Automation has come to our hobby farm. We installed an automatic chicken coop door earlier this year for extra protection against predators given our prior losses.
The simplest model (which is the one we purchased) provides automatic opening and closing with a daylight sensor or a set time schedule operation. The amount of daylight that triggers opening or closing is fully adjustable. It also includes a freeze protect feature with an adjustable temperature setting so that the door won’t open if it is below the set temperature (we set ours at 17 degrees). Our door requires external power but we already had power outlets in our coop so that wasn’t a big issue for us.
More expensive models include those general features plus more features such as internet monitoring, a solar panel power source, and additional sensors that can automatically run coop cooling fans if the temperature exceeds the thresholds.
All of the models use a screw drive door which opens and closes slowly but is strong enough to prevent predators like raccoons from lifting the door. The door moves slow enough that there is no chance a chicken would get stuck in the door.
After installation, it took a few days for our chickens to adjust to the door because it looks a bit different from the old door.
The chickens now enjoy getting outside earlier in the day as they get to go outside just after sunrise instead of waiting for one of us to wake up and open the door for them.
It is also really helpful in the evenings as we can be sure the coop door is securely closed just after sunset even if we are busy or away from the farm at the time.