If you thought to keep chickens was going to be easy, think again! Whilst it is great fun and very rewarding, there can be a lot of work involved.
Fortunately, there are ways of lightening the workload, and buying an automatic chicken coop door is a good place to start.
Chickens are pretty reliable. They wake up and leave the coop at about the same time every morning. And in the evening they take themselves to bed, again at about the same time, they like a routine.
Your job is to get up early like they do and let them out, and then make sure they are closed up for the night before you go to bed. Foxes and predators like the darkness so this is especially important.
But we have good news for you. You can get a lie-in in the mornings and relax at night by buying an automatic coop door that will do the work for you.
As is often the case, there are now loads of different options on the market and you could spend forever trying to find one. So we have rounded up the best and reviewed them all here in one place.
So grab a coffee and read on…
- Top 5 Automatic chicken coop door reviews
- BUYERS GUIDE
Top 5 Automatic chicken coop door reviews
1. JVR Automatic Chicken Door Coop Opener
An automatic opening door means wires, cables, timers, and complicated electronics right? Not so – JVR has made things easy.
This is a premium quality door and is easy to install. Big buttons, a big screen, and no complicated wiring – simply plug and play.
The strong aluminum door is big enough for most breeds of chicken or duck. Simple programming with the help of a color instruction booklet will soon have this door opening morning and night.
There are various programmable settings for seven days a week so you can set your preferred times. You can even close or open the door outside of these times with the press of a button.
A 12v DC power supply is all that’s needed and it can even be connected to a solar panel for constant renewable energy supply.
And you can relax, knowing your birds are safe. The manufacturers claim even brown bears can’t get this door open!
2. Chicken Guard Automatic Chicken Coop Door Opener
If you already have a sliding door but want to make it automatic, this could be the one for you.
The Chicken Guard automatic door opener is a timer box that works with your existing door. Simply fix the timer control box above your door, connect the cord to the door, and set the timers. The battery-powered unit will then open and close the door according to the timers you have set.
It even has a Door Closed light that is visible upto 100 yards away, giving you peace of mind from a glance out the window.
The beauty is that you don’t have to cut new doorways into the coop to accommodate a new size of the door.
Simple design, great functionality, and easy installation make this a real contender.
Big buttons can be pressed even with gloves on and the LCD screen is easy to read.
The battery-powered unit can be trusted to keep your flock safe for upto 6 months before the batteries may need replacing.
3. Add-A-Motor Chicken Coop Automatic Door Accessory Motor
Similar to the Chicken Guard above, this is a simple motor that attaches to your existing door. But this one is a bit more budget-friendly.
The Add a Motor automatic door works like a fishing reel, reeling your door up or down on a line.
The motor fixes to the coop above the door. The line is then attached to the top of the door. Set a separate, connected timer for opening and closing and then sit back and let the motor do the rest!
It doesn’t matter if your door is wood, metal or plastic, as long as it weighs less than 10lbs the Add A Motor will let it up and down at times to suit your birds.
This model uses a rotating dial rather than buttons to set the limits on opening and closing. As the dials rotate they knock a switch that triggers the open or close mechanism. This works with door openings upto 25 inch
4. JVR Chicken Coop Door Automatic Opener Kit with Waterproof WiFi Timer
This is the same style door as No.1 in our list but with the added benefit of a WiFi controllable operation.
JVR is now making coop doors truly ‘smart’! This door has all the benefits mentioned in the review of the first door above, but can be operated from your smartphone. Once connected to your wifi and with the relevant app on your phone, you can control the opening and closing from the luxury of your armchair. Or even on holiday!
These doors are also fitted with a safety device that stops the mechanism if a blockage is detected. This is very useful if a chicken decides to roost on the doorstep for a while!
Of course, the addition of wifi to the system means you will need some computer knowledge. However, we are sure the long term benefits of remote operation outweigh any possible difficulties in installing it. And do note that the door does not work with router/modem integrated machines.
If you like technology and playing with your phone then it is one you should have a closer look at.
5. AdorStore ADOR1 Automatic Chicken Coop Door
This may be last on the list but is by no means least. A simple all-in-one door system that opens and closes according to the light.
The ADOR1 is different from most automatic doors in that it is an all in one unit with no lines or chains. It uses a solid sprocket in the housing that rotates to lift the door up and down. The solid, galvanized steel door is heavy-duty but is lifted and lowered with ease by the battery-powered unit.
Designed and manufactured in the USA, the door is weatherproof enough to be installed on the outside of the coop, but can also be installed inside.
A daylight sensor on the unit detects light levels and is programmed to open and close when light or dark gets to the right levels. These can also be adjusted manually.
No wiring, cables, or fiddly buttons on timers, the ADOR1 is so simple to install and operate. LED lights on the outside and a buzzer are used to indicate the status of the door and let you know how it is set.
Many users have remarked how well this door works and it should be on your shortlist.
If you already have a chicken coop you may have already found the perfect door in the above choices, but if you are new to the chicken rearing game you may need some help making the right choice. Here are a few things you should think about before spending your money to make sure you end up with the right one.
Method of Operation
We all agree, the manual is old-school and automation is the way forward. But what sort of automation? Timer, photosensitive or wifi?
Whilst they all do pretty much the same thing, how they work needs to work for you.
A full seven-day timer may be the most flexible option. You can set different opening and closing times on different days of the week should you need to, and it is easy to change the times. Days grow longer and shorter through the year so this flexibility may come in useful.
Photosensitivity will adjust the times for you as the days get darker or lighter but you can’t change the times for a particular day of the week. As chickens get up and go to bed with sunrise and sunset, this will probably not be a problem. Working to the light levels is generally regarded as the preferred method.
The wifi method may be your choice because it is very convenient. You can use an app on your cell phone to control the operation of the door from halfway around the world (or from across the yard!). This gives great functionality but can be tricky to install.
Size of Door
You may have small chickens now, but will this always be the case? Have you ever idly considered ducks or turkeys? If you are going to stick with standard chickens then almost all doors will be big enough for them.
But if there is even a small chance of you getting some bigger birds in the future then it is best to get a larger door at the start. This will save you the cost of a new door and some more work cutting a new hole to fix it in.
Big, heavy doors will need a big, strong motor to lift them up. Either choose a motor that will do the job or consider changing the door to one that will suit the motor.
Some motors will operate in the horizontal position as well as the vertical, so you may not need to change too much on installation.
All these automatic doors need a power source. Be it mains electrical wiring, solar, or battery, they all have their pros and cons. Think carefully about which is best for you.
A wired system from the household supply requires more installation time and effort but once done is nearly maintenance-free. You only need to worry about power outages.
Battery power means you don’t have to worry about a power outage, but batteries run down, especially in cold weather. A good system will have low battery indicators warning you when this is about to happen so you can swap them out in good time.
Perhaps the best system is to wire it up to a solar panel. Assuming regular hours of sunlight every day you should have a reliable, uninterrupted supply of renewable energy.
Let’s face it, most of us get some rain at times during the year, some more than others! It is very important to check that your system will operate in all the kinds of weather you are likely to experience.
You may be able to mount the unit inside the coop or shed, but if it will be outside then check carefully. Rain, wind, snow, and low temperatures all will have an effect on your door.
Make sure your door has a good waterproof rating and an adequate temperature operating range. Doors can stick in freezing weather and can cause damage to motors, so go for one that has a damage control system
Does the door have a locking mechanism?
Predators can be very clever and will take their time to figure out a way into the coop. The door is often a weakness, so make sure you pick one with a secure closing system that can’t be lifted. Allowing the bottom of the door to sit in between wooden battens is a good prevention measure.
How does the door know when to stop?
Most doors have a method of adjustment where you can set the limits of the opening and closing positions using dials or buttons. Well designed doors make this very easy to do.
Will the door crush my chickens?
Most doors close very slowly, giving birds plenty of time to get out of the way. They will soon get used to the automatic door and this should not be a problem. Some designs have ‘magic eyes’ or sensors that can detect the presence of an object and reverse or stop the movement of the door.
What is the weight limit of the motor?
It is important to check this before mounting the motor to your existing door. Check the weight of your door and make sure it will be OK. It will also need to slide easily in and out of position. If needed, consider making a new door out of a lighter material, plywood, or tough plastic.
Can the door be mounted to operate sideways?
This is not always the case. Systems that rely on wire to lift and drop will not function if mounted sideways as they use gravity to drop. Direct drive sprocket systems or solid drive units should work horizontally as long as there is not too much resistance. Check the product details or with the manufacturer before buying.
Can I convert this system to wifi operation?
Some manufacturers supply a wifi-based system as an add-on to the timer system. If you already have a door and are looking to convert it, check with the manufacturer.
I think we can all agree, an automatic chicken coop door will make our lives so much easier. No more freezing cold dawn runs to the coop to let them out. An end to jumping out a cozy chair late at night because we’ve forgotten to lock the flock up.
It’s what we’ve always wanted, right?
We hope the reviews above have made your choice an easy one. Did you find it useful? Did we miss anything out? Please leave any comments you may have about this article in the box below.