Farmers have long been known for their ingenuity, able to accomplish urgent repairs with whatever is on hand. Now with the help of an Arduino, maker “rscholten” has even figured out how to automate his chicken coop.
The device uses an Uno and a real-time clock module to schedule his automated coop door’s movement, while a servo and linkage system physically flips the door open and closed. A solenoid then locks the door in place when not in motion so that the servo doesn’t have to constantly maintain a position.
User interface is provided by a 7-segment LED, along with dials to set the current time and when it should be opened and closed. As shown in the video below, the coop can also be activated with a keyfob style remote when needed.
I built this automatic chicken door to save me the twice daily task of opening and closing the door in the morning and evening. Chickens are great providers of eggs, manure and entertainment, but getting up early to let them out the coop – especially in winter – was drudgery. And then making sure I was home in time to close them in really restricted my freedom to come home late.
Chickens follow a daily routine of returning to a coop around sunset and waking up around sunrise. The times they go in and out is not exact and is influenced on the weather of the day and ambient light. Should a chicken be seen to be too late to enter after the door closed, the door can be remotely opened then closed. The door can be closed during the day should the owner need to stop broody chickens from entering.
As sunrise and sunset times vary throughout the year and depend on the latitude, any door controller needs to track the time of day, the day of the year and know the latitude of the location. This requirement can be accomplished with software or a sun tracker, but in this design uses manually adjustable open and close time settings to keep things simpler.