How to fit an automatic door opener to a Green Frog poultry house.
Fitting an automatic door opener to a Green Frog chicken coop (or similar) is quite straight forward and despite the manufacturer suggesting otherwise, you don’t need to replace the front panel of your chicken coop. In this installation we used a Chickenguard automatic door opener but the method of installation is the same for all cord operated door such as the VSB b, chuxaway or dawn to dusk opener.
Start by removing the original opening cord and the clevis pin that it attaches to.
Once the pin is removed replace it with a 6m coach bolt (coach bolts are the bolts with smooth round heads and a square on the underside that locks into the wood/plastic )
We’ve used long coach bolts and trimmed them later or you could start with some shorter ones.
Next mount your automatic chicken door opener on the front of the coop. In this case we’ve mounted it as high as possible but the position isn’t critical as long as the cord doesn’t rub on anything.
Directly below the door opener you need to mount a pulley. This is the only critical part of the installation. The cord must leave the door opener at 90 degrees and not rub the case. The pulley also needs to be spaced away from the front panel so the cord is central on the pulley.
Next you need to mount a pulley above the attachment point when the door is in the fully open position.
Your installation should now look like this
You can now trim off any excess length on the bolts you’ve used.Now calibrate the door opener as normal.
I grew up on a small farm in Wales and used to tell my parents that all I wanted to do was live in the Big Smoke and far away from the boring fields, hills & animals of the countryside – how wrong I was! It turned out that I lasted 6 months in London, before retreating to the relative peace of Wiltshire where I found work, met my husband, got married and had two daughters.
My yearning for chickens began a few years ago and has grown gradually stronger, until last year I could resist no more. I got 2 hybrid chickens, one Columbian Black-tail and one Crested Legbar, from another chicken-loving friend in my village and have since added another 3 ex-battery chickens who were awaiting slaughter. There was a fourth, Anna, but unfortunately, after 3 months in the sunshine, she succumbed to illness and was buried under an apple tree in our field. My daughters have given them their names – Edith, Margo, Elsa, Noria & Divia – and they are still as excited about checking for eggs as they were when we first got them. They help me clean them out, give them snacks and sometimes sing and dance in the field to entertain them! It has been amazing watching the ex-bats grow their feathers back, enjoy their first dust baths, sunbathe and relax into life outside of the factory. They are extremely affectionate and love a cuddle. Every day, when they hear my car pull up, they come running to say hello and I am torn between staying with them for hugs and rushing in to see my children! They have added such richness and happiness to our lives (although my husband isn’t very pleased with the state of the garden but that is largely thanks to the rescue ducks that have recently joined the family!). I have always loved animals and have two 9 year old cats that have moved with us through the years, so I knew I would love my chickens. What I didn’t expect was HOW much they would come to mean to me – I held Anna in my arms when she was dying and literally cried for a whole day after she died – and she had only been with us for 3 months. Each chicken has their own individual personality and they vary so much – one is shy, one is flighty, one is so tame that she sits in my arms and goes to sleep, one loves dust baths so much that you have to physically remove her from the flower bed when you want to put her to bed and one still can’t work out the steps up into the run, after many weeks of showing her and makes me laugh with her attempts every night.
They lay wonderful eggs with bright orange yolks and have made me realise that so called ‘free range’ eggs in supermarkets are actually not as they seem. I used to turn up to the houses of friends with wine and flowers – now I inevitably turn up with wine and eggs instead – people seem to love receiving fresh eggs from the hens they see pop up in their Facebook feeds so often! In fact my husband did suggest that I might like to take a few more photos of the children rather than using my whole memory card on the chickens! For anyone considering getting chickens, don’t hesitate, they are a wonderful addition to any family! I now know that I will be keeping chickens for many years to come – there is no end in sight – I am have officially got a chicken addiction and am without a doubt a crazy chicken lady!
Eggstracts from a country diary Retired at 72 – not bad but I don’t know whether I could have stood another week in that cage. It’s nice to be able to stretch my wings, feel the earth between my toes and the breeze on my skin. “A few less feathers and that one would look oven ready..” I don’t know what they mean! Still, a week after leaving the factory and I’m feeling a lot better. The house is great – only five of us in here, but you can turn around, there’s food and water all day and a few darker rooms for snuggling up at night. There are a couple of beams above our heads, but you’d have to be some sort of bionic bird to jump up there. Outside, down the ramp it is quite bright during the day but it’s great scratching around – there are all sorts of bugs and shoots. And it’s great to see the sky. It is, however, still a cage, which gives me flashbacks to the factory now and then, but the feeders say they’ll let us roam a bit further later. I thought my egg amnesia was back. Laid one in the morning, went out for a few hours, came back in at it was gone. In the factory, I knew they were taking them and I’ve got a suspicion these humans are taking them here too. I might start calling them the Stealers. All the girls say the same.
Burnham Five You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your cell mates. Back in the factory there were hundreds of us all in our cages. Most kept themselves to themselves (it’s hard to do little else in a cage the size of an A4 piece of paper) but there was always one who’d give the others a peck when possible. I wonder what’s happened to that lot now? Now that the five of us have been here a few weeks, things are starting to settle down – a pecking order has been established. So here’s a little introduction. (T-shirts and stickers with Free the Burnham Five logos soon to be available…). Me – Maizey (“as in maize” I heard the Strawhead say. Genius…) Buzzy – bit of a bully more like. Think she had a too few many chemicals in the factory and because she’s a bit smaller likes to push her weight around. BB – a “larger” bird who prefers the dustbowl feed to the green stuff. Scruffy – also known as poo bum. Can get a bit frantic. Ziggy – who arrived with the vulture-in-reverse look – feathered head and bald neck. Although, she does make me look good!
Outside run Woken by puffing outside the house this morning. “Not there, over here.” “Mind my… OW!” But then it started to sound a bit more hopeful. “Shall we let them out for a bit?” (Go on, go on, go on, go on!) “OK – but you have to stay up here and watch them.” The door slid back and there it was… Or, there is wasn’t. No wire to the left, no wire to the right. Just openness. We all bundled out into the sunshine. They really are letting us out. Let’s go! We all had a good scratch around – who needs that dust in the feeder when there are greens and flowers and little, wriggly meaty things poking their heads out of the ground? Then the straw-headed one started flapping around like a, well, a mother hen. “Not my herbs, not my herbs!” Someone had gone too far – some areas are obviously off limits. Still, they have also hung half a lettuce on a piece of string in the run… I know! And, if I am not mistaken, feathers I didn’t know I had are starting to sprout on my wings. Give it a few months and I could have a full set. Now I wonder if chickens can fly?…
Flights of fancy It’s been a few months now, but updates a plenty. The first flights can be reported – or you could call it “falling gracefully” from the wall near the run. This is all of course due to our improved plumage. The Stealers say it is getting harder to tell us apart – that is just rude. But it is nicer to feel the wind beneath my wings, rather than whistling through them.
Christmas nerves This time of year always makes me feel nervous. I don’t know why – the cold night air, the crisp mornings, the sharpening of steel. Scraps and oats from the Stealers have been increasing as the days grow shorter and colder – all welcome, but I must have put on a few ounces. Does my bum look big in this? Does it? I suppose it depends if you are a breast or a thigh man… But you can’t help getting suspicious. I remember hearing girls at the factory boasting about reaching their “optimum weight” then not being seen again. It might be the time of year, and the need for a bit of extra comfort, but I’ve started to let our Stealers stroke my feathers – I’m not saying I’m all Stealer-friendly all of a sudden – like BB, letting them pick me up like some sort of doll. No sir, a hen needs some dignity, but the odd scratch down the middle of the back is quite nice. At night we huddle up in the nest box, beak by jowl. But midwinter passed, a few minutes of extra daylight a day are creeping back in the mornings and we’re still here. The Hippy stumbled up here, jumped on a fork to expose some wrigglies and wished us “Happy Christmas! You’ve survived another!” – although from the cooking smells from the neighbourhood I’m not sure how many of the wider sisterhood were as fortunate. Let’s hope they had lived happy lives first.