Keeping Things Complicated

Wiring up all the doodads on the mobile chicken coop has dragged out longer than I hoped due to several parts arriving late.  But today I completed all the wiring, only one week after this season’s pullets moved in.

Coop Solar Panel
100w solar panel on the roof powers the electric fence charger, the door controller, and the nest box latch.
Coop Wiring
Left to right:  deep cycle battery, solar controller, regulated 12v terminal, fence energizer, programmable relay for nest box latch.
Coop Nests Closed
After we collect eggs in the afternoon (this is theoretical, since these pullets are just reaching laying age) we close the nest boxes so none of the chickens spend the night in the nests.  Note the car door lock actuator in the top center, attached to a gate latch.  This is wired to a microswitch on the coop’s door, so the nest boxes will be open again by the next morning when the chickens come back outside.
Coop Nests Open
Presto, nests are open.  I need to add a spring or some other shock absorber to reduce the amount of slamming on the hinges.  But it is nice to see it working as intended.
Coop Door
The folks at Adorstore said that the door can be installed horizontally, so I bought their larger door to allow three chickens to egress simultaneously.  I like the idea of the larger door, but I have reservations about the long term reliability of the unit in horizontal orientation.  Small amounts of chicken manure in the track can prevent the door from closing.  I’ve added a wire brush and a can of WD40 to the toolbox on the coop.  Hopefully a quick pass with the brush each day and an occasional squirt of WD40 will be enough to ensure consistent door operation.  Something to keep an eye on…

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