Building your own DIY automatic coop door is easy with a ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener!
(For this article, ChickenGuard provided us with a free Automatic Coop Door Opener. This article reflects my own personal opinions using this product).
With the hot summers and chilly winters (with lots of freezing rain) in Southeast Missouri, making sure my flock as easy access in and out of their coop is very important.
That’s why a few years ago, we installed an automatic coop door. It worked great….until the goat broke it one day.
Since then, the door has stayed silent, and my patient flock had to wait until I made it outside to let them loose for the day.
That is, until ChickenGuard asked if I’d review their Automatic Coop Door Opener.
They previously sent me an automatic opener and door kit (read that review here).
Since we already had an automatic door that didn’t work, I was excited to test out the Automatic Coop Door Opener and see if we could rig it with our existing door and make it functional again.
Since the ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener works with any pre-existing door that can easily slide up and down, I had a good feeling it would solve our problems.
And since it’s also programmable, my hens could enjoy the weather long before we woke up!
Here’s how we combined our existing door with the ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener – and how you can do it with your hen house!
Building Your Own Automatic Coop Door
For the ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener to work, you’ll need to make or purchase door that slides up and down. We already had one, but to make your own, you’ll need:
- A sawzall or other tool to cut an access door into your coop
- 1×2 boards to frame the access door (enough for 2 frames)
- Wood to build your new door from (a 12-inch x 12-inch piece of wood works well. An easy solution is to use the piece leftover from cutting the access door).
- Screws to secure the frame (the length will depend on your door, but make sure they won’t stick out and hurt your chickens)
- An eye hook
For your door, you’ll want to make sure the color matches your coop (you can either make it the same color, or a complementary contrasting color).
Framing the door is important – on the outside, it’ll make your coop look more finished.
On the inside, it’ll prevent predators from easily pushing the door out of the way to enter your coop.
The ChickenGuard will only do so much – it’ll open and close the door. To ensure your coop is 100% predator proof, framing the entire area is necessary.
You will need to leave enough space between the frames so the coop door can slide up and down.
The gap size will depend on the piece of wood you use. The pre-existing door we had left about a ½ inch gap between the frames.
Installing the ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener
Once your coop access door is framed, adding the automatic door opener is a snap.
To the top of the coop door, drill in the eye hook – you’ll loop the string from the ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener through it. We simply tied ours to the eye hook. The motor in the ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener raises and lowers the door.
The coop door will automatically rise and fall using the string. It seems simple, but it works VERY well.
We’ve been using this product for months with no problems – and our flock is VERY happy.
Programming & Testing The ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener
Follow the directions in the ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener manual to program the product. It’s simple, and you only need to press a few buttons.
In our previous review of the self-locking door kit, we had it installed in 10 minutes. We set ours to open at 7 AM, but we change the closing time based on the season.
To test whether your new automatic coop door works, simply press the buttons on the ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener – if your coop door slides up and down, it works!
You can purchase the ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener on Amazon here.
If we were to install a 4th coop door (yes, we have quite a few!), I would purchase the ChickenGuard Automatic Coop Door Opener. It’s worth a little extra effort to create easy access for your chickens to get in and out of their home without relying on their humans.
Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.