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    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeOct 27th, 2015 2:40pm (Oct 27th 2015) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Update: Two months after installing the chickenguard door opener on our coop, it stopped functioning completely leaving the hens locked inside for the morning. I assumed it was due to the batteries needing replacing but even with new batteries the unit was unresponsive.

    I contacted chickenguard who replied saying it may be because the batteries were not making proper contact, so I double-checked all the connections and they were fine - I sent a reply back to chickenguard showing me reading the voltage using a multimeter proving the connections were fine and asking what else I could check, and never received a reply.

    What's worse is the unit was always kept dry and protected from the weather (the coop is under cover so the chickenguard opener never got wet), the unit looks fine inside, it just stopped working.

    Unfortunately due to the apparent poor reliability and high cost of the unit, as well as the fact that customer services do not appear to want to actually support their product, I cannot recommend this.


    On our chicken wagon you might see the little box above the main door the chickens enter/leave from - that is our Chicken Guard / Rooster Release automatic door opener!

    It's actually a really cool bit of kit so thought I'd give it a mini-review.

    The idea behind the door opener is pretty simple - it's sole purpose is to open and close the pop-hole on your chicken coop automatically when required, so you don't have to.

    You can set it to either timed or light-activated. I'm guessing the timed option would only be useful if you were controlling the lighting available too (the days getting longer/shorter would mean you end up with locked-out chickens otherwise!)

    The light-sensitive option which we use is great - it's *very* sensitive, so the hens are in bed about an hour before the door closes. It opens up as soon as the sun begins to rise, and as it's light-activated it means that daylight savings, or short winter days or long summer days don't affect it at all - you can even tweak the light level settings required to trigger an open/close event but the defaults have been fine for us.

    You just need to make sure the batteries are ok (there's a low battery warning).

    It's nice to have as it means it's an extra defence against foxes and keeps breezes and chills out off the girls whilst they sleep.

    A big shout out to Chicken Guard / Rooster Release - automatic chicken door opener for a very handy product!
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeOct 27th, 2015 5:33pm (Oct 27th 2015)
     
    Brilliant concept. I can't use it - my ultra tolerant neighbours are lovely but letting a pair of crowing cockerels out at 4am in the summer might test the bounds of friendship a little too much - but I'll certainly recommend it to people with hens!
    • CommentAuthorLynnW
    • CommentTimeNov 4th, 2015 7:18pm (Nov 4th 2015)
     
    I'm glad it is working out well for you, Neil. Like CC said, it wouldn't work here for me with 5 roosters crowing at the crack of dawn.:face-sad:
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeJan 15th, 2016 3:44pm (Jan 15th 2016)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    As a little extra addition to the review, our door opener stopped working last week :(

    I thought the batteries had gone but it still didn't work with new ones in...

    So I emailed chickenguard who got back to me quickly with some things to check (duracell batteries are often a bit 'thicker' than normal batteries, making sure the contacts were snug etc etc), and after I sent pics of my multimeter showing the unit was getting power but not working, they sent a new one out which arrived late last week!

    I fit it on Saturday, just in time for the freezing weather which is great as I wasn't enjoying having to go out in the dark to close them up (to keep them warm) and then having to let them out in the morning...

    So a big thank-you to chickenguard and their excellent customer service!
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeJan 15th, 2016 4:05pm (Jan 15th 2016)
     
    brilliant Neil so glad you got such good service xx
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeJan 15th, 2016 9:56pm (Jan 15th 2016)
     
    What a great company! It's good that the hens are safe and sound - my friend lost her 3 chickens last night to (she assumes) a fox. 2 are missing and one was dead. The fox forced it's way through the fence and then managed to get the door to the coop open and took them out. So sad.
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeJan 16th, 2016 1:28pm (Jan 16th 2016)
     
    I feel so sorry for your friend Kate I do like foxes but it is heartbreaking when they come a calling. Fox got one of my beautiful bunnies and the other died a while later with the shock. Cried for several days at their loss they were so tame and such gentle giants came when they were called and although they did dig big holes in the garden no trouble whatso ever.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeJan 17th, 2016 8:44pm (Jan 17th 2016)
     
    That would really upset me too NN, I get so attached to my pets.
    • CommentAuthorLynnW
    • CommentTimeJan 17th, 2016 11:46pm (Jan 17th 2016)
     
    It's always hard when you loose your chickens to other critters. Kate, I feel bad for your friend and her poor hens. What few Silkie I have left, are in the Chicken shed for the Winter. Nothing can get into the shed, so at least I don't have to worry about Coyotes for a while.