Automatic Chicken Coop Door

Protecting chickens from predators is an on-going concern. Hungry animals come across the lawn, they dig under fences, and they fly into pens. I know of no fenced run that is predator proof; a weasel can squeeze through a two-inch gap between the fence and a door. A fisher cat can rip off hawk netting. The danger is worse at night and I believe that you should close up your hens as soon as they’ve gone in to roost. Pop doors need to be secured from the inside because a raccoon is capable of prying open a latch.

The danger of a predator attack begins at sundown, but as much as I want to shut up the barns right at sundown, I’m not always home, and I’m not willing to have my schedule be totally dictated by the animals in my backyard. LIke many things in life, I balance my needs against the risks.  An automatic door closer can help. These electronic doors open and close at sunrise and sunset, and are either on timers or are light sensitive. I know of plenty of people who rely on them.

However, in all my years of keeping chickens, I’ve never used an automatic coop door closer. For the first 8 years I didn’t have electricity in the henhouse. Now that I do, I also have goats and a rabbit and dogs, all of which all need attention and require my presence. I’m always home within a few hours of sundown, if not, I have someone stop in to check on the animals. Also, Candy, having a wicked sense of bunny humor, used to sit on the pop door ledge and block the hens from going in at night. I worried that if I did use an automatic door, that the girls would have been stuck outside. Also, a rabbit needs to be secured safely in her own hutch – not something an automatic pop door can do!

Despite not having automatic doors here, when I thought through how to protect the hens at the nursing home, I knew that an automatic door was a necessity for that flock. Although the coop run has hardware cloth all around, there are gaps near the door into the run that wouldn’t provide nighttime protection.

back view

Also, staffing changes daily, as does the time that the coop needs to be secured at night, and opened in the morning. An automatic door solved that scheduling issue.The coop was purchased prewired for electricity, and an automatic chicken door was installed. is the manufacturer of this automatic chicken door.


It has several nice features. If the power goes out, it will run on reserve battery power. It’s made in the USA by some really fine people. You can chose to have either a timer or a light-sensitve opener.

door open

You can select a right or left opening door. I ordered the wrong one, which will be replaced, so that the view of the chicken ramp isn’t blocked.

There are plenty of other options out there. Some doors slide up. There are YouTube videos about how to build your own. Let me know if you have experience with an automatic pop door. Now if only I could figure out how to close the rabbit up at night… and the goats…


  1. Hi Terry. I made a mistake with an automatic chicken door in my new coop. It just sits there, unused. Mine doesn’t have reserve battery power – big mistake! And an expensive mistake! Every time we have a brown out or an outtage, even though we have a generator, the door closes if open, and opens if closed.

    Reserve battery power is the key. Thank you for posting this. I’ve been wanting to leave an angry, scathing review of my chicken door online, but have thus far kept myself in check. ;)

  2. Hello Terry,
    I watch and I follow your suggestions. This is how my girls are staying safe. Occasionally, I need a clearer picture. My question today is, should I lock up the coop window also. It has a strong gauge mesh on it that I’m sure nothing could chew through. Doc secured the mesh to the wall outside the window with 2X4 strips. Still, I worry something will find a way. What do you think Terry? Predator would have to find a way into run to get to window. Then get through window to get to hens. I leave it open for air circulation on warm nites. I opted out of the automatic door because I was afraid one would get locked out if it didn’t go in on time. Also, I want to tidy and check run for predator entry before letting hens out in morning. I wanted one for the convenience, but part of the reason for getting the chickens is to get me outside doing things. I tend to hibernate in the house. Any help will be and is always appreciated.

    • That sturdy wire mesh (called hardware cloth) will keep the predators out. I know how well built your coop is and I’m sure that Doc made it secure. BTW, I too use the chickens as an excuse to get outside, so I’m happy to have to wake up and let them out.

      • I did nothing before I got the chickens, except household chores. Now, because of the chickens, I can bend and touch my toes and I feel stronger. They have done so much in such a little bit of time. Bonus, they are so sweet and cute. Glad I found chickens and glad I found Hencam. Thanks for answering.

  3. I have an automatic coop door that runs on a battery and is light sensitive. I have had it for a full year now and it opens at dawn and shuts at dusk. This means I don’t have to go out before five in the morning. The drawback is that although the girls always go in on time in winter, during the middle part of the summer (now) they don’t get in on time. It’s not a problem to me as I am always here or if out I am back shortly after dusk and as the girls perch on a high perch above the coop, I simply lift them down and put them in. They are so used to me doing this that they make no protest and it only takes a few minutes. I realise that wouldn’t work for everyone though. We haven’t had to replace the battery yet,

  4. There is an iPhone app that can be used to remotely open and close garage doors (Liftmasters) and fence gates, lock and unlock doors, and turn on and off lights. Maybe in the future they could do something for chicken coop doors. Combined with your webcam, letting the chickens in and out would be a breeze no matter where you happen to be at the time.

  5. My question is when I look at this door what keeps it from being forced open? I can see a crafty coon getting his little mitts in the opening in the door and jamb and forcing it open.

    • I know where you are coming from but my coop is in a predator proof run and in England it’s foxes we have to worry about not the more difficult predators that you have. I would not trust the coop door if wasn’t in a run that I have made predator proof.

  6. Terry perhaps a silly comment or question but cant you kist flip the door and then it will open the correct way? i would think they would be kind of universal

  7. Forgive me for an off subject comment–I’m getting a kick out of the fact that Phoebe seems to have staked out a cool spot under the nesting boxes, while a hen has taken up residence in the rabbit hutch. Never a dull moment.

      • Miss Twiggy, the leggy chicken model, has been quite fascinated with Phoebe’s “runway” for some time, but today was the first time I had seen her actually go inside the hutch! So funny! Made herself quite at home it seemed.

        • And no one has mentioned Twinkydink, who made a nest in the hutch in order to lay an egg. I kicked her out. Phoebe would happily give the hutch to the hens if she’d be allowed to move full-time into the coop.

  8. We’ve had an automatic door on our coop for a year and it has been especially great in the mornings because I’m definitely not an up-with-the-sun person. During the summer, our girls want to roost in the run at night so we are usually going out to say goodnight and move them into the coop. That’s fun with the 3 but would be not so much if we had a bigger flock. I’m still fiddling with the roost height in the run and want to put another window in the coop so that the coop will be more enticing at bedtime. Even though our run is thoroughly encased in hardware cloth and dug into the ground 10″, I am still afraid of a raccoon getting into the run and being able to figure out how to open the automatic door. They were able to figure out how to open my “locking” cat door by hooking the door with a claw and pulling it towards them to open it. Crafty critters!

    • They are dextrous and clever! The manufacturer claims it is predator proof. There’s no place for the animal to hold onto to pull it open.

  9. Makes me glad to be in Aus, where everything can kill you, but very few things want to eat chooks. Foxes are about the only consideration in my suburban area.

    • Correct me if I am wrong but foxes are not native to Aus. but were brought in to control the rabbit population and of course rabbits are not native either.

      • They were also brought in because the English settlers also wanted to do fox hunts in Australia as well. Won’t be surprised either is raccoons or possums have become invasive in Australia as well. I now raccoons have in Europe.

  10. Looks like the “Little Barn” hens had a sleepover last nite. Phoebe was the guest of honor. Now how cute is that? Lovin It…….

  11. Tee hee – I noticed that too this morning. Phoebe attended a sleep over last night!

  12. We have a pop door that slides up and down. My clever husband built it and is very proud. :) ( the one and only thing I don’t like about it is that sometimes when it’s very rainy and wet, the wood expands enough to make it a little hard for the door to slide down with ease. It just needs a little push. )
    I am like you and love having the reason to get up early and head outside every morning.

  13. I love, love, LOVE my automatic pop door! It runs on AA batteries, I don’t have electricity out to the coop so this works great. I am up for work by 5:30 AM and want to sleep in on weekends! Also my girls are always inside roosting by dusk when it closes.

  14. So I am a little confused. I have read so much about the health of the animals, chickens and rabbits, when they live together. We have 5 chickens, three pullets, two roos (they were all supposed to be girls) that are about three months old. Additionally, we have 5 chicks that are one month old (not sure if male or female, we bought them unsexed). We also have a rabbit that is about three months old.
    Now this is my situation. It seems like I have done so much backwards. We bought the chickens, the older ones, and the rabbit without really being prepared. My sweet hubby made me a 2 1/2′ x 6′ enclosed “box/house.” It is in my rec room which has AC and outdoor carpet. My daughter bought a small chicken coop for the rabbit. During the day, we let all six of them out in an area of approximately 150 square feet that is enclosed with electric netting. At night, the chickens go into their “house” and the rabbit gets put up in his “house.” We are almost finished with the real hen house. (That’s another story in itself.) The little chicks are still in a large box and during the day, I put them in the “box/house” that the big chickens sleep in.
    We moved the rabbit’s “house” into the new area, by the new hen house. While I do not think that there will be a problem while they are all outside, I am concerned that if the rabbit goes into the hen house and the chickens decide to go after him, there will be no place for him to go if the automatic door is closed. What are your thoughts?

    • Lillian, you have a lot going on here. The rabbit and the chickens should get along. I don’t keep a rabbit with a rooster as that is inviting trouble. I don’t use an automatic door because the rabbit, unlike the hens, does not go to bed at dark. Your rabbit could be trapped outside without protection if you use an automatic door. Next, I don’t believe in keeping roosters in close confines, and certainly not two adult roos together in a tight space. Unless you can free-range or keep roosters as part of a breeding program, you shouldn’t have them. Also, if you do keep roosters, plan on at least 8 hens per roo. So, a lot of decisions for you – you have too many roosters for the space and for the plan of keeping a rabbit with them. Perhaps your husband has an additional building project? :)

  15. Terry, thank you for your feedback. We are trying to sell one of the roos right now. I actually started with 8 chicks; again, all were supposed to be female, and have given away 3 of the roos. Not everyone wants one :) My hopes is that the big chickens will be in the new house Saturday morning. I did not know about eight hens per roo. Thank you for that info. It’s kinda funny because my original plans were to start with the eight pullets and then get a roo.
    You are right when you said that I have a lot of decisions to make. Too many! The funny thing is that the rabbit belongs to my daughter who is about to go off to college. What was I thinking when I said yes to her??? I just don’t really know where to begin. I wish someone would say, “Here’s my suggestion, do x, y, and then z”.

  16. Hi Terry,
    I wanted to let you know that I bought the Pullet Shut door recently. And it’s because I saw it here! I wanted to test it out before I wrote you. It is so fabulous! My coop is down a hill from the house and it can be quite exhausting going up and down twice a day (maybe I’ll gain 10 pounds now! Hope not.) and so I thought this door was worth a shot! The gals don’t have to wait in the morning before I’m able to get down there to be let out. It’s a super easy install too which is why I really liked it. Made in the USA doesn’t hurt either! Love that! Thank you for featuring this door here on your blog. It saved me from doing a ton of internet research. Sometimes (most of the time) I’m more confused than I was when I started! Here’s a cup on me!