If you have had chickens for long, you have gotten used to the need to shut them in their coop at night and let them out in the morning. If you don’t shut them in, you may lose birds to predators and a backyard chicken flock is very valuable to you. You don’t want to have marauders such as coyotes, opossums, raccoons, hawks or owl, or other predators snacking on your birds.
However, there are times when it is impossible or inconvenient to be shutting them in due to work schedules, or frankly, your own sleep schedules! How valuable would it be to have your coop door automatically opened and closed for your chickens? Knowing that they are safely locked in at night, and let out for their morning foraging, without you having to leave your warm bed, or rush to get home from work on an early winter evening. You are in luck!
Thanks to technology and remote controls, you have options to consider. There are DIY directions if you do an internet search and if you feel that you are handy enough to build it. Take a look, because anyone can post anything on the internet and they may not all be the brilliant design you are looking for. Be sure to be careful as you determine what works for you and what is a good design. Some may be downright risky. Thankfully, there are brilliant people out there who will build it and market it to you, all you need to do is some simple installation work.
Things to consider when buying chicken coop door openers:
- How do you want it powered? Solar, battery or direct electric? Most commercially made automatic coop doors are made to use 120-volt current, which is standard household current.
- Placement of plugs – make sure they are out of reach of your birds, whether that be outside or up where they cannot get to, as they may get themselves into danger if they decide to peck at the plug or wiring.
- Batteries also need to be placed where your chickens cannot get to them, as they can peck at them and damage them, and possibly hurt themselves as well. This is a much better option than running an extension cord, as this is unsafe in wet weather and unreliable, as well as dangerous.
- Solar chargers will charge batteries or can be connected directly to the coop door functions themselves. Most off grid chicken keepers prefer this option, or battery, as they do not use direct electricity. A solar charger also is generally more portable for chicken tractors, or chicken coops that are portable, as you will not have a set place for connections.
- Size of door. You will want to take a look at your coop and base the door on the size of your chickens so they can comfortably come and go. A fairly standard size that allows most poultry would be 12 inches by 15 inches. This would be a typical size for bantam and standard chickens, guineas, ducks, most geese and smaller turkeys. If you plan on raising large geese and heavier turkeys you will want to scale your door accordingly.
- Your unit can be triggered by the light, which is helpful with changing seasons as the hours of daylight change.
- Be sure to check and see if your purchased door is the door and controller box, or just controller box. Some kits include both, but some just controller boxes.
Your chicken flock will be kept safely protected behind the door of their coop without so much direct work from you if you choose to go with an automatic chicken coop door!