When Dan and I dreamt of leaving the rat race for a simpler life. We had a vision of what this simplified way of living would look like. Already, even if the house plans were not finalised, and we didn’t even have land. I could see myself preserving more tomatoes than we could ever eat in a year. Unearthing potatoes and smelling the old dirt in the air. Ah, potatoes are the perfect compliment to the breakfast we’d get from the chicken coop… What a dream!!
Getting our first chickens in Portugal
Building a chicken coop was a “big” item to tick off our never-ending to-do list. In fact, from the moment Dan’s parents bought us our first flock. It started to feel like we were making it and our dream was indeed unfolding before our eyes.
I suppose like many aspiring homesteaders we too watch more chicken coops built than we can count on YouTube. But when it came time to build our own, all the past year’s learnings flew by the window. So we, as always, reverted to our old profession and started listing requirements.
Our chicken coop must be…
- Easy to clean
- Easy to collect eggs
- Waterproof and Windproof
- As automated as possible
That was it…
To fulfil the first requirement, we opted to build a smaller coop than what most homesteaders typically build. Our thinking behind it was pretty simple, how many eggs do we need a day? Well, 5 MAXIMUM. Of course, we will need more eggs when the ice cream shop will be up and running but for us, everyday need 5 is all we’ll ever need.
When it came time to fulfilling the second requirement it was easy. All we had to do was to build a flap with easy access to the nest. The third requirement was as easy to fulfil as the first 2. In fact, to insure our chicken coop would be waterproof and windproof all we had to do was raid our leftover pile and we had plenty of materials to choose from.
Making things even easier…
Looking for automatic things came a bit later in the process, although it was always at the back of our minds.
With droughts ravaging Portugal every year and mother nature showing no signs she’ll ever stop the summer inferno. We had to find a way to collect water fast. Thankfully the placement of the chicken coop and the shed help us. Our shed already came equipped with a water collection system. So all we had to do was to put a bit of elbow grease into the project, and we quickly had an automatic water solution for our chicken coop.
The system we build is pretty easy. Since we had leftover pipes from the house plumbing. All we had to do was to buy a few chicken nipples, and a plastic bin, which we still use today as water storage since it collects all the rain that falls on our shed. The project took a total of 1h to accomplish and needed little tools too. A glue gun, to make sure the pipe was secured in our shed, a knife to cut the pipe, a couple of zip ties to secure it all up and a pick axe to bury the pipe. And that was it, 1h and we’d never had to worry about giving water to the chickens.
An automatic chicken coop door
We always knew that an automatic chicken coop door was a priority to add to the chicken coop. Yet, with funds rapidly being decimated by inflation, suddenly, the automatic chicken coop door became less of a priority.
Yet when the company Chickcozy approached us in March to review their automatic chicken coop door we quickly jump at the opportunity to start a new partnership. Truth be told, their timing could not have been better. We had been browsing the web for an automatic chicken coop door for a while. So we felt that we were in a good position to understand what a good door would look like and what a bad one would be too.
Chickcozy automatic chicken coop door fulfilled our requirements for more automatic things on the homestead.
Easy to install. Looking at it – it felt like it would be an easy thing to add to our run and install. All we needed is to mount a frame and cut a hole in the run. And boom the chickens would have an automatic chicken coop door. We also saw some videos on Youtube of people who have installed the automatic chicken coop door on the coop itself in just 7 minutes! For us, we’ll need a bit more modification, only because we want the chickens to have access to the run connected to the coop at all times.
It was not solar. While we’re big fans of solar lights and anything that can harvest the sun’s energy. We knew that we didn’t want our automatic chicken coop door to be solar. Indeed, the placement of the run makes it a bit hard to use solar equipment there. Not to mention, in the winter, we can be 5+ days with constant rain. This means that the automatic chicken coop door batteries would probably not charge at the time we’d need them the most. Let’s face it, no one wants to go out when it’s rainy and super muddy.
Simple interface. As we’re embracing our simple life, we also find value in keeping the tech gadget to a minimum. I suppose this comes with age too. Looking at Chickcozy’s door, it looked like an easy thing to operate. Press ok for 3 seconds and calibrate. the other good thing about this automatic chicken coop door is that it displays error messages on its little screen. So unlike other automatic chicken coop doors, you won’t need to guess what’s wrong with it should you ever need to troubleshoot it.
Battery life. We didn’t realise that knowing how much life our battery had was a requirement. Yet, it became one after looking at Chickcozy’s automatic chicken door. Indeed, looking at Chickcozy’s automatic chicken door configuration screen there’s a battery life figure. This means that from time to time when we walk by the coop we can easily see when it’s time to change the 4x AA battery. According to chickcozy, batteries can last more than 6 months. The screen even turns off automatically to save power. And when you change the batteries the timer settings are not lost. In the future, we could also plug it into A/C if we want. And the good thing is that no matter what powers it, this automatic chicken coop door is waterproof.
Another feature we appreciated about Chickcozy’s automatic chicken coop door.
It’s suitable for our cold and very warm climate: Indeed, Chickcozy’s automatic chicken coop door is rated for -20°C and up to 60 °C. You can install it on either side of the coop because it opens horizontally.
So all things considered, even if the automatic chicken coop door was a gift. It turned out to be exactly what we were looking for.
An automatic chicken coop door, is an investment worthwhile?
In my urban life setting, I remember thinking how cool it would be to let the chickens out to free-range in the morning and get them in at night. However, the reality is a lot different I do appreciate letting the chickens out when it is sunny and warm outside and adore collecting their eggs. Yet, the misty & muddy morning makes this simple task a chore. When it comes to letting the chickens in at night, we have to have an alarm on our phones because we forgot them outside too often. Yet we got lucky that mister Fox didn’t visit us.
When browsing for an automatic chicken coop door, we saw them ranging from all sorts of prices from €29.36 up to €223.29. Lol, some even come with phone apps, inverters, remote and extra sensors and lots of fancy gadgets (is that necessary to have more things that could go wrong??). Naturally, the fancier they are the more expensive they get.
As for all things, should we have bought an automatic chicken coop door I don’t think we would have picked the cheapest one? Often too cheap means bad quality.
Chickcozy’s automatic chicken coop door retails at $179.00 (USD) or €161 at today’s exchange rate which btw is favourable on their site. This means it is not the cheapest one we have seen but nor is it the most expensive one. Since it was a gift we can’t tell you how the purchase process is on chickcozy however we can confirm that they are very responsive and that you should not have too many problems when ordering since they accept PayPal. The company is not rated on Trustpilot, however, the website has many verified reviews, so it all looks legit. But please do your research because in this case, we can only talk about the product itself, not the transaction process – however, they are plenty of videos on youtube of people who have bought the products so it seems all legit there too.
So, is a chickcozy automatic chicken coop door an investment worthwhile? I guess it all depends on how much you value staying dry and in bed in the morning. For us, it’s a total game-changer because it not only keeps our chicken safe but it gives us more bedtime too. So, we’re immensely grateful to have had the chance to review this product. While Chickcozy is a relatively new company, their product is very reliable and one can tell a lot of effort went into developing it. The simple fact that hay does not stop the door from closing because of the way it’s built but also cannot hurt a chicken who’s in the door (because of the sensor) is fantastic.
We will soon be releasing a product video about our automatic chicken coop door. So make sure to activate all notifications for our channel if you’re curious to see how this door works.