Saturday, March 31, 2012

Another automatic chicken door.

Outside of coop before installing new chicken door.
Inside of coop, old chicken butler that needs to be removed.
I just love the concept of an automatic chicken door.  I cannot imagine anyone who has lost chickens to predators not wanting one.  My first one was a bust, the chicken butler, I installed two of them and they both were too finicky and broke.  It was either the chickens, the design, the predators or my teenager daughter that caused the butler to fail so quickly.  Either way, not designed correctly.  I happened across an add in craigslist of a gentleman who builds his own in Portland.  I contacted his wife and she packaged and mailed me one.  Only cost me $110, less than 50% of what I paid for the chicken butler.  I just got it in the mail yesterday, so it was installation time.  We had fallen back into our wonton ways and were not locking up the chickens at night.  Its dark out there!  Hence the need for a new automatic door.  I had not done a head count in a month either and our egg production was slipping so I feared the worse (another predator).  Sarah and I went out to survey the requirements needed for installation.

When installing our chicken butler I had to make a frame for it to be mounted against.  This needed to be torn off.  But after looking at the new door it needs to be attached directly to the outer wall.  I have insulated walls and old paneling on the walls.  Which means cutting a much larger hole to accommodate the new chicken door.  The new door doesn't have a name.  Any good product needs a distinctive name, I have decided to name it the "POULTRY PROTECTOR"!  The Poultry Protector has a built in light sensor that needs to see the daylight.  Once I cut away everything inside the coop I will need to drill a hole to the outside so the eye can get some light.

Inside of coop with Poultry Protector installed.
I just used my zip it to cut the paneling.  It is not a precision tool, but hey, at this point it is just the coop.  It needs to work but doesn't have to be perfect.  It took a couple of tries to get the right height.  My old opening was framed, but the Poultry Protector was a little too snug, that problem was corrected with the judicious use of a hammer.  Once the door was installed I had to adjust it so it opened.  I kept screwing with the adjusting knob to get the sensitivity right and blew the fuse (already a better product, it has a fuse!).  I changed the fuse and it worked fine.  The opening is slightly smaller.  My only improvement  for this product is to have it not touch the base plate.  I would have the base plate come up against the back of the door so if mud or poop built up it could not keep the door from closing.


Outside, hole for sensor, smaller opening.







The use of a piece of threadall means you have positive closing and opening and the rope doesn't pinch itself and cease to function. 

We have two hens that are brooding.  I checked both of them yesterday.  One was sitting on four eggs and the other had no eggs.  So I gave the no egg hen six eggs.  We are going to let them try and hatch the eggs.  We will have to clean out the chick area in the next 25 days just in case they actually manage to hatch some babies.  I also counted hens, there are still 27 hens and one rooster.  My light had burned out in the coop so I changed the bulb.  More eggs should be coming directly.  I will do my monthly egg reports tomorrow.  I only used 100# of food last month.  If I can keep the feed usage down the chickens may actually pay for themselves this year.   I am going to start in on the barn today.  I will be sure and get some before pictures.