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Author Topic: Automatic chicken coop door  (Read 1764 times)

Offline Kathyp

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Automatic chicken coop door
« on: January 16, 2023, 06:05:05 pm »
We are thinking of installing one.  When we travel we hire someone to look after things here, which means they have to come back late to lock up the chickens.  Do any of you have such a door installed, do you like it, and which brand?

I think I want one that is either disposable battery-operated or plug in. 
There is no week nor day nor hour when tyranny may not enter upon this country, if the people lose their roughness and spirit of defiance.? --Walt Whitman

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Automatic chicken coop door
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2023, 11:23:10 pm »
I have no experience with this but the idea sounds good Kathy.

Phillip
Jeremiah 5:21 King James Version 
Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline gww

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Re: Automatic chicken coop door
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2023, 12:06:12 am »
I always wanted one but would caution that I have two incidents of coons being in the chicken house before dark and at dark and sometime have a chicken go in at the very last second (usually the ones that are picked on).  Good luck and if you do it let us know how it goes.
Cheers
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Automatic chicken coop door
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2023, 07:54:11 am »
I've been looking for one.  I think I saw one once with a solar panel and a battery.
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Automatic chicken coop door
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2023, 08:20:42 am »
I made one with a 4v battery operated screw driver.  You use a 1/4 - 20 threaded rod and a blind nut which will last over a year before you have to replace the nut because of the dust and dirt in the coup.  First I tried to use a solar cell to actuate it but light is not consistent so I ended up using a timer and adjusting it for the season.  I had to buy a 6v relay and two micro switches for limits besides the 20 dollar screw driver.

https://photos.google.com/album/AF1QipNnuWkXRFSEoNa2yNHF3PXjC_mDF4r644BR9RR1
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Automatic chicken coop door
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2023, 08:23:47 am »
Initially you have to train the stubborn ones to get into the coup before the door closes
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Offline Kathyp

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Re: Automatic chicken coop door
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2023, 11:05:05 am »
Quote
I made one with a 4v battery operated screw driver.

I am not that handy.  :grin:

The problem I might have with the solar panel is that the ones I have looked at, the panel looks cheap.  They won't hold up long I am afraid and the connection would have to be rewired to replace.  They are not just plug-and-play for a new panel, but the wiring is probably easy if it's accessible.

There are some that just plug into an outlet and my coop is close enough to an outlet to run an extension cord. 

I am going to go to the feed store and talk to the chicken lady.  If anyone knows about them, it will be her and I'll let you know.  Meantime, hopefully someone who has one will chime in too!
There is no week nor day nor hour when tyranny may not enter upon this country, if the people lose their roughness and spirit of defiance.? --Walt Whitman

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Automatic chicken coop door
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2023, 05:18:12 pm »
I helped one of my students design one about twenty years ago. From memory it was battery operated and solar charged. A catch held the gate open and a circuit that included a light dependent resister controlled the catch. When light levels dropped sufficiently (close to dark) the circuit opened the gate latch and the door closed. It worked very well.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Automatic chicken coop door
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2023, 08:56:39 am »
When light levels dropped sufficiently (close to dark) the circuit opened the gate latch and the door closed. It worked very well.
The trouble is light levels change with cloud cover and that makes the closing not consistent.  States like where Kathy lives have a lot of rain so solar is not the best.
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Offline Kathyp

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Re: Automatic chicken coop door
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2023, 10:51:41 am »
Quote
States like where Kathy lives have a lot of rain so solar is not the best.

That is kind of my concern especially if the solar panel is not high quality.  If I don't get called to do some work today I am going to go talk to the chicken lady.
There is no week nor day nor hour when tyranny may not enter upon this country, if the people lose their roughness and spirit of defiance.? --Walt Whitman

Offline Robo

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Re: Automatic chicken coop door
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2023, 12:01:15 pm »
I have some experience I can share.

I first build one for my dad with an arduino and the motor from an old makita 9V drill.  I never had much luck with the RTC keeping accurate time and I got tired of having to bring my laptop over to keep retiming.

Dad then went and purchased a https://petautodoors.com auto door.  It was AC powered with battery backup.   It turned out to be too confusing for my dad to program because you needed to program in latitude/longitude and a bunch of other options using only a few push button.  Once again,  something I ended up having to do.

When he added a 2nd door for another coop I convinced him to try a https://chickendoors.com/ which is battery operated but uses a simple magnet to program, no clock to set.   Hold the magnet for 20 seconds and it resets.   Then manually open with the magnet the 1st morning and manually close with the magnet the first night and from then on it opens and closes the same time each day.   

Ultimately the petautodoor, which used a string to pull up the door, kept getting tangles and stripped out the gears and I can't remember if they didn't sell a replacement or wanted as much as a new door.  It was retired.

I ended up buying a chickendoors.com for my coop and have been using it for 8 years or so now.   It has a nice feature that opens the door for a short interval a minute after closing to let any lagger in.   My chickens and guineas adapted well to it.   I have had no functional issues with it.  I have a small 12v battery and keep a trickle charger hooked to it.   Only issue I have had is a bear ripped the door off and broke the shaft on the motor.  They where unhelpful with repair parts.

Hope  this helps
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison



Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Automatic chicken coop door
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2023, 12:06:41 pm »
It will be interesting to see what the chicken lady has to say.

Kind of related to the answer Les and Brian have with a different twist. A simple set up with a Solenoid for a door tripper, incorporated with an electric timer should do the trick. Of course when the door brace is tripped the door will fall shut rapidly. Hopefully no chicken will be in the process of entering or it will be in for a big surprise!  You will need to be up before the sun in order to manually reset the door for their early exit and having it ready for the following night. 🤷🏻‍♂️
« Last Edit: January 18, 2023, 01:35:41 pm by Ben Framed »
Jeremiah 5:21 King James Version 
Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline Kathyp

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Re: Automatic chicken coop door
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2023, 09:17:18 pm »
Thanks Robo.  I'll look at those. 

Ben, anything we get will have to have a sensor in it so that it doesn't shut on the birds.  Most seem to, although some of the reviews claim the door they got was a chicken killer!
There is no week nor day nor hour when tyranny may not enter upon this country, if the people lose their roughness and spirit of defiance.? --Walt Whitman

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Automatic chicken coop door
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2023, 09:37:05 pm »
"some of the reviews claim the door they got was a chicken killer!"

Well in case you don't find a better one, all I can say is have the cook pot ready:shocked: :cheesy: lol j/k
Jeremiah 5:21 King James Version 
Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline Lesgold

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Re: Automatic chicken coop door
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2023, 06:01:43 am »
Quote
The trouble is light levels change with cloud cover and that makes the closing not consistent.  States like where Kathy lives have a lot of rain so solar is not the best.

The level of light at which the door closes is adjustable.  It can be set at low light levels down to completely dark. The solar panel only tops up the battery as the power consumption is quite low. The unit will run for about a month without the need for charging. This would obviously be a concern if you lived a long way from the equator but this unit was designed for specific use in a local area where the concerns mentioned were not an issue.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2023, 08:23:24 am by Ben Framed »

Offline Acebird

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Re: Automatic chicken coop door
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2023, 07:53:53 am »
Most seem to, although some of the reviews claim the door they got was a chicken killer!
Nearly impossible with my design.  Why do they call them chickens?  Because they are scared of everything.  With the jack screw design it takes about a minute to close and makes a lot of noise.  There is no surprise snap shut closure.
When you first get chickens the coup is pretty and nice and clean.  Once you get a flock it will become a dusty mess.  I would stay away from high tech devices.  Raising chickens is not a job for a programmer.  There is no need.
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Automatic chicken coop door
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2023, 08:00:26 am »
The level of light at which the door closes is adjustable.
You don't want to be fiddling with it every other day.  Latitude is not the problem.  Weather and or pollution is.  At first I thought I was being smart using a solar cell.  Experience proved me wrong.  A simple timer adjusted four times a year is the ticket.
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Automatic chicken coop door
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2023, 08:37:52 am »
Acebird
" With the jack screw design it takes about a minute to close and makes a lot of noise.  There is no surprise snap shut closure."

Unlike what I am proposing. Mine will work like a guillotine with a dull edge! They had better be some fast chickens if the 'timer' is not set to trip until 'after' dusk, and it is dark outside ! lol 
:wink:




« Last Edit: January 20, 2023, 08:07:01 am by Ben Framed »
Jeremiah 5:21 King James Version 
Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline Kathyp

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Re: Automatic chicken coop door
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2023, 11:46:53 am »
All that I have looked at have a sensor to keep the door from shutting on anything. 
There is no week nor day nor hour when tyranny may not enter upon this country, if the people lose their roughness and spirit of defiance.? --Walt Whitman

Offline Acebird

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Re: Automatic chicken coop door
« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2023, 08:08:12 am »
Acebird
" With the jack screw design it takes about a minute to close and makes a lot of noise.  There is no surprise snap shut closure."

Unlike what I am proposing. Mine will work like a guillotine with a dull edge! They had better be some fast chickens if the 'timer' is not set to trip until 'after' dusk and its dark ! lol 
:wink:
chickens go in the coup way before it is dark.  They are vulnerable if the door closes when it is dark.
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