Automatic Chicken Coop Door (Pros and Cons)

3 chickens in photo of chicken run near and on the coop steps with a new automatic door installed above the chickens waterers in run with bark nuggets.
Posted On: August 4, 2023
Last updated: August 14th, 2023

So, you have a great coop now and awesome laying chickens, but are you stressed about keeping your chickens safe?  Are you overwhelmed with the job of locking up and releasing the chickens?

When it comes to keeping chickens, the less time spent on maintenance and upkeep the better. But is an automatic chicken coop door the right choice for your chickens’ security and wellbeing? An automatic door promises the convenience of hands-off maintenance but there are pros and cons to consider. I’ll explore the complexities of an automatic chicken coop door and help you decide if it is the right choice for you. 

Adjusting settings on yellow Automatic chicken coop door just installed.

What is an Automatic Chicken Coop Door?

Automatic coop doors replace wooden or aluminum manual doors you might already have on your chicken coop.  You control when you open and close your chickens off from the outside world with a control unit on the door.  An automatic door has an opening mechanism that uses battery power, electricity or even solar power. The door does the work for you once the chickens return to their roost for the evening.

Old School wooden chicken coop door on our original coop with a metal latch for a carabiner. Snow flurries on the steps and in the chicken run
Here’s our original wooden coop door on our 1st coop.
We’d secure the metal latch with a carabiner.

Advantages of an Automatic Chicken Coop Door

There are many advantages to having an automatic door and most are obvious to you most likely.  

  • Open Coop– You don’t need to open the door to let the chickens out in the early morning.  This will save you a lot of time on busy mornings.  You can set the door to open at a specific time every morning or you can use the “dusk to dawn” feature. This feature opens and closes the door when the sun rises and sets.  An automatic chicken coop door can liberate you from the mundane tasks of opening and closing the coop every day. This is return will give you more free time and a more efficient chicken-raising experience.
  • Close Coop– The opposite,  no need to run down after dusk to lock up the chickens for the night.  Automatic coop doors have different timer modes so you can set it to open and close as you prefer. 
  • Security– It’ll give you peace of mind at night knowing your chickens are protected from potential predators.  The automatic doors closing the chickens in at night once their roosting is a fabulous safety feature you will definitely appreciate.  Let’s not forget, a happy chicken is a great laying chicken.  If your chickens are afraid or feel unsecure, it will be obvious in their egg production going down.
  • Power Automatic chicken doors now feature different power sources.  There are solar-powered and battery powered doors with very long battery life. Most also come with a power supply in case you have power hooked up to your coop.  If you have solar panels down at your coop already then you’re also at an advantage. So, whichever way you prefer to power it, you should have a way that works for your needs.
  • Consistent Routine– Animals are creatures of habit and instinct.  The good thing is that you have complete control of settings to “open” and close” your automatic door. There’s an lcd screen with a control panel on most auto doors that allows you to fully program it to the routine you want to set.  You, as a human being are not quite as consistent and we forget sometimes.  This door will do the work for you automatically so you can help the chickens feel safe and you’ll feel good as well. Say goodbye to daily chicken coop duties with an automatic door.  
2 chickens, one on coop stairs, 1 to right on ground by new auto chicken coop door installed outside in the chicken run

Disadvantages of an Automatic Chicken Coop Door

There are some cons to having an automatic door for sure.  Here are some that we have come across over the years.

  • Weather– Weather can definitely play a part in the opening and closing of your door at times.  Nothing’s perfect.  If you live in an area with four seasons, an automatic door can be finicky in extreme temperatures.  We found that out with our last automatic coop door.  When we had freezing temps for days, some days it would be not want to open, but it wasn’t often, maybe 3 times in a season.  
  • Poop- Chicken Poop happens. Yep, that’s right, I said it.  Poop can play a part in the proper functioning of your automatic door.  Our last automatic door was installed inside the coop because that was the way it was designed to function so sometimes, especially in the winter months when we couldn’t clean the coop as often. The chickens were more “cooped up” so the poop that landed on the mechanism or near the door opening (by the tallest roost) would not allow the mechanism to fully open or close from caked up chicken poop.  Sorry to have to explain all that, but that’s the ugly truth.
  • Time Change/Seasons– You have to keep up on time changes and season changes and adjust as needed.  If you’re relying on the light sensor to open and close your coop, you just need to watch that the sensor isn’t blocked.  We do not use the light sensor and never have because our run would block it and we have too many trees. We set times on the programmable timer so that we know exactly when it will open and close.  As seasons change and the light changes, we adjust the times. 
  • Occasional Glitch– As with anything electronic, things can happen.  We’ve all had fights with a computer glitching or wanted to bash a printer for not working.  Stuff can happen, but in our experience with 2 automatic doors already it’s very rare.  We haven’t had enough glitches to make us feel that the automatic door wasn’t the best option for us. 
Image of original auto coop door on top with chicken standing in doorway with chicken poor on backside of coop wall and on roost.  New auto coop door shown below, installed outside the coop with a black and white and red chicken.
Showing original automatic door above that is installed inside the coop and photo below shows new auto coop door installed outside the coop.

Alternatives to Automatic Chicken Coop Door

If you don’t want to be automated, you can by all means open and close your door the old fashioned way, by running to and from the coop every night and day to open and close the chickens in.  We started out that way, but once we heard about the option of having an automatic door opener, we jumped on it.  If you want better security against predators, you could try an aluminum door or just a heavy duty, heavy wooden door.  I’ve seen all sorts of fancy DIY pull down closers that are very cool, but again, it doesn’t take out the “I’m human and might forget” factor when it comes to opening and closing.  If my husband were left responsible for opening and closing the door every day I think our poor chickens wouldn’t last long…ha! 

Grey chicken coop with yellow auto coop door installed outside the coop with a white, red and black and white chicken outside near the chicken waterers.

Factors to Consider When Deciding

  • Cost- I get it, trust me.  Cost is a big one for us chicken owners, but you have to look at it like an investment.  You’ve already put money into buying or building a coop for your cluckers. So, why not invest just a fraction of that in their security?
  • Installation– How hard is it to make work with your current coop? Do you need to make adjustments to your coop door frame? 
  • Power Source– You want to consider what your best option is for powering an automatic door.  Most doors will give you the option of a power supply which we find to be ideal. Some units take aa batteries also (Like our current/newest coop door) and some are solar-powered.  Some allow you to choose between all of those options, so that’s an added bonus. 
The Chickcozy automatic coop door in the box it came in
Chickcozy automatic door as it comes in the box, fully put together, NO assembly needed.

Our Pick & Why we Love it

We do not have the need to try more than 1 automatic coop door at a time. However, we do have a few years under our belt as “chicken tenders.” We’ve tried 2 different doors with completely different features.  Our initial automatic door did not have any significant issues. It has treated us quite well, so I do recommend the company (Happy Henhouse) for their good product and customer service.  The problem with the door for us now is that we found a better one, a big upgrade.  Our first automatic door was a bit tedious to install and it’s just dated at this point.  There’s just better technology out there. Our new coop door is the ideal choice for us now.  We love how it opens, that it’s installed outside the coop, and the horizontal open-close doors.  It’s a great addition to our already automated chicken coop. Click here or use coupon code WMLCHICK for a 5% discount if you want to get this coop door yourself!

Chickcozy Auto Door Box with saying "The small thing makes a big difference" showing instructions and stickers that come with the door.
The awesome automatic coop door we’re talking about is the Chickcozy Coop Door, we’re so into it!  It is the easiest door I think my husband has ever installed!  

The Plusses:

  • SUPER Easy Installation!  The door comes with an instruction manual with step-by-step easy to read instructions. You can install it in a few minutes with just a few screws.  There’s no complicated wiring or extra stuff you need to worry about.  The only thing you would really need to look up is how to set it, but that’s very easy as well. 
  • Installs Inside or Outside of the Coop– In our case, it’s much easier to install and make any necessary changes to the controls from outside the coop, in the run. 
  • Complete Package– This coop door comes in a complete kit which include the power supply, and even aa batteries.  It’s the little things like that that make 
  • Value– The price of this door is the best value we found for our needs.  
  • Safety Sensors– The chickcozy door has great sensors that will immediately open if there’s an obstruction in the door opening at the time of closing.  You can easily test it with your arm.  It’s great! No squashed chickens.  Our previous coop door did not have this feature. 
  • Best Doors–  We love how the door closes and opens horizontally, instead of vertically.  This takes up less room which is great in our case.  You don’t need the extra room for the actuator.  The doors feel very sturdy.  I don’t think a coon or other predator could figure out how to open it.  

Our Two Cents

When it comes to choosing your own door for your chicken coop, the decision can be a difficult one. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages presented here and prioritize your chickens’ security and wellbeing. If you decide that an Automatic Chicken Coop Door is the right choice, explore the options available and find one that best fits your environment and the needs of your chickens.  We personally feel the pros outweigh the cons and highly recommend an automatic chicken coop door opener.  It’s been a game changer for us.  We love having a fully automated coop; from the automatic coop door, wifi cameras (to check up on them) to their waterers.  When it comes to technology and innovations, we feel the auto coop door is a worthwhile investment in your flock, great for you and your chickens! 

The Lowdown on Automation

You’re either an automation lover or not.  We love automation for time saving purposes.  For us, it’s one the most important things in our homesteading journey.  Could we live without it? Sure. We just don’t need to at the moment.  Have we thought about what we would do in the case of an emergency when we lose power? Yes, we have.  As with anything, you need to be smart and think about “backups.”  The nice thing is that most automatic doors have a battery backup for power outages, so your door will still work.  Our backup for monitoring our chickens are the cameras we have installed in the coop and the run.  Would we be bummed and frustrated if we lost power down there? Absolutely.  If that ever happens, we walk ourselves down to the coop to make sure everything’s in order.  For now, we embrace automation.  I hope this helped you decide what’s best for you and your flock.

More on Chickens

Want to learn more about raising and caring for backyard chickens?  Check out our other Backyard Chicken posts Here:

What are your thoughts on Automatic Chicken Coop Doors? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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