Would a Pet Door work for the coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ihvpower, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. ihvpower

    ihvpower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was thinking of installing a pet door so the wind would stay out. Do you think the chickens could learn to use one? I did see here a question about those refrigerator flaps...can't find the link anymore..

    Nancy
     
  2. featherz

    featherz Veggie Chick

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    I asked this question a long time ago because my husband was fixated on a 'flap' type cat door. General consensus then was that it didn't work too well for chickens, although I can't remember why.
     
  3. brounii

    brounii Chillin' With My Peeps

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  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    People have trained their chickens to use pet doors, yes. How easy this will be depends probably a lot on your particular chickens. In some cases you may need to construct some training doors of different lengths so you can start with a short door (only bars the top part of the opening) and let them figure that out, then swap to a longer one that covers maybe the top half of the opening, and so forth. If you use a similar material (translucent if your petdoor is translucent, etc) this need not be terribly complicated, just make a flap of something suitable and flexible and temporarily screw or staplegun it up over the doorway. Once they are using a full-length 'mockup' flap happily, you can put in the real one. Again, with some flocks this won't be necessary, with some it will.

    I use translucent shelf-protector material cut into strips to function like the strip curtains used for walk-in freezers and some animal housing. It was cheap. I trained the chickens by just putting up one strip at a time (not adjacent ones, either), I believe it has usually taken a pen maybe 3-5 days to cope sufficiently with that for me to put up the next strip. Works fine, but more wind does blow through than if it were a single piece of material. Other people use heavy canvas or burlap, or things like that.

    Do remember this will not be even remotely predatorproof, so unless you choose to believe that you own one of the maybe three genuinely-predatorPROOF runs in all of North America (and I can pretty well guarantee you don't), if you rely on JUSt a pet door at night, it is definitely a greater risk for losing chickens someday. Of course there is no reason at all not to have a "real" popdoor that closes securely, at the same time as also having a pet flap in the opening.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  5. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Another BYC member from Colorado once posted a picture of their setup: it was a chute leading up to the popdoor. I thought it was a great idea, because it blocked the wind, it was easy to constuct and easy for the chickens to use. You could also make an "L" shaped chute that would achieve the same result.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2010
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    The easiest way to make a little windbreak-type 'vestibule' is with straw bales, preferably staked together with rebar so's not to fall over on anybody. The only thing is you have to be strategic about the design in order to avoid *funnelling* wind *into* the popdoor when the wind is from the wrong direction.

    Pat
     
  7. ihvpower

    ihvpower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you all! I'm going to give it a whirl! I'll let you all know how it works out :)
     

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