self-closing doors for chicken coops?

Elfpermacl at Elfpermacl at
Tue Oct 13 11:07:06 EDT 1998

Ok, we do not have enough rules set for this game.  Are we assuming a coop
that is on the grid?  (How dull!)  Moreover the grid is not 100 percent
reliable.  Timers get corroded from chicken shit and fumes and feather dust,
etc., etc.  Devices get fouled (PUN intended).  

My inmate students came up with devices such as a counterweight door that
closes when all of the chickens are at roost.  (Can you imagine the hilarity.
The last chicken flutters up to roost and suddenly the roost goes out from
under everyone.  SWAAAAAAAAAKKKKKKKK!!!!  Up the chickens go, removing the
weight before the spring loaded catch, which is fouled anyway with chicken
shit and litter--remember they scratch everything everywhere--can enage the
coon-proof door.  Up and down and up and down.  You don't need racoons.  Your
chickens will drop dead of exhaustion.)  

The most reliable device for locking up chickens at dusk is the person.  it
has photo sensors that detect when the last rooster in the group, harassed by
the others into staying out until the last minute, is in or out of the coop.
It has mechanical extensions for clearing debris from latches.  Predators are
afraid of it.  And it runs on chicken and eggs.  (Almost as good as the wood
fired chain saw!)  Moreover, it can get the chickens to go in early if it
wants to go to a movie.

We use two foraging regimes for our present small flock.  We have a six-foot
fence which mostly they will not fly over because they like us and want to
make us happy.  this encloses a huge area (on a per-chicken basis) of palms,
giant oaks, wild grapes with vines the diameter of my arm at the shoulder,
etc.--  They love playing here.  the plams throw down little fruits with, no
doubt, nutritious seeds.  The grapes add a bit in season.  they can't do much
with the acorns except eat what fragmentst he squirrels drop.  However the
palms also breed the ever popular palmetto bug--a cockroach that resembles a
volkswagon in size and shape.  Some of our hens are afraid of them,but the
ever-ready-to-be-macho roosters get off on slaughtering palmetto bugs for the
hens.  There are regular cockroaches, the odd batch of termites, etc.  Most
herbaceous vegetation has been eliminated, but they eat low-growing grape
leaves, smilax leaves and fruit, etc.
That's where we put them when we want to round them up early.

Otherwise, I just open up the  coop door and let them have the entire

The ramp leading to the enclosed forage area is hinged at the bottom of the
opening so that when it is lifted up, it can be fastened to the wall as part.
I use hook-and-eye hooks with spring loaded safety clips.  Otherwise, racoons
will open it.  The front door has a  hasp with a spring loaded clip as well as
a regular doorknob.  We get snakes in the coop anyway, of course, but so far
nothing larger than an 8 foot rat snake which was probably after rats!
Chickens are messy eaters and this brings in rodents.  We have a few species
of snakes that specializ in rectifying this problem.  I suppose they get an
egg or two and I keep chicks in a MUCH more secure area until they are big
enough to fly to roost.  (I use pallets in a corner of the coop when I
introduce the chicks to the flock so they can hide under the pallet if
harassed by the hens.  After a while, the hens get bored and/or forget that
they don't know these new chickens.  the attention span of a chicken for
anythng except food and, for roosters, sex, defines the term infinitesimal.  I
wonder if there is an evolutionary connection between poultry and people?

For Mother Earth, Dan Hemenway, Yankee Permaculture Publications (since 1982),
Elfin Permaculture workshops, lectures, Permaculture Design Courses,
consulting and permaculture designs (since 1981), and annual correspondence
courses via email.  Copyright, 1998, Dan & Cynthia Hemenway, P.O. Box 52,
Sparr FL 32192 USA  Internships. YankeePerm at  

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