The 10 Best Automatic Chicken Doors
This wiki has been updated 10 times since it was first published in October of 2018. Whether chickens are housed in an urban backyard or on the family farmstead, their coop has to be opened up every morning and closed again at the end of the day. Rather than scheduling your life around doing the job manually, try using one of these automatic doors while you either catch a few more Zs, attend to other chores, or enjoy a bit of free time for a pleasant change. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
July 27, 2020:
During this round of updates, while Coop Protect, Incubator Warehouse AutoCoop and Titan Incubators Elite were all removed due to availability issues, we also decided on eliminating the Coop Tender, noting widespread negative reviews across the web. Some of our new additions this time around include the Brinsea Products ChickSafe Advance — a pull-string style unit that’s compatible with many, manual, vertical-slide coop doors, the Run-Chicken Model T40 — which features a machined aluminum construction and IP66 dust and water resistance, and the Haoguo Sunrise and Sunset — which uses a sturdy linear actuator arm to keep out predators that attempt to pry through its heavy-duty aluminum door.
A few things to think about for this category:
Security: Weather’s also an important consideration in colder climates, but for the most part, the biggest reason to have an automatic door, or any door at all, on your chicken coop is to keep predators out, so make sure that it’s going to do the job.
While pull-string models like the Add-A-Motor Accessory Kit and Haoguo Sunrise and Sunset will do a good-enough job at opening and closing your door in a timely fashion, they won’t do much to stop a cunning raccoon from sliding them up at night and coming in. Some users have reportedly had success running a one-inch strip of material tight to the bottom of their door’s exterior, preventing prying predators from reaching their fingers underneath it, but this isn’t a guaranteed solution.
Sprocket-driven designs – like that of the AdorStore Ador1 – are superior to these basic, string models because they present resistance against any animal that tries to move them manually. Models like the JVR Timer Version and Haoguo Sunrise and Sunset employ sturdy actuator arms to open and close their doors, a rugged implement that’s purportedly tough enough to keep out a black bear. At the end of the day, the level of security you’ll need your door to offer all comes down to the kind of predators your chickens are up against.
Control: Intrinsically, some level of automation is a prerequisite for this category, but just how much control each unit offers can vary considerably. While basic options like the Add-A-Motor Accessory Kit rely on one-day analog timers, more advanced models like the JVR Timer Version feature seven-day programmable settings.
The Coop Controls uses a photocell to determine when it should open and close, according to sunrise and sunset, and the Haoguo Sunrise and Sunset uses the date, your coordinates and an algorithm to make the same calculation. The Run-Chicken Model T40 has 30-, 60- and 90-minute time-delay options, if sunrise and sunset are just a bit too early for you, and the Brinsea Products ChickSafe Advance even has a “lie-in” feature, in case your birds (or, more likely, you) like to sleep in twice a week.
Installation: For the reasonably handy among us, all of these doors should be fairly straightforward. However, we have identified a few potential hiccups that we thought would be worth pointing out for our users’ benefit:
While most of the models we ranked feature simple, plug-and-play designs, the Haoguo Sunrise and Sunset requires some basic hardwiring, so you’ll want to have either a basic skill set in the area, or else a qualified electrician on hand. Neither the Add-A-Motor Accessory Kit nor the Brinsea Products ChickSafe Advance come with any sort of door, so unless you’re looking to retrofit an existing installation, you’ll want to have materials on hand to manufacture your own, or else you’ll need to purchase one from a third party.
Models that have 12-volt electrical systems – like the Coop Controls and JVR Timer Version – will either need to be powered via a 12-volt battery or a 12-volt DC adapter. While both models we mentioned come with 12-volt DC adapters, users who want to take advantage of these systems to power their remote chicken coops via solar panel will need to make some additional purchases to ensure that battery and panel are in place by the time the door gets installed.
November 01, 2018:
Listed all-in-one sets in various sizes and DIY kits for motorizing an existing door, with options for programmable scheduling, dusk-to-dawn sensors, and remote operation, noting additional features like frost protection and entrapment prevention.