The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Alarm clock chicken coop opener

diy automatic chicken coop door opener


Mark Stead from Melbourne Australia has created a clever, low budget, automatic chicken coop door opener that takes advantage of a cheap alarm clock.

I estimate he's spent around 45 bucks, which is not bad compared to commercial units over twice that.

What makes this design cost less is the fact that you still have to manually close the door at night. His instructions are clear with a generous helping of images to guide you.

I'm thinking this alarm clock opener could be modified to also close at night by incorporating the Chris and Keri limit switch method. Automatic chicken door


Edited to add:


After years of research, Mark eventually settled on
this automatic chicken door.

You can see a summary of the best chicken door alternatives and why he chose this version here.

If you're planning on automating your coop, don't forget to pick up one of our chicken waterers.  They never spill or fill with poop, and if done right, can only need filling every few days or weeks!



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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.



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It just occured to me that the reason the Chris and Keri automatic chicken coop door opener was able to close is the fact that the drill they used had the ability to reverse itself, a feature the alarm clock does not have.
Comment by mark Mon Jul 26 09:10:27 2010

@mark: The mechanism does have a closing switch - but does not have a sensor to detect when the door is closed. So you have to manually close the door, and then return the switch to the auto position.

Ultimately though, the problem is that the clock is a 12 hour clock, and the "alarm" simply goes off twice a day. Perhaps it would be possible to trigger the door to close when the alarm activates the 2nd time, but the timing will usually be wrong. For example in late spring now, the chickens are waking around 5:30AM (daylight savings time), and go to bed around 7:30PM.

It would probably make sense to use a light sensor to close the door - or even just use a light sensor to do both.

Comment by Mark Stead Fri Nov 5 09:28:19 2010
Thanks for dropping by and clarifying! I love watching the ingenuity of each inventor of a unique chicken coop door opener like this.
Comment by anna Fri Nov 5 13:47:38 2010





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