By Mark Frauenfelder at 10:09 pm Wed, Apr 15, 2009
On Dinosaurs and Robots I wrote about an automatic chicken coop door I built over the weekend.
That looks fantastic! I’ve been thinking about using the automated curtain system, but most of the motors are pretty expensive. Personally I just need to close the coop door at night to keep those horrendous monster coons away from the flock. I used a lamp timer and a door lock actuator and build the following: http://www.nifty-stuff.com/auto-coop-door-prototype.php
Not perfect (yet) but a good proof of concept. :)
This is diabolical. And believe me, I don’t use that word lightly around here.
You’re not fooling me, Mark. I know a guillotine when I see one.
I am considring something like this for my chickens, except they like to go out at 4:30 AM. Sunrise is WAY too late. They will crow and cluck from starting around 4:30-5:30 in the morning until we let them out.
So, what I envision creating is something that can use audio as a trigger. Something like, “5 crows in a 5 minute period, open the door”
Or I could just put it on a timer.
Pretty awesome, Mark. I’m struggling right now with a redesign of my chicken coop doors. I had thought of the guillotine-style door, but I don’t have time to implement that this year, not even in a manual configuration, far less that sweet automatic thing you got going there. I love seeing how backyard flock keepers house their chooks.
counting the birds – you are over thinking this. Besides it would be VERY difficult to get an accurate count of in/out. The birds don’t go in or out one at a time but often in clumps and often very rapidly. No photo-eye method would work.
Besides – if it’s dark outside the birds are all up on their roosts. We don’t have an automatic door (though I am thinking about one). We don’t chase the birds in – we just wait until the sun is down and twilight is fading and close the door. Maybe one or two have stayed out – but we haven’t noticed.
genius Mark! Have you made an auto-feeder yet?
Can chickens be taught to use a cat, err, chicken-flap?
@1: Automatic timer, sadly.
But Jupiter BFPOE is right: we the people demand to see actual live chickens using the automatic actual live chicken coop door!
Chickens are diurnal, raccoons are nocturnal. Why use a timer when you could just use a photocell, a resistor, and a relay?
Mark: You are having way too much fun with these chickens. Am I jealous? Hell yea!
Perhaps what we need is a Mini-ITX PC running linux, calculating exact sunrise/fall times for your location. Imbedded RFID chips would track each birds habits and adapt door openings accordingly.
Perhaps you could train your hens to peck a PCIC (Personal Chicken Identification Code) using a 3 colour tactile pad. Other varmints might look over your biddy’s shoulder and learn the code, so RFID might be better.
Or perhaps you could outsource your door operating chores to a Virtual Assistant somewhere, and have them control it via that Internet thing I keep hearing about.
I may be over-thinking this problem, but why use a simple cheap solution like your automatic curtain puller, when you can spend weeks developing a more Goldbergian solution?
I too would like to see this in action, chickens and all.
Also, why do the chickens get an automatic garage door and i dont even get a garage???
You know who else had people raising animals and livestock to feed their families during times of war.
That’s right, Hitler and the Nazis!
And did you know there is a vegetable garden in our very own White House, a change brought about by Barrack HUSSEIN OBAMA!
And look, I just found an article on the various wild chickens than run RAMPANT in HAWAII!!!
The country that isn’t even connected to our UNITED STATES that our SOCIALIST president was BORN IN!!!!!!
Do you know why chicken coops have two doors?
Because if they had four doors, they’d be a chicken sedan!
Hi, have anyone seen this?
I used it and it works well. My son had to install it though. THe thing is technologicaly too much for me. But it WORKS! I just set the time from inside and it opens and closes at the time.
… and if the chickens get bored waiting for the door to open, they can always exit via the huge gaping hole in the coop to the right.
I have been looking around at the wonderful coop door solutions and at the commercial prices. I guess for starters I’d like to get something going like the bucket a.m and p.m. idea someone described that also keeps the water fresh. With a flock of 28 birds to get out each morning and get in safely each night I’m wondering if anyone has tried some kind of counter as well? There is the problem of late arrivals or (gasp ) no shows like if one or more get taken out during the day somehow like a car, dog or hawk! But it would be nice to have the door shut as soon as everyone is in inside right away. A counter could do that. But if there was a missing bird a later door closer would kick in by default. Then there is the straggler circuit that would be able to sense the weight or body temp of a bird and opens the door up for only a bird that shows up late. I don’t know if the predator list would possibly have a type that would too closely match a bird screen these ways though. Thanks for the great encouragement!
Yes, but have you taught the chickens how to use the remote control? You do realize, that would be the first step towards “Planet of the Chickens.”
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