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

Automatic chicken coop door

automatic chicken doorMark Frauenfelder had an interesting post on his automatic chicken coop door he put together based on an informative page at

The meat of such a contraption is a device known as a drapery motor controller, which takes the guess work out of when the door stops and starts and has some built in safety features.

Be prepared to spend around 100 bucks on the motor once you get it shipped, and maybe 20 to 50 more on the door and rail system. A remote control is available for an additional 20 dollars, just make sure you keep it out of reach from wiley coyotes and the random fox.
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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The company that makes the drapery controller that so many people are using for an automated chicken coop door (including myself) must have been reading all these websites. They have modified their controller to specifically work with chicken coop doors! I found the best information about this through one of their retailer's blog:
Comment by Byron H Tue Mar 2 13:40:00 2010
Another sign that the backyard chicken population is on the rise!
Comment by anna Tue Mar 2 14:09:12 2010

Upon making an Automatic Chicken Coop Door for our coop we researched many different ideas. After building well over five different prototypes we came up with one that we set on our coop and even lured the predators in to see how it held up against them. Over two years later and the door still separate the chickens from what is lurking outside. Also it lets them out at 6AM so I don't have to get up on the weekends. My family enjoys not having to come how early in the evenings to put the girls up since the door locks them all up for the evening. Here is a link to a video of predators trying to get into our coop.

In the past year we have built many of these same doors and sold them on our site but still making the door as simple as possible to install. The average person can install it in a matter of 15 minutes. We have even made an installation video that is on our site. We have never had a complaint about any predators getting through our doors. Now that doesn't sound like that big of a deal until, I tell you that our doors are sold all over the world. US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Czech Republic, Italy ect. We take our time creating these doors and never try to save a few pennies, we used the most expensive glues longer staples, and master carpenters. We even linseed oil our doors to keep the door from swelling in any of the weather conditions that it may come against. We have even created a small trim kit piece we send free with every one of our doors to help benefit our customers. Here is a link to our installation video.

Our door model we created is made with Model D20 Drapery motor. This means unlike most automatic doors it needs no counter weight so this means no unnecessary counter weight maxing out the weight limit on the door or causing the door lines to get tangled up and jam the door.

If you would like to check it out our site is

Comment by Jeremy Smith Wed Jun 22 16:51:28 2011
Your site and door look great! Mark's been doing a series on these openers, and he says that if you're interested in more free advertising, he'd be willing to review it if you send us a copy. Drop me an email --- --- if you're interested.
Comment by anna Wed Jun 22 18:33:15 2011

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