As chicken owners, the one thing we all have in common, besides enjoying wonderful farm fresh eggs and the entertainment that keeping chickens brings, is that we all worry about the safety of our flock, and we spend a lot of time on our little feathered friends!
Raising chickens has responsibilities that involve keeping our flock safe, happy and healthy.
Free ranging chickens are always most vulnerable in the evening during the time where they are making their way back to their chicken coop, or when they are setting onto their roosts for the night and something comes in through the door.
If we are not there to close their door, predators will seize the opportunity.
It is the risk we face of having free ranging birds, and it is often a struggle that many backyard farmers and chicken keepers have: let the birds free range and be vulnerable, or lock them in to keep them safe but they are unable to happily and freely roam.
Of course, you can always get a chicken coop camera to help keep your flock safe, but we can take chicken safety one step further.
One way to mitigate the problem of night predators, as well as make it easier for the chicken keeper, is to easily install automatic chicken coop door openers, which is what I personally did.
What is an automatic chicken coop door?
An automatic coop door is a door you add on to your coop that will automatically open in the morning and and will close your coop at night.
It will remain closed all night and will be strong enough to keep predators out, and will also make sure your chickens won't be harmed when the door is closing if they are standing in the way.
Why have an automatic door on your coop?
These automated doors are meant to save the chicken keeper time and help if you are away and want your flock free ranging or out in the run during the day.
I can personally say it is the best thing I have ever gotten for my chickens (and for me as well).
There are many automatic doors you can choose from for your coop, and many of these choices have a light sensor as well as timed automatic doors, and they can be safely locked.
We are going to talk about the best automated coop door opener you can get to let your chickens out in the morning and close them in safely at night on its own.
Best Automatic Chicken Coop Doors
See all chicken coop door openers that are available here (*opens in a new window to compare as you read)
Automatic chicken door options are a great way to keep your hens safe from predators. As chicken keepers, it is our job to take care of the flock.
We want to make sure that they have the best chicken coop bedding material, we give them good dust bath areas, that they have good food and water (be sure to consider good automatic feeders as well as a good automatic waterer), and that they are safe.
By installing an automatic chicken coop door, you can be sure that your chickens will be protected when they are most vulnerable, and it will also take some of that work off of your shoulders.
There is nothing worse than wondering if you closed your chickens in at night while laying in bed (lol been there!).
Watch our unboxing and installation of the Run-Chicken automatic chicken coop door on our YouTube channel here, and if you like it, we'd love you to subscribe! Here it is :)
Automatic Coop Doors: What To Know
Many doors that are automated have a light sensor on them or a timer you can set (or both, which gives you the choice in settings and controls).
It's what makes them 'automatic'.
When the morning sun shines on your chicken coop and it has an auto door with a light sensor, the door opens, letting your chickens out for the day.
Not only does this automatic door allow your chickens to free range first thing in the morning, but it also saves you having to go out and open the door yourself. You can instead spend that time on something else.
When it gets dark out and your flock instinctively goes in through the door opening to roost for the night, the automatic door will close and lock them in.
Most of the doors also have an integrated timer option you can use instead of relying on the light sensors if you prefer complete control of your chicken's coop door.
Automatic Coop Door Operation
An automatic chicken coop door can be powered by the following power sources:
- electrical (plug in)
- battery (the most common)
- solar power (comes with a solar panel)
There are pros and cons to each source of power when it comes to automatic doors. Let's look at each power source for their automated door power type and determine which is the best door opener for you.
Electrical Automatic Chicken Coop Doors
- If you have power out in your chicken coop, then this is a very advantageous option for you to consider as you won't have to worry about batteries or panels
- If there is wi-fi out there as well, you can control your automatic door from your phone by adding a smart plug in
- If you coop is not electrified, you would have to either trench a PVC pipe with a wire in it underground to get power out there. Otherwise, you could run an extension cord; however, that is not a great long term solution
- Would have to install the control box; however, this may be easily done with a good model
- Not as readily available as say battery options, but you could always hardwire a battery type door in if you know how to safely do so
Battery-Powered Automatic Chicken Coop Doors
- Can easily change a battery when it runs out
- Will have a low battery indicator to tell you when it is time to change
- Are the most readily available auto door openers and therefore you have many model options to choose from
- Power will run out which may leave you with chickens stuck in the coop, unless you find a model that gives you sufficient time for its low battery warnings
- Cold weather may affect both the battery life as well as the efficacy of the door opening, so be sure to find one that is not affected by weather conditions
Solar Powered Automatic Chicken Coop Doors
- You don't have to pay for your power source
- Easy installation
- You are at the mercy of the sun, and may not get enough to power a door during the winter or extreme weather conditions
- Will have to not have trees or sun-impeding bushes/plants around that will affect solar-generated power
- Will have to make sure it is clean enough to absorb sunlight as chicken coop areas tend to throw around a lot of dirt and dust
There is much to consider when it comes to which chicken door openers are best.
How we chose the best automatic chicken coop door
The following are the best automatic chicken coop door openers. We chose these options with consideration of:
- the coop control options (is it button operated or does it require a control panel?)
- the light sensor
- the safety sensor/protection sensor
- the door size and the locking mechanism
- what material the door is made out of (metal door, wood door, aluminum door, etc)
- if it comes with its own new door (all in one package) or if it powers your pre-existing door with an opening mechanism
- how the door opens (whether it is a hinged door, sliding door, etc)
- the ease of its installation and how easy it is to set up
5 Best Automatic Chicken Coop Doors
*Quick compare click chart available at the bottom of this article
1. RUN-CHICKEN Automatic Chicken Coop Door
*This automatic door wins the top spot for best automated chicken coop door. From our research we chose and installed this door and it has been absolutely amazing. It is a high quality door that we are happy with.
The RUN-CHICKEN door is a third generation model from RUN-CHICKEN. This door is battery power operated by 2 AA batteries. This made our list of recommendations because it gives you lots of warnings about low batteries by blinking the warning light in red, and if you use the batteries they recommend (Duracell or Panasonic, or similar quality) the battery life is around 1 year.
You could install this door on your coop or chicken run, and to be safe, set your calendar reminder on your phone to change the batteries in ten months time. Set it and forget it.
This automatic chicken door works in extreme temperatures and is completely waterproof. It is an aluminum door and slider and is super easy to install.
The company says that it takes no more than ten minutes to install, and you can watch just how easy it is on their product listing video here or watch the quick Pinterest pin I made below (sound on to hear it):
Yes, this is the automatic door that we personally installed after our research and we can confirm installation was extremely easy (less than 10 minutes).
It works right out of the box with the photo light sensor, and it is sturdy and safe for our chickens.
In our opinion, this is one of the best automatic chicken doors.
Here is what we like about this automatic chicken coop door:
Very easy to install (easy setup)
It has a time option, where you can easily program the door to open and close at the same time every morning and night
It has a light sensor option so the automatic door open will open and close with the sunrise or sunset
Works in extreme weather (snow, rain, heat, dust, cold weather)
Has a safety sensor and will stop if a chicken is in the way during door closing
Has very high ratings from buyers and excellent feedback
Comes in different colors to suit the style of your coop and chicken run
*If you end up purchasing the Run-Chicken Coop Door, be sure to bookmark where to get spare parts and key components if you ever need them.
Automatic Chicken Coop Door Canada: WINNER
We are also giving this winner the title of best automatic chicken door for Canada. When considering a good door for Canada, all of the above factors come into play, but specifically, the Canadian winter had the biggest impact on this coop door.
We like that this model can stand up to the winter snow and deep freeze, but also, we like that this door opens up as opposed to opening sideways or out in case of snow or ice buildup around it.
This will also take up less battery power if there is no resistance on a door that opens up in the winter.
2. Coop Controls | Solar Powered Coop Door
This is a solar-powered automatic chicken door that you can attach to your own door if it is swing-open style.
This coop door opener kit has a light sensor and automatically opens your coop door at sunrise and closes it at sunset using an integrated photo cell.
This works if your current door swings open and is 16 - 30 inches wide. It installs quickly with an easy setup and the reviews all confirm that.
This system includes a control box with a control board, an operator arm, a patent-pending rear mounting hinge, a replacement top hinge, mounting hardware, a push button with wire and the installation manual.
3. ChickenGuard Waterproof Door
This is a door kit that is self-locking to help keep predators out. It is powered by 4 AA batteries or it can be electrically powered by a USB, which is not included in the kit.
Once the door is fully lowered and the chickens are safe in the coop, the wings of the door are automatically released to lock it in place.
This company is also environmentally conscious as they ensure that their runners are 100% recycled.
This door size IS 10" X 12" and the runner length is 23.5". It comes with a high-end timer and light sensor so you are able to set the time for when you want to let your chickens out in the morning, you can adjust the opening/closing mode depending on time of year. Or, you can go with the automatic settings with the light sensor.
There is also an LCD screen so you can see what you set up and alter your timings easily, which is something we don't normally see with door systems.
It has a weatherproof casing for reliable operation in all kinds of weather and it is made from aluminum and durable, recycled plastic.
Can watch their demonstration video here
4. Happy Coop Door
Here is a model that is battery powered and is a plug and play design, meaning it is very easy to install and start using right away.
This automated happy coop door is battery operated and requires 4 AA batteries and they say to use LR6 batteries, so that is Energizer or Duracell brand to get a long battery life.
You can also actually use the included adapter to have it work off of a 6 volt battery.
This model is used in many chicken coops and has plenty of good ratings and feedback. This door has a safety sensor that is built in so when the door is closing and there is a chicken standing there, it stops closing.
It also has a built in locking mechanism in the notches the gear uses through its design which prevents predators from breaking in through the chicken coop door.
The control box is easy to set up and this automatic door also comes with a 2 year warranty, which they talk about in their instructional video.
5. My Chicken Door Automatic Chicken Coop Door
My Chicken Door is self-calibrating and has a light sensor and a timer function. It self adjusts automatically after installation in regards to the house door position, making for a really stress-free install.
This door opener does not come with the door, but rather will work with any coop door that is less than 1kg in weight as it will lift doors up and down.
Another door opener with a digital display, you can set it with the timer or use the light sensor function so it opens and closes with dusk and dawn, unless you are mounting inside of the coop in which case, like other light sensor models, you will have to only use the timer method.
This coop door comes with the automatic coop door opener and the instruction booklet.
We hope you learned so much about automatic doors and that you found one to perfectly suit your chicken coop.
A chicken door can be tricky if they are not secure and if you are going out to open and close your chicken coop every morning and night. You can have some common problems with door security with a wood design, and you can also forget to close the door at night.
It's not a high risk, granted, but automating your coop door, I would say, is the best value for your time saving in opening and closing the door, as well as for chicken protection. It's just one of those important things that most people don't realize they have the option of!
You will find that installing an automatic door saves you time and stress, and your chickens will be safely tucked away at night as an added bonus. When installed correctly, an automated chicken door can be your best friend, especially in cold temperatures.
QUICK CLICK COMPARE
Here are all 5 automatic doors in the same order we listed above. Quick click them to compare prices and make/models.
Here are some other questions people are asking about automatic chicken coop door openers:
Do automatic chicken doors actually work?
Yes, automatic doors work very well when you choose a reliable model. A high quality chicken coop door will be metal, will be unable to be forced open when it is closed and works best when it opens up and down as opposed to swinging out.
Find a high quality coop door and it will work well and be reliable for keeping your chickens safe. They will also have the proper safety sensors in place ensuring you have everything you need to start enjoying it.
Can you leave a chicken door open?
You can leave your door open during the day, but at night the chickens are very vulnerable to nocturnal predators who will get in and attack the flock.
It is very important to close their coop door at night to keep your chickens safe. Nocturnal predators can vary depending on where you live from owls, rats, snakes, bears, raccoons and even neighborhood cats.
Chickens are easy prey and depend on their keepers for safety.
What is an automatic chicken coop door?
A good automatic chicken coop door or automatic coop door opener will have a light sensor or a timer so it will automatically open your chicken coop door in the morning, and close it at night.
A good, automatic door will be sturdy and will lock, keeping your flock protected while they are in and sleeping. When morning comes, the light setting will detect sunlight and the coop opener will automatically open, letting your chickens out for the day.
Do I need to lock chickens up at night?
It is important to lock your chickens up at night in a coop or a structure that will keep predators outside.
Your flock is at its most vulnerable at night when they are asleep and locking them up at night is the best way to keep them safe. If you have a wire coop, it may not be as secure as, say, a wooden chicken coop.
A coop opener can be installed on most chicken coops and offer fantastic protection against predators. There are a few models to choose from, be sure to read our top choices.
Can I leave my chickens in the run overnight?
Leaving your chickens in the run overnight is not a very safe option, unless your chicken fencing goes deep into the ground so animals can't dig to get at them (don't underestimate a hungry predator!) and the fencing goes overtop of them as well.
You will also need to have a place for your chickens to roost. After saying this, we highly do not recommend leaving your chickens in the run overnight and instead, lock them safely in a chicken coop.
How big does a chicken door need to be?
A simple design chicken coop opening should be 10-12 inches tall and 10-13 inches high. Stay on the larger side if you ever plan on accommodating larger chickens or other birds such as ducks.
Also, if you plan on integrating an automatic door on to your chicken coop, consider what size they come in. Most are in the 10" x 12" range.
Should a chicken coop door stay closed in winter?
Will an automatic chicken door freeze shut in too cold temperatures?
It is possible that an automatic door will freeze shut on a chicken coop in freezing temperatures. When it is that cold out, it is best to check on your chickens anyways, so we would also recommend checking on your door. Most say they will only work in certain temperatures, so this is best practice as a chicken keeper or chicken sitter.
Do you need a large door or a bigger door for bigger chickens?
You typically do not need a large automatic door for bigger chickens. The door I installed was an average size and fit over my pre-existing door opening. My biggest rooster at the time, Norman, walked through it like nothing, and he was a big boy! So you can have peace of mind when it comes to chicken size and your door.
Here are some other chicken-related articles you may be interested in:
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