Do you enjoy tossing and turning at night wondering if you locked the chicken coop door? Do you enjoy never taking a vacation because you have no one to take care of your chickens for you? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Soon after acquiring your first chicken coop and flock, most chicken owners start asking themselves, “how can I make this easier on my myself? ” I mean, getting up at the crack of dawn, lugging water and feed out to the coop, cleaning out the coop, collecting the eggs, making sure your girls all get back to the coop in one piece at night. You name it. Its not like taking care of a goldfish!
Having an automatic chicken coop door is a real treat! No more worrying about whether you closed the coop door or not. And with one of the doors we will talking about, you can control the opening and closing of your coop door using an app on your phone!
Important Features of Automatic Chicken Coop Doors
The most important feature of any automatic chicken coop door is its ability to protect your chickens against predators. Raccoons, in particular, are very adept at getting their paws under a door and sliding it up and open. Ideally, there is a “lock” or a “lip” at the base of the door that prevents those little paws from lifting it up, or the door is motorized, preventing it from being lifted without power.
There is also the threat to your chickens from the door itself. Product reviews have mentioned chickens actually getting squished by these automatic doors! Some manufacturers have tried to lessen this risk by making the vertical or gravity-lowering doors operate very slowly, hoping to nudge a chicken that may be sleeping over the threshold of the door. Other manufacturers have added sensors in their doors much like the ones that are found in elevators. These sensors will detect the presence of a chicken when the door is trying to close, and then gently re-attempt to close, giving the chicken a little nudge. Still other manufacturers provide automatic door openers for swinging doors, which more or less push the chicken out of harm’s way. Finally, like the automatic garage door you may have at home, some manufacturers provide sensors that detect the presence of a chicken in the doorway and will not operate until the chicken has moved on.
Here, we’re talking about the quality of the door itself, and the motors and controls that open and close the door. Wooden doors have been known to swell when they get wet, especially if they are running up and down within wooden side rails. Aluminum doors and rails, however, stand up much better to the elements and they’re actually easier on the motors which have to raise and lower them. Same with plastic doors.
Will your chicken coop door be raised according to a timer, for example, at 6am? Or will it be raised according to a light sensor, at sunrise? Manufacturers offer both options.
Another option is to open and close your coop door using your phone. What? Your phone? Yes, for you techies out there, if your chicken coop is within the range of your home Wi-Fi, you can raise and lower the door using an app. There’s an app for everything, don’t you know!
Unless you’ve got a power source at your coop already, you’ll most likely want to buy a coop that runs on batteries. For those of you who would like to be totally off-the-grid, however, there is, of course, a solar- powered automatic chicken coop door.
Best Automatic Chicken Coop Doors in Each Category
Best Automatic Coop Door Overall
This automatic chicken coop door checks all the boxes! Let’s talk about safety, first. This door works on a gear, not a string and gravity. So it’s next to impossible for a predator to open it up once it is closed. It also has a sensor that will detect a chicken taking a snooze or otherwise lallygagging in the door opening. So, your chickens will be safe from not only predators but also from the door itself.
As for quality, this door is made out of double-walled plastic, not wood. It will not swell or rot.
This door has both a manual timer and a light sensor, so if you’d like to set it to open at 545am every day, you can. Or, if you’d like it to open at sunrise every day, you can.
And it runs on good old batteries. You don’t have to call an electrician to run power out to your coop (and by the way, good luck with getting one of those guys to come out to your house…during your lifetime!).
Finally, as of this writing, this door is the least expensive one reviewed in this article. What? Lowest price and best features? I’ll take it!
PS: if you already own an Omlet Chicken Coop and you’d like to get a coop door that matches the color of the coop, you should know that it is also available in green!
Runner-up: Best Automatic Chicken Coop Door
For you more traditional chicken farmers, this is a more traditional automatic coop door. This aluminum door is on a string, lowered by gravity. The reviews state that it lowers very slowly. Slowly enough to prevent your ladies from getting injured. And when it is lowered all the way, it actually locks in the door’s base, providing protection from those little predator paws from pushing it open. Battery operated, and it comes with both a timer and a light sensor.
Need an Automatic Coop Door that Swings? Yeah, We’ve Got That!
For those of you who have a chicken coop with a side-swinging door, i.e, most of you!, there are a few automatic swinging coop doors on the market. The biggest advantage of these doors is that there is very little chance of your ladies getting squished! A little more engineering has had to go into them, however, so be prepared to spend a little more on them. Also be sure that your current door is at least 16 inches wide-that’s the minimum width for installing one of these.
The automatic swinging coop door mechanism pictured above is top-of-the-line. Openings and closing are triggered by a light sensor which can also be set for up to a one-hour delay. And for you off-the-grid-got-your-gold-coins-buried-in-the-backyard-types-it can also come with an attached solar panel, for a little more money.
Calling All Nerds! This Coop is a MUST HAVE!!!
This is a traditional automatic coop door with a twist. In terms of safety, it has an actuator that lowers the door, making it impossible for predators to raise it once its down. And it has a sensor in the door frame that will detect the presence of a chicken sawing logs in the opening. This sensor will prevent the door from dropping on your bird. Here’s the twist: When you purchase this coop, you will also download an app on your phone which will allow you to set the exact times the door will open and close. How cool is that?
There’s only one downside with this door. It runs off household current. Yes, you’ll need to beg, plead, and probably pray to get “Bob” the electrician to come out to your place to run a cable to your coop. One other thing, you need to make sure that your Wi-Fi is strong enough to extend to the coop. As long as it is, you can hook the whole thing up to Alexa (and impress your friends). (My wife and I turn our downstairs lights off at night using Alexa. We’re pretty lazy…obviously. It only took us a day and a half with our 8 year-old nephew to figure out how to do this.)
Whichever automatic coop door you choose, you will be amazed at how easily these are installed on your coop. Most reviewers stated that they were up and running with their new doors in an hour or two. And they were very pleased with the subsequent improvement in their quality of life! Especially in the wintertime! You will be happy to know that the manufacturers discussed above were all very responsive to their customers’ questions.