the light sensor with probe, as I like to have the door installed on the inside. You can also get a timer, if you'd prefer.

    Ok, here's a couple of links:

    After installation, I just check it to make sure it's working fine, opening and closing at the right times and that the chickens are inside ok at night, the first few days. My chickens didn't have any problem with it, as it moves quite slowly.

    I would not leave the coop door open unless your run is made entirely of heavy gage 1/2" hardware cloth, screwed into the wood, including the roof, unless the roof is solid wood and you have either buried wire or used a flange of attached wire all around the perimeter of the run. Anything less and your chickens are at risk.

    Those would be my two recommendations, anyway.

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