Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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Automatic chicken door

Automatic chicken doorMark has been an armchair automatic chicken coop door explorer for years now, reading every website he can find about the topic.  His inventive side loves the various options available for making your own automatic door, including:

I've listed the options he stumbled across from cheapest to most expensive, but you should keep in mind that the list is also from least to most likely to work over the long haul.  I don't think I'd depend on anything much below the power antenna level ($35 plus timer, wood, and hardware) if I cared about my flock and had predators around.

Mark also spent time looking at all of the pre-made door options out there.  Nearly all of them are based on a drapery motor, and he finally concluded that it would actually cost just as much to make our own drapery motor-based chicken door opener/closer than to buy one of the pre-made options once you factor in the associate wood and hardware.

When we moved the chickens to a coop and pasture arrangement, Mark was finally able to scratch that automatic chicken door itch.  Our broilers were sliding under the gate and foraging in the woods every day, and we wanted to let them keep free ranging after they got too big for that trick.  But I was concerned that it would just be too tempting for predators if we opened a door from the coop directly into the wild --- our dog patrols there now and then, but she usually stays on the other side of the coop in the garden area.  Time for an automatic chicken coop door!

Premade chicken doorJeremy Smith's automatic chicken coop door is on the high end ($206.94 for the pre-made version once you factor in shipping), but his door is the easiest to install and is clearly high quality.  The whole thing is already boxed in, so all you have to do is tack the door module between two studs 16 inches apart and plug it in.  The hardest part will probably be figuring out how to work the enclosed timer.  (Don't worry, it comes with instructions.)

A friend recently lost his entire flock to a fox attack and my father lost all but one of his birds for the same reason.  A really good dog is the best solution to predators, but if your chickens range past the dog's home turf, you'd probably be better off trying out one of the automatic chicken coop door options.

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I've often considered having an automatic door on my coop, but I'm worried that the foxes will get any birds which forget to go to bed at night! Have you had much success with yours?
Comment by chicken coops late Monday afternoon, July 18th, 2011
So far so good, although the chickens found their way into the garden, so I had to close that door until I can fence the area in.... The seller of these doors markets them as predator proof, so as long as your hens go inside, you're golden. Our chickens never forget to go to bed --- I think that if yours do, they probably don't like something about the coop.
Comment by anna early Thursday morning, July 21st, 2011

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