Looking for an automatic chicken door, and don’t know where to start?
Below, we won’t just review the best automatic chicken coop door openers. We’ll also explain why you need one, what they cost, and which one we’d choose.
Why Use An Automatic Chicken Coop Door?
We’ve all been there. After dinner, kick back and relax. Maybe watch the TV for an hour or two.
That is, until you realize it’s been dark for hours, and you’ve not tucked your girls in for the night. They’re cold, scared and completely exposed to predators.
I have to confess, it was only after a few times of this happening, that I started investigating what I could better to protect my chickens, and that’s when I came across a range of automatic chicken door openers.
Depending on the type you decide to buy, you can close your coop using a remote (the fact the remote is in plain site is a big enough reminder to close the coop for the night).
Alternatively, you could go with an automatic door that works on a timer.
Types of Chicken Coop Door Openers
Chicken coop door openers all use the same basic components. They’ll use a sliding door, motor and some kind of sensor (the sensor used depends on the type of automatic chicken coop door you have.
Remote controlled door openers have an integrated sensor, that’s trigger when you push the remote, just as you would when turning your TV on and off.
Timer controlled chicken coop doors need to be programmed by you. You can set the time and the motor kicks in to open and close the door. Obviously, you’ll want to adjust this periodically, as the time for dusk and dawn changes over the seasons.
If you don’t want to be faffing with remote controls, nor do you want to be changing timer settings on a periodic basis, a light controlled chicken door opener is for you.
These automatic chicken coop doors use a light sensor to determine when to open and close.
How Much Do They Cost?
If you’re expecting the cost of an auto coop door to be the price of a bit of timber, and a few bits of wiring, you’re in for a shock.
A unit from a quality manufacturer is going to cost in the region of $200-300. The actual cost depends on the manufacturer, and the type of door you choose.
The Best Automatic Chicken Coop Door Brands
Log onto any well known e-commerce store, and you’ll find a ton of automatic chicken door brands selling products. The question is, which brands are the best?
In my opinion, there are only two brands worthy of my cash. And, they are:
- Chicken Guard
- Happy Henhouse
The Best Automatic Chicken Coop Door Openers
We’ve read just about every single review and product description from 100s of products, and that’s enabled us to get our shortlist down to just two brands.
Below, we will review products from Chicken Guard and Happy Henhouse.
And, we will also give our review verdict. After all, we want to know which one is the best!
Chicken Guard Extreme
Chicken Guard are one of our favorite brands. But, they don’t produce just one model. In fact, they produce three, those are the:
The Standard unit is reasonably basic, and for a few extra bucks, you can grab the Premium or Extreme edition.
The Premium beats the Standard, simply because it has a light sensor. But, if you’re going to invest money in a quality chicken coop door opener, you might as well go all-in. The Chicken Guard Extreme beats the Premium unit, as it includes:
- Ability to work in extreme weather conditions [perfect if you live in a cold, hot or wet area]
- A large door lift capacity of 4kg (8lbs), meaning the motor isn’t under strain, so will last longer.
Here’s what we like about the Chicken Guard Extreme:
Power & Life
Cheap chicken door openers have one downfall; they can only be used off mains power. And, that’s no good if your coop is located a sizable distance from your property.
The Chicken Guard Extreme, can be used on mains or with batteries. Better still, you’ll get up to 6 MONTHS usage out of one battery pack (4 AA batteries). And, there’s even a USB port, giving you the option to plug-in an external power supply.
Ease of Use
You don’t exactly need a BA in Computer Science to work the Chicken Guard Extreme. And, that’s useful, because I don’t have one.
Unlike the cheaper units on the market, you can tell Chicken Guard has spent plenty of time on R&D, making this easy to use. The user interface is ridiculously easy to use, even when it comes to changing settings.
Simplicity of Setup
If you’re investing in a cheap automatic chicken coop door opener, you can look forward to a box of wires, alien components and probably very little in the way of instruction too.
That’s not the case with the Chicken Guard Extreme. It’s super easy to setup.
All you need to do is attach the door opener to your coop, hook up the cord to the door, and you’re good to go. You can get yourself setup in a matter of minutes.
You’re spoilt for choice with the Chicken Guard extreme:
- Open and close manually
- Set a timer to automatically open and close
- Setup the light sensor to close dusk, and open at dawn.
What other option do you need?
You really do get what you pay for in life, and this is a prime example. The Chicken Guard Extreme is one of the more expensive automatic chicken door openers on the market, but it’s worth every cent. And, that’s not just because of everything we’ve mentioned above.
The build quality of the Extreme, is second to none. Manufactured in Great Britain, they’re built to military grade stands, with all electronics protected by a casing and epoxy resin; that’s what gives it the ability to survive in the toughest of conditions.
Happy Henhouse Automatic Chicken Door Opener
After researching tons of different automatic chicken door openers, alongside the Chicken Guard Extreme, we liked the Happy Henhouse kit.
Although it won’t withstand the super extreme conditions that the Chicken Guard will, rain, as well as mild rain and sleet, certainly won’t phase it.
Power & Life
Like the Chicken Guard Extreme, you’ll be able to power the Happy Henhouse coop door, using 4 AA batteries (not included); no need for mains hook up!
As we’ve already mentioned, there are SOME cheaper chicken coop door openers that run on batteries too. The problem? You’ll be swapping out the batteries regularly, as their units just aren’t efficient enough to conserve battery power.
Ease of Use
You’ll see from Happy Henhouse’s product detail, they’ve sold thousands. But, that’s no comparison to Chicken Guard, who already have over 50,000. And, in our opinion, a lot of that is due to the fact the Happy Henhouse door opener is incredibly basic, and a bit fiddly to use.
Simplicity of Setup
The simplicity of setup of the Happy Henhouse is comparable to Chicken Guard’s door opener. You’ll need to cut a 8” x 10” hole in your coop to mount the door, then mount the control box above it.
Apart from that, it’s plug-in and play!
Whilst the Happy Henhouse is limited in terms of closing/opening settings, it does utilize the most important light sensor based opening and closing setting.
So, when the solar powered light sensor detects sunlight in the morning, it will open. And, when it stops detecting sunlight in the evening, it closes to keep your chickens safe.
Obviously, the Chicken Guard includes both the manual and timer closing/opening options, but in our opinion, they’re not necessarily needed.
The Happy Henhouse auto coop door opener sits in the mid-point in terms of price range. It’s not a cheaply made kit, but at the same time, you’ll have a few bucks change in comparison to buying the kit from Chicken Guard.
Chicken Guard or, Happy Henhouse?
Both products have their positives and negatives. However, based on countless hours of research and all things considered, we’d be heading straight for the Chicken Guard Extreme.
But why, given it does cost a little bit more, and both brands are viable options?
Well, as we’ve mentioned, you get what you pay for. And, the additional investment (which is actually fairly minimal in the grand scheme of things), delivers a higher quality product, that’s going to last the test of time.
Although they’re not 100% necessary, the additional opening/closing options, are a bonus.
But, more importantly it’s the:
- Ease of setup
- The incredibly simple to use user interface
- The exceptional military grade build quality.
You’ll notice a distinct difference between the Chicken Guard and Happy Henhouse products in all those areas; in Chicken Guard’s favor.