Philip Verbeek has developed an automated, ATtiny84-powered door system to protect his chickens against fox at night.
As anyone who has a chicken coop knows, fox will not hesitate to go after your fowl for its next meal. In fact, a single red fox has been known to wipe out entire flocks in a single raid. These predators are not just relentless, but they are also patient and very smart. They will find all the cracks, openings, and weak points in your chicken runs and use those as entry points.
Knowing this, engineer Philip Verbeek decided to create an automatic door system to protect his chickens against the fox at night using an ATtiny84. The door position itself is dependent of the daylight intensity, and door will automatically close at sunset and then reopen at sunrise. (Due to their natural biorhythms, chickens will always go inside at dusk.)
A user can manually set the light value at which the system should trigger. This can simply be done by turning the potentiometer with a screwdriver. In Verbeek’s case, light intensity was measured by an LDR. This sensor should be activated for more than five minutes to start the system, thereby preventing it from being involuntarily actuated by somebody walking by.
The time for door closing is set by a timer and the door is lifted until an limit switch is pressed. This way, the system has a reference point.
“At the moment, I developed the system further into one casing (black box principle). So it is much more solid, easy to install and up and running in no time. The advantage over already existing kind of systems is that it is relatively inexpensive and adaptable to your own requirements,” Verbeek explains.
Need a new way to protect your coop? Check out the automatic door here, and see it in action below.