Squashed hen


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jun 25, 2009
Foothills of central CA
Is there anyone out there who uses an auto coop door that has had the door squish (to death) a chicken? I just did. She must have been trying to squeeze thru the door as it was closing and got caught. Now one more thing to deal with in trying to get this door to work properly.
Maybe change the timer to close later?? I do not have an automatic door but maybe this might be a solution...sorry about losing one.
You know I was considering the pros and cons of an auto door and wondered if this might happen. I'm so sorry you lost a hen.

Maybe one of those infrared sensors they use for garage door closers would eliminate the problem? I suppose it depends on how high tech you want to go.
What kind of auto door was it?? The guillotine type I use (from Foy's - the Electronic Butler, VSBi model) cannot squish a chicken. It stops when the lightweight metal panel encounters an obstruction. PLUS it closes so slowly there's no WAY a chicken would get caught in it.

Oh.. I am very sorry to hear about your loss - that has to be such a freaky accident. I'm so sorry! That would break my heart....
Yes it is a guillotine type. I made it myself and it (so far) doesn't have that safety feature that reverses or a photo beam to stop it. I might have to do that. But it does travel slowly (about 15-20 seconds to close). You'd think that would be a safety feature but I guess it's not. I thought because it travels so slowly that any bird would have plenty of time to escape. I notice that when it opens in the am they're always trying to squeeze out through the door before it's fully up so I guess the same can happen when closing and that's how she got stuck. I'll report back when I figure out how to handle this problem. I'll also add that I'm using an X-10 timer and module to open and close this door. I'm not too happy with this system so far because the thing keeps opening and closing when it's not supposed to. I'm working on that too. Thanks
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The door is too light to cause any damage to anything bigger than maybe a day old chick. That's why they they tell you when you install it to make sure the nothing can get a pawor claw under the bottom or over the top of the panel.

Sorry for your loss
I'm sending out a request to the engineers and tinkerers in the group for someone to PLEASE invent a safe and secure automatic door. I envision a tiny garage door opener or electric gate opener that uses similar technology with some kind of bar that locks the door down and will not allow it to slide open from the outside. Also important is a photo eye safety beam like what is used with garage doors that prevents one from closing if there is an obstruction in its path. A design that opens straight up or flaps inward is better than a door that protrudes out from the coop where it could be bumped and damaged. My vision includes a battery-powered timer with a solar charger that offers a dusk-till-dawn or manual open and close times. Another important feature is to continue to re-close after each obstructed attempt until the door is securely closed for the night. I recently heard of a prototype motor that has a reopen feature that waits 5 minutes after the first close, then reopens for 5 minutes before closing for the night. This is to let late arrivals come in to roost. That seems to be a nice feature also. Such a door would be worth at least $200 to me, maybe more. I hope I've inspired someone to go to work on it. You certainly have an eager market waiting with the forum.

My automatic door that operates with a drapery motor closed on one of my hens recently. Fortunately, the door is not heavy enough to crush the hen and it closes slowly--not with a slam, but she was trapped. Had I not found her she would have been coon food that night.
Is there anyone out there who uses an auto coop door that has had the door squish (to death) a chicken? I just did. She must have been trying to squeeze thru the door as it was closing and got caught. Now one more thing to deal with in trying to get this door to work properly.

Our silkie roosts in the door every night, so I can't make my door auto close. it does auto open in the morning though.

The Pullet-Shut has some nice safety features http://www.chickendoors.com/products.php. This is the one recommended by HauinFetch. The website doesn't say what mechanism holds the door closed to protect against raccoons prying it open and pulling it out. I see in one of the photos there are a couple of bolts protruding in the opening to prevent the door from being pushed inward. The door pivots out and is operated with a magnetic sensor. Just be sure you don't misplace the magnet! It has a torque-limited closer to prevent crushing--that's good. This looks like a prototype I saw at Randall Burkey Co. that the designer was waiting on a better motor before releasing on the market.

What I don't like about this design is the door opening outward where it can be bumped and damaged by passing livestock. If only someone would design one with retracting safety bolts so the door could swing inward into the coop. If the retracting bolts came out on both sides of the closed door it would really be safe against predators.

The price of $180 plus $20 shipping is what I paid for a thin piece of what feels like balsa wood that is pulled up and let down by fishing line attached to a drapery motor http://shop.ebay.com:80/i.html?_nkw...cqr=true&_nkwusc=automatic+chcken+door&_rdc=1. I wish I had known the Pullet-Shut was available before I spent money on the one I have. Although it has a nicely finished frame and installed like a breeze, I can push up the closed door with the flat of my hand. There is no safety feature holding it down other than gravity. I added a piece of trim at the base in front of the bottom of the door to keep raccoon fingers from lifting the door. I suspect it will only last a couple of years before I have to replace the motor and the weather eats up the door.

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