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 carries great 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 chicken coop door, predators will seize the opportunity. It is important to keep your chickens safely locked in their coop after sunset.
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 chickens safe, but we can take chicken safety one step further.
One way to mitigate the problem of predators, as well as make chicken keeping easier, is to easily install an automatic chicken coop door. Which is exactly what we personally did to keep our chickens safe, and to save time on our end!
Our Experience with different Automatic Chicken Coop Door Options
We have personally tried a few automatic chicken coop doors out over the past few years, and we know what to look for from these experiences. I can honestly say I would never have a coop without having an automatic chicken coop door, after having them on.
It really makes keeping chickens a lot easier, especially if you are busy and working and are worried about running out to let them out in the morning..etc. So read on to hear all of the pros and cons, and our personal recommendations.
What is an automatic chicken coop door?
An automatic coop door is a door you add on to your chicken coop that will open automatically 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. So if you have had your chickens for a long time or are getting a new coop, this is my most recommended feature to add on! I can personally say that all my chickens always make it in on their own and I don't ever worry about them.
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. It makes life easier!).
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 Door
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 sensor for light, the door will open automatically, 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.
*Photo from my Omlet Automatic Coop Door unboxing
When it gets dark out and your flock instinctively goes in through the door opening to roost for the night, the door will close automatically and lock them in. (Don't worry, you can program it to close after they all go in and it and our recommendations have safety features so no chickens can get hurt!)
Most of the doors also have an integrated timer option you can use instead of relying on the light if you prefer complete control of your chicken's coop door.
Automatic Coop Door Power Sources
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 automatic door opener for you.
Electrical Automatic Chicken Coop Door Options
- If you have power 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
- May be able to withstand colder temperatures better as batteries slow down, for lack of better words, in the extreme cold
- 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 Door Options
- 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
*Photo from my own Run-Chicken Automatic Coop Door
Solar Powered Automatic Chicken Coop Door Options
- After the initial upfront cost, you don't have to pay for your power source
- More environmentally-friendly
- 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 section of this article shows the best automatic chicken coop door openers.
We chose these options in consideration of our own use and testing, plus looking at the following options:
- 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
And don't worry, car headlights or flashlights will not trigger the sensors to open the door. It will only open with the sunlight and during early daylight hours.
Here are our top picks:
6 Best Automatic Chicken Coop Doors
1. The OMLET Automatic Chicken Coop Door
We had heard a lot about this automatic chicken coop door and were excited to try it out ourselves. So, it arrived in the middle of winter for us here in Canada, and so I installed it on a lovely -18C (-0.4F) day!
I chose the grey door, and did some installation when it arrived before mounting it outside on the coop, but they had a super easy to follow video, and I it put together pretty quickly.
*photo of the control panel while I pre-install it in my house before installing on the coop outside
Installation on the coop itself was quite easy, here are some things I really like about this coop door:
- Has a built-in safety feature so won't ever close on a chicken!
- Optional add on: a chicken coop light so the chickens can find their way when it starts to get dark out
- Option to hardwire it into the coop rather than use the batteries
- Works in up to -20C (-4F) and is waterproof/shatterproof
- Has 3 settings: a light sensing setting (to open and close with sunrise and sunset), a timed setting )to open and close at certain times of the day) and a manual setting (to open and close it yourself)
- Easy installation
*photo of me installing the control panel for the Omlet on my coop
I have to say, we are very impressed with the Omlet door. It is extremely well-built and is super durable. Omlet went through 200 prototypes and 3 years of development to arrive at this final design! You know this company takes it seriously.
I particularly love that the control box is hardwired to the door and can be placed in a convenient location. For myself, I installed this coop door in my run, and the control panel at the front door outside of the run on the coop, so I don't have to walk into the run to change my settings.
And just for reference, I had a chicken fly through the door just after I installed it so she is a small-medium sized bird - it's the perfect sized door.
This automatic chicken coop door gets a big recommendation from me.
*photo of my Omlet coop door install with a chicken sneaking in!
2. The RUN-CHICKEN Automatic Chicken Coop Door
This RUN-CHICKEN door is a third generation model and is a door that we personally have used and tried over a year and a half.
This made our list of recommendations because it is sturdy, has easy installation, 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.
*photo of me installing the Run Chicken coop door
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, and we were quite happy with it!
Here is the video from my YouTube channel, watch how I installed and tried this door out:
YouTube: The Farmers Cupboard
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.
Yes, this is the automatic door that we personally installed and we can confirm installation was extremely easy (less than 10 minutes).
It works right out of the box with the photo sensor, and it is sturdy and safe for our chickens, and is another door that comes highly recommended from us.
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 automatically and close at the same time every morning and night
- It has a light sensing 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.
3. 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 automatic coop door kit has a sensor for light 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.
4. The 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 timer and a sensor for light. You are able to set the time for when you want to let your chickens out in the morning and you can adjust the opening/closing mode depending on time of year. Or, you can go with the automatic settings with the light detector.
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.
You can also watch their demonstration video here.
5. 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 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.
6. My Chicken Door Automatic Chicken Coop Door
My Chicken Door is self-calibrating and has light sensing capabilities 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 sensing 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.
Automatic Chicken Coop Door Options: Conclusion
We hope you learned so much about automatic doors and that you found one to perfectly suit your chicken coop and to make life easier for you, the chicken keeper! I absolutely love our automatic door on our 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.
Here are some other questions people are asking about automatic chicken coop door openers:
Common Chicken Coop Door Questions
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 well-built, will be unable to be forced open when it is closed and has a safety sensor so no chickens will get stuck in it when it closes.
Find a high quality coop door and it will work well and be reliable for keeping your chickens safe. Be aware of knock off brands.
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 at night.
It is very important to close the 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 it closes automatically it at night. It makes chicken keeping easier!
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 new coop, consider what size they come in. Most are in the 10" x 12" range, so plan on cutting that size of door out on your coop if you have to do it yourself.
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:
The Mask You Need For Cleaning Out A Coop: See the mask we use for this and many other jobs around the house. It is 1 size fits all so anyone can wear it!
Automatic Chicken Waterers: These are the best if you don't want to refill so often, plus soo the heated options you can use in the winter.
Best Chicken Egg Incubator: It took us years to find the ones we liked, and these will give you the best success rates for hatching your own chicks.
Best Chicken Coop Cameras To Keep Your Flock Safe: Get real time notifications of the predators coming in your coop, or find out who is pecking and breaking your eggs!
Chicken Saddles To Protect Hens From Roosters: This is a game changer if you have a really aggressive roo who is clawing the feathers off of your hens.
Best Ways To Bear Proof Your Coop: Bear proof or predator proof, these are some tried and tested methods.
Did you like this article?
❤️ Here's how you can support our blog:
My name is Linnea and I am a backyard gardening enthusiast! Along with my husband and our two kids (and chickens, ducks, honey bees and our little dog). Our hobby - growing our own food and making our meals from scratch. My blog, The Farmers Cupboard, is the website that blossomed from that passion. I love every second I spend sharing our hobby with like minded backyard growers.
It's easy to support my blog, and it is so appreciated. Please SHARE an article somewhere, pin a photo to your Pinterest board, follow on any of our social medias or sign up for our newsletter! That's it!
These little things help our blog grow and allow us to continue doing what we love: growing good food and sharing what we learn.
PINTEREST PASSIONATE? We're opening up our cupboard to you!
Click on the pin below made just for you. It will bring you right to my little Pinterest community, where I would love for you to FOLLOW The Farmers Cupboard and see all of our gardening and backyard dream ideas!
Let's grow good things together!