Keeping Chickens Safe From Predators While We’re Away

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

Chicken predators can attack any time, even overnight. Come see the steps we’ve taken to keep our chickens safe from dangerous predators.

Building a chicken yard to protect against predators. #TexasHomesteader

(Note: Some links in this post will take you to other related articles for further information. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click and buy something I could receive a tiny commission.)

If you’ve been raising chickens long, you’ve probably experienced the heartache of coming home to a chicken massacre

What predator is stalking and killing our chickens? #TexasHomesteader

Top 10 Chicken Predators Here In NE Texas

Here in NE Texas there are many chicken predators. But the top 10 most problematic chicken predators in our area are:




Domestic Dogs

Domestic Cats




Possums (usually just eggs or chicks within easy reach)


Our Worst Chicken Predators Attack After Dark

Chicken predators attack from the air, from the ground or after dark. The most clever and hard-to-beat predator for us has been raccoons.

A live trap captures a raccoon for relocation. #TexasHomesteader

Raccoons hunt at night and can easily climb our tall 7-ft fence to get into the chicken yard.

Most of the times that we’ve experienced loss of our chickens it’s been because of raccoons attacking during nighttime hours.

A Fortified Chicken Yard Against Predators

We only keep about 5 hens at a time. We have a large 20-foot by 40-foot chicken yard surrounded by a high 7-ft tall welded wire 1″x2″ field fence.

The bottom has fencing that is buried at a right angle into the dirt to keep predators from digging under.


Within the protection of the chicken yard we have a small portable coop where we lock the hens overnight. We release them into the chicken yard during the day.

How Can I Keep My Chicken Coop Secure From Predators

Between the security of the chicken yard and locking the hens into the coop overnight as soon as they go to roost, we’re able to keep them safe. 

Chickens out free ranging for bugs. #TexasHomesteader

That is unless we arrive home after dark, or times when we’re traveling and must leave the doors of the coop open for their access. 

How do you make sure your hens are safe inside the coop at night if you’re not there to lock them inside?

Problem Of Traveling While Raising Chickens

Occasionally RancherMan & I will go on a short trip that involves an overnight stay. 

Sadly even within the protection of their high-fence chicken yard we’ve returned home to find our chickens killed by predators climbing over the tall fence and attacking our chickens at night.

I needed a way to keep them safe when we couldn’t be there at sunset to lock them safely inside the coop. But how?

Chicken Coop Door That Automatically Opens & Closes

An automatic chicken coop door will automatically open & close at times I’ve programmed it to operate. Want to see the pros & cons of this automatic chicken coop door? Read on, dear friends.

Automatic chicken coop door from Run-Chicken helps keep hens safe from predators. #TexasHomesteader

I reached out to the Run-Chicken company and they agreed to send one of their automatic coop doors for me to test.

NOTE: This automatic door was sent to me at no charge to test and review. They even offered my readers a COUPON CODE that automatically applies to their Run-Chicken order (see below).

But in no way does that indicate I’m obliged to (nor will I) give a false positive review. I’ll be open and honest with you about my experience. You deserve the truth!

Run-Chicken Automatic Chicken Coop Door

An Automatic Chicken Coop Door! It will automatically lock the hens securely inside the coop when you can’t be there to do it.

We installed a Run-Chicken Automatic Door (Model T50). There were many colors to chose from.

Run-Chicken red coop coor with chickens and green grass. #TexasHomesteader

Once installed you can set the door’s open/close schedule from the free app obtained from either the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. 

Open / Close Time Options For Automatic Coop Door

Do you want the chicken door to open and close at dawn and dusk? Or would you prefer a specific time to open and close the chicken door? 

Or how about open at 7:00 a.m. sharp but still close at dark? You can mix & match your options.

There’s also a small button on the door itself to manually open & close it if you wish.

Run-Chicken automatic chicken coop door smartphone app #TexasHomesteader

So many setting options! And it’s all at your fingertips from the app on your phone.

Are All Automatic Chicken Coop Doors The Same?

All automatic chicken coop doors are NOT the same! I was pretty shocked to see the many look-alikes costing $50 (or even less) that are popping up online.

They even *LOOK* like the authentic Run-Chicken doors. (some ads even use the Run-Chicken door image for their own product’s marketing but blur out the Run-Chicken name!)

Remember, if it’s too good to be true…

The look-alike automatic doors I’ve seen are inexpensive alright, but very flimsy and made of thin, cheap PLASTIC instead of metal.

Don’t be fooled! Be sure to check the details before buying, y’all. It doesn’t help to save money buying a cheaper product that can’t perform as you require!

Night image of possum predator trying to break into chicken coop automatic door. #TexasHomesteader

The possum in the photo above tried to break into our chicken coop at night. But our metal Run-Chicken door kept our chickens safe!

(photo using night vision from our *Arlo Wireless Remote Security Camera)

I want something to keep a predator from entering and killing my chickens. To me, a flimsy lightweight plastic door just doesn’t seem up to the task.

How tragic to take steps to keep my chickens safe and be lead into a false sense of security by buying a cheap inferior product – only to have my chickens attacked anyway.

NO WAY – a strong metal door is the protection I want!

Run-Chicken Automatic Coop Door Benefits

Door opens automatically, even when you’re not there!

Multiple automatic setting options:

 – Open or close at a specific time of day

 – Open or close by photo cell at dawn or dusk

 – Can set open and close in combination of the photocell AND/OR time of day

What if a chicken is in the doorway when the door closes? If the Run-Chicken door experiences an obstruction (such as a chicken standing in the door, etc) it will stop and open back up for 3-5 seconds before attempting to close again. This will keep your chickens from being trapped under the door.

The Run-Chicken Door is made of STURDY METAL – not plastic! (this is huge, y’all!)

Easy to install

Quiet operation

Run-Chicken Automatic Door Drawbacks

Need to be careful not to tighten the door too much or it will bind & not open correctly. Be sure to test after it’s installed.

If you get even light ice or frost, the door will attempt to open or close once. If it can’t, it won’t try again until the next cycle time. So if you’re expecting ice or frost you need to double check to assure the door opens or closes as you’ve programmed it to do.

During installation assure the area above the door is clear of obstructions since door opens upward. This causes some installation limitations for chicken raisers with smaller hardware cloth sided coops like we do. (but we made it work just fine)


I’ve gotta say I’m thrilled with this Run-Chicken door. The price is reasonable, the quality is excellent and the peace of mind? Priceless.

Where To Find An Automatic Chicken Coop Door

You can find the *Run-Chicken Door on Amazon. But be aware of those tricky low-quality look-alike product tricks!

If you don’t want to be tricked by flimsy look-alikes you can go directly to Run-Chicken’s Website

Automatic chicken coop door from Run-Chicken helps keep hens safe from predators. #TexasHomesteader

Where Can I Find An Automatic Chicken Coop Door Coupon Code?

You say you’re as convinced as we are and are ready to get your own Run-Chicken automatic coop door to protect your flock as well? 

Well, YOU’RE IN LUCK. The Run-Chicken folks are offering a special coupon code just for Texas Homesteader Readers.

Use the code THM10 and they’ll give you an additional 10% off!

(as of this writing they’re already on sale for $$ off, the code gives you an ADDITIONAL 10% off!!)

Run-Chicken automatic chicken coop automatic door discount coupon code THM10 #TexasHomesteader

You love your chickens. Now do all you can to keep them safe, including the security of a Run-Chicken automatic coop door.

~ TxH~

This post categorized in      

Tagged in     All our posts about raising backyard chickens. #TexasHomesteader        Our open and honest product reviews showing both good and bad features of products we've tried. #TexasHomesteader


 – Run-Chicken Automatic Coop Door

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4 thoughts on “Keeping Chickens Safe From Predators While We’re Away

  1. Lisa B

    I have an automatic chicken coop door as well and it’s been invaluable to keeping my hens safe and increasing the ease of caring for them. It has especially come in handy when we are out of town and a neighbor looks after our flock. I don’t feel like I’m burdening them having to come over early morning and before dark to open and shut the door. Our worst losses have been in the middle of the afternoon by a bobcat multiple times. Sadly the chickens no longer get to free range and I’ve had to put a sturdy net over my chicken run because, of course, a bobcat has no problem getting over our 5 ft fence. If you ever want to cover your run, I love my “Heavy Knotted Poultry Netting (2″Mesh)” from Pinnon Hatch Farms. I haven’t lost a chicken in the run since installing it a couple years ago!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      We have the occasional bobcat and stray dog, but thankfully they’re not common around here. I’ve only had one (unsuccessful) hawk attack a few years back. So at least for now I’m still able to free range the hens albeit not all day. I let them out later in the day and they go back to roost just a few hours later. It’s subject to change should our predator pressures change of course and I’ve considered when/if that happens covering the top of the run as you’ve done to keep them safe. Thanks so much for for your tip, Lisa!. ~TxH~

  2. Joe

    Have one, love it. No going out on frigid days to open and close the coop. A must for small rural chicken owners.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      We’re sure loving ours so far, Joe. We’ve come home after dark and gone straight to the chicken yard to lock them safely inside the coop only to find a raccoon climbed the fence and killed many of our hens before we got home. I’m so glad we will be able to keep them safer now, even if we’re not there before dark to lock them in – our Run-Chicken door will do it for us! ~TxH~


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