In order to try and make life a little easier for myself and anyone I’ve ever called upon to help let out or put away the birds, Rach and I decided to invest in a Titan automatic chicken door.
The Titan automatic chicken door has the option to open and close the door at certain set times, and the door can also be manually opened/closed when required.
New, these doors generally cost about $180 and that’s just the timer and motor (not the door and the rails). Fortunately we were able to source a second hand Titan automatic chicken door online -with the door and rails included for only $100. Unfortunately it meant I needed to drive out past Healesville to pick it up.
When I arrived, I asked Jeremy why they were selling their doors. Jeremy had five doors for sale and we were picking up the last one. He said that they had started having chickens, but the day after the doors were installed he broke his leg and so they decided to stop doing chickens right then and there!
The Titan automatic chicken door is working impeccably so far. Opening and closing when required and the manual changes work fine too. Jeremy has saved me a bit of time having put the door and door guide together which is great, but it wouldn’t take too much time or skill to do the same thing again.
Duck problems with the Titan automatic chicken door
At the moment the ducks aren’t actually exiting the door when required. I imagine it’s because they’re scared of the moving parts.
I’ve set the door to open at 7am in the morning, and I’ve been arriving at the farm at about 8am to check on them – only to find the ten ducks still locked up inside.
To encourage the ducks to exit the door, I’ve guided them all into the coop (leaving the door open), and then waited and occasionally poked the ducks towards the door. Hopefully this will teach them that the door is nothing to be afraid of. Five of the birds are happy to jump out into the fresh air, while the other five are extremely reluctant. When they’re separated, the five inside the coop begin to stress and quack incessantly too. Why they can’t just follow the other five I may never know!
Another option that I may try soon is to give the birds less food overnight and leave some food outside the automatic door in the morning. Perhaps they will be hungry enough to stick their heads out and eat some pellets. I can’t leave the pellets out overnight because some birds or other animals may get to them, but I can leave them in the morning when I arrive.
The ducks are finally leaving the coop in the morning! The trick is to leave the food and water outside the coop overnight. I feed the ducks plenty just before bedtime, and leave the water outside overnight and their hunger makes them inquisitive enough to venture outside. It’s taken a week or two, but finally it seems to be working!
I’ve also adjusted the roof with an angle grinder to allow the roof to lift off again (have a look at the main picture, and you can see that the roof didn’t lift off with the automatic door placement). Having the ability to lift the roof up is really important when I’m changing the bedding.