I recently started keeping my own chickens and have really enjoyed the whole experience. The chickens were all really friendly and provided hours of amusement. Until a few weeks ago I had 4 of our feather friends in a nice Coop.
That was fine until one night, for the first time ever, we forgot to close the door to the coop. Unfortunatley the fantastic Mr Fox must have been casing the joint for some time and siezed his opportunity. Three of the chickens were nowhere to be seen, the fourth lay dead under our rhubarb.
So why am I telling you all this sad tale? well, I have stumbled accross a solution to this ever happening again. On Ebay I can purchase a 'VSB Automatic door opener', but it'll cost about Â£100. This is also not ideal as by current door for the coop opens horizontally not vertically, which would mean replacing the door. I'm also concerned that the light unit will be underneath a roof with this design, so it may close prematurely, leaving the chickens trapped in the yard.
I'd like to have a go at making my own automatic closer for the coop, possibly solar powered (with a rechargeable battery) that could be mounted to the side of the coop. I don't mind adapting the door to make a vertical opener, if that makes the project easier.
The specs for the bought units are:
Compact geared motor with steel gears ensuring extremely long life.
Battery life now 3 to 4 years with an HS sliding gate or 2 years with a 1.5-kg sliding gate featuring a 50-cm lift.
Dorkeeper operates considerably more quietly now.
Thanks to 40-kg breaking strength, the rope can hardly break any more.
Electronic shutdown of motor within one second when the sliding gate is blocked.Once the blockage is removed, the sliding gate will be opened within three minutes.
The strain on the batteries is virtually negligible.
Tensile force: 200 g to to 3 kg, with idler UR on the sliding gate (pulley) 6 kg.
Does anyone have an ideas how to make something suitable/similar? I have included photo's of the coop showin the current method for closing (Metal foding arm)