Raising chickens is not an easy task. The chances of them being hunted by ground predators always remain high. We believe when predators kill the livestock birds, it is usually a human error. Now, many think that getting a durable door for the coop will solve the problem of not having an adequate level of protection.
Well, even though they might offer a good amount of protection, you would need to open and close them manually. So, there is a chance of you forgetting to close them. That is why people want to learn about automatic chicken coop door DIY.
Yes, it is possible to make them by yourself, but most of the processes are a bit too complicated. And especially if you are a newbie, you will find the process time-consuming and demanding too much effort. Well, that is where we step in.
We have got enough experience with these automatic doors. And we will instruct you on an easy process of making them on your own. So, sit back, get yourself a hot beverage, and continue reading!
How to Make a DIY Automatic Chicken Coop Door
We like simple things, which is why we have gone through the process of making the automatic chicken coop door multiple times. And from numerous trials and errors, we have managed to get a simplified method for making the door.
Also, to keep things simple, we have huddled an easy-to-follow step-by-step process. And the steps are as follows:
Step 1: Getting the Required Materials
Before anything else, you need to get yourself the materials required for the project. As we have said, this is a simple guide. For that reason, the parts we are going to utilize will be all easy to get access to. That being said, the parts you are going to need are as follows:
- Electric car antenna
- Power supply
- Multiple types of wires
- Terminal Strip
- Aluminum C Channel
- Small switch
- Voltage Meter
- Solar panel
- A solar regulator
Most of the electric parts we have mentioned above should be available at your nearest hardware shop. However, for some parts, you might have to rely on online sites. On that note, the power supply we are going to use here should be 12 volts. So, any 12 volts battery will work like a charm in this case.
For the screws, you will require a set of small ones for the C Channel. And a set of large-sized ones to screw the whole system together. Also, the voltage meter and the small switch are optional for this project.
Apart from all of the parts, you would also require some tools. However, do not worry because we are not going to work with any intricate tools here. With that out of the way, these are the tools you are going to require:
- Hot glue
- Bench saw
- Soldering iron
- Super glue
Once you have sorted out all the parts and the tools, you would need to move along to the next step.
Step 2: Test the Antenna and the Timer
Now that you have got all of the parts and the tools, it is time to test out the electrical parts. And the process to do so is as follows:
- Connect a long wire with the positive end of the power source. Split that wire into two parts. One should lead to an antenna, and the other will lead to the timer. You would also have to split this wire into two more parts. One will go to the switch, and the other one will go to the other port of the timer.
- Then attach a long wire to the negative end of the power source. This will lead to the timer and the antenna. So, there will be two splits. However, the one leading to the antenna will have another split, which will connect directly to the switch. Also, connect the switch to the voltage meter.
- You need to connect another wire. Let us call it the blue wire. This blue wire will start from the timer and connect to the antenna.
- Make sure that the antenna has constant power, or else it will not work adequately. When the power is active, the antenna should retract. And when you attach the blue wire, it will extend.
- Now, test the timer. See whether the antenna retracts when the timer is on. Also, check if the antenna retracts when the timer is off. If this is not the behavior you are getting from the antenna, then the wiring is a bit off. Check the power source and check if the wires are properly connected.
Step 3: Plan Out the Door
After checking the timer and the antenna, you need to move along to the next step, which is to plan out the door. For this, you need to figure out how to mount everything inside the coop.
As you know by now, there are many types of doors. And each of the doors will have a unique arrangement. Even though we would generally encourage you to be creative and plan out the door according to your creativity, we would like to give you a heads up here.
First, the door should be in a location where there is plenty of room. Also, it should be at a high spot in the coop. The reason behind the need for the room and the height is the antenna. If it does not have a good enough space, it will not be able to move up and down properly.
Secondly, the battery is also going to require a good amount of space. So, keep this one in your consideration when you are planning out the door. Nevertheless, we would recommend keeping some extra room. Keeping more room than what you are going to need probably will lower the chances of anything going wrong.
Now that you are done figuring out the location, you need to look into how the design of the door is going to work. It will highly depend on the type of the coop. And it can get quite challenging as well.
However, we would recommend planning the design according to the space you have on the front of the coop. That will make the process easy and straightforward.
Step 4: Make the Door
To make the door, we are going to utilize the C Channel. It is basically the thing that will hold the door in the right position. Now, if you are wondering what a C channel actually is, it is a long piece of aluminum that has the shape of a “C.” That being said, follow this process to make the door:
- Take a long piece of wood. Cut it in two equal lengths. For our case, we have utilized a slab that is 1500 mm x 80 mm. We are also relying on the fence pailings for all of the wooden slabs we needed.
- Grab a piece of the C Channel and get a drill to drill some holes in it. The holes are going to be 300 mm long inside the channel. So, you are going to need to use the larger bits for this. Also, drill out the top of the channel for the screws. Follow this step twice for two of the channels.
- Then, you must attach the C channel into a piece of wooden slab. Use screws for attaching them. Make sure that the wood is straight. If the wood is bent too much, the installation will be crooked. However, a little bend is okay as it will straighten itself once attached to the coop.
- Now, attach the wooden slab to the coop. Here, it would be best if you made sure that the C Channel has the right amount of distance on both the top and the bottom. Do note that the door requires to slide up. And the sliding will be along the channels. So the channel needs to be as straight as possible.
Step 5: Install the Antenna
Next, you should move along to attaching the antenna. And the process for that is as stated:
- First, you need to create a bracket. Use some thicker wood for this. The bracket should have two sides, which will offer extra strength to the whole system.
- Install the wooden bracket into another piece of wood. This piece of wood will be the backing of the bracket. You can use another piece of fence pailing here.
- Now, you need to figure out the process of mounting the antenna into the bracket. Select the right spot for the antenna and screw it onto the very top of the bracket. If you are struggling with this step, we recommend using masking tape. Put it across the two holes in the antenna’s bottom.
Then mark the very middle of the antenna using a pen. Remove the masking tape and then drill the marked region. After this, you should be left with two holes on the top of the bracket, which should line up perfectly with the antenna.
- After that, bolt the antenna right into the place.
- Use some cable tie right by the holes. These cable ties are going to offer extra support to hold the antenna right in place.
Step 6: Attach the Wires
Once you have finished working with installing the antenna, you need to move along to attaching the wires. And for this, the process is as follows:
- Get yourself a piece of wood that is of the same length as the ones you used to mount the antenna.
- Select placement for the timer. Do note that this piece of wood should be attached right to the wooden bracket. For that reason, make sure you select the right placement for the timer. Glue it by using hot glue.
- Now, get the drill and drill two holes on the top and three on the bottom.
- On the back, attach the wire terminal.
- Route the wires from the power to the timer.
- You now should attach the board to the wooden bracket of the antenna.
- Lastly, connect the rest of the wires to the antenna and to the timer.
Step 7: Attach the Antenna to the Coop
To attach the antenna to the coop, use some bolts and nuts. Mount it to the boards that house the C Channel. Try to have it fully extended because this will make the installation process more manageable. Then, superglue the antenna—first, the first length, and then the second length.
After that, cut the antenna accordingly. You must make sure that the antenna is not having an issue while it is fully retracting after cutting. So, cut the antenna properly.
Step 8: Make the Door
Now that the antenna is installed, you need to make the door. First, measure the gap that is in between the C channels. Consider the height from the ground as well. Cut a wooden piece according to the measurements. Slip the door through the C channels and make sure that it can move up and down smoothly.
Step 9: Attach the Antenna with the Door
For connecting the antenna with the door, you need to find a thin and long bolt. Source out a fastener and use a small blow torch, and solder the bolt into the fastener. Then, cut the antenna from the very end and thread it onto the bolt. It would be best if you ended up with the bolt stick out vertically from the antenna.
Step 10: Add a Solar Panel
To keep the whole system running, we recommend connecting the battery with a solar panel. Add necessary wires to it and a solar panel regulator. Next, add the wires to the battery and attach a voltage meter to monitor the battery’s overall condition.
As you can see, making an automatic chicken coop door DIY is not a difficult task at all. All you need to do is follow the steps correctly and get the suitable materials. Also, do make sure that the wirings are correctly connected, or else the system might start to malfunction.