Run Chicken Automatic Coop Door Review (2023)
Automatic chicken coop doors are the best invention ever! No need to worry at night whether your chickens are safe, and you don’t need to get up early to leave them out of the coop. An automatic coop door does that particular chore for you, so you won’t have to worry about locking your chickens up at night or letting them out in the morning.
We’re discussing the Run Chicken coop door. Run Chicken is a young business founded in 2018 and sells its automated coop doors worldwide. We took their T50 and brand-new E50 solar model to the test.
Run Chicken sells two door models and tries to improve them with every update. The T50 is their standard coop door model and was updated in 2022. In May 2023, Run Chicken added a solar powered coop door to the webshop, with the same benefits as the T50, but runs on two AA NiMh rechargeable batteries, charged from a solar panel.
- Pre-assembled door
- Sturdy and high quality
- Works with an app
- Light sensor & timer
- Quality batteries or solar panel included
- Impossible installing the sensor on outside, while door is on inside
- Only runs on batteries or solar, no DC power supply
- Fairly expensive
The Run Chicken coop door was voted our ‘Best Overall’ automatic door in our big automatic chicken coop door test.
Run Chicken has two chicken coop doors on the market, the T50 and E50. The T50 is their standard ready to use door model. In 2023, they updated the T50 with rechargeable batteries and a solar panel to create the E50.
Both doors work the same way and look similar. The only difference is their power supply.
The Run Chicken is an easy-to-install automatic door that’s available in several colors and patterns. The packages we received contained an aluminum door, two alkaline AA batteries (already in place) or for the E50 model, four rechargeable batteries (already in place) and a solar panel, screws, safety precautions, the instruction manual, a warranty code, and a thank you note from Jure Markic, owner of Run Chicken.
We were surprised to find so few components in the box. No rails, no separate controller box, and no rods or cords. Run Chicken claims that it only takes 30 minutes to install the door, and by the looks of the content of the package, they could be right as everything seems to be pre-assembled.
The Run Chicken coop door can be controlled by using the button on the door controller or by downloading their app. This is the first door we’ve tested that allows customers to use their coop door with an app on their phones.
The door and controller come in one piece but are actually two separate parts screwed together. It’s recommended for both the T50 and E50 to unscrew the control box to check all batteries are correctly in place before use. This is a safety precaution.
It only takes four screws to unscrew the controller box if you need to change the batteries.
Door materials and look
The door is constructed from solid aluminum and features a quality powder coated with color. All Run Chicken doors are designed to endure harsh weather circumstances and are waterproof.
The door itself feels and looks sturdy and weighs 2 lbs. (0.907 kg). The design is simple and minimalistic, yet you can choose your preferred color or print. Available colors are grey, red, and brown, but the company also sells doors with a fun print: USA flag color, camouflage, or a limited Christmas edition.
Outside vs. Inside Placement
Most people place the door on the outside, but the T50 model can also be installed inside the chicken coop. However, you can not set the door on the light sensor in that case and have to use the timer instead.
The Run Chicken T50 does not have the ability to install the controller on the outside, and the door on the inside, as they come in one piece.
The aluminum door is solid and sturdy. There is no way a predator can bite their way through, and once the door closes, it’s firmly kept in place. As the door is pre-assembled, it already fits perfectly, and there’s no wiggle room or openings where smaller predators can get through.
We can only think of one predator with a small chance of finding an entrance. Raccoons are famous escape artists that can open simple latches with their skillful hands. Maybe a nifty raccoon would be able to find the door button.
As with all automatic chicken coop doors, their main purpose is to protect your flock from nighttime predators. The door closes at dusk and automatically reopens at dawn. They make your life much easier as you won’t have to remember to open and close the coop.
But the Run Chicken coop door has other features worth mentioning:
If anything obstructs the door while closing, the motor automatically stops the door so no animals will get hurt in case of a trapped chicken. Depending on the Run Chicken model you have, the door will eighter stay in the half-closed position and stay that way until you manually reopen it, or it will reopen and close again after a few seconds.
All Run Chicken doors sold at the moment are the latest upgraded T50 models, which stop, reopen and close again after an emergency stop. The old way of working, where the door stops halfway, is something to keep in mind if you’re purchasing the T50 secondhand.
Alkaline Battery Power Supply
The T50 door comes with two quality (Duracell or Panasonic) AA batteries. According to the manufacturer, the batteries should last one year. If that is true (we’ll keep you posted), the Run Chicken door lasts longer with fewer batteries than other big brands.
The door has no visual display showing the time or other information, so it will only use power when opening and closing.
However, swapping to a DC power supply instead of batteries is impossible as the door does not provide this power usage. Only batteries can be used.
A red blinking light means the batteries are (almost) empty and need to be replaced. When the batteries are completely empty, the door won’t reopen after closing and will remain closed to protect the chicken coop.
To change the batteries, you must unscrew the door of the actual opener and put it back into place after you’ve changed the batteries. Make sure to reinstall it correctly so there are no openings and the coop is hermetically sealed.
Rechargeable Batteries and Solar Power
The newest member of the Run Chicken family, the E50 is a solar-powered automatic coop door. This is great for those wanting to live off the grid completely.
Equipped with four pre-installed rechargeable batteries, the E50 requires just seven days of sunlight to generate enough power for an entire year of operation. Its compact solar panel ensures immediate functionality, eliminating the need for complicated installation processes.
Simply activate the batteries by pulling the plastic band, and the door will operate in its default factory mode. The batteries are pre-charged, so your door will work immediately.
With a 6ft long cord, the solar panel provides flexibility in finding a suitable mounting location. The cord can be conveniently rolled up to reduce its length if needed.
The Run Chicken app is an easy-to-use, uncomplicated app you can install on your phone. The app is available on Android and iOS.
Programming the door after installation, setting the opening times, or choosing a closing and opening delay can all be done quickly using the Run Chicken App on your phone.
The app includes a feature that automatically detects what time zone you’re in. So you don’t have to set the time, nor change the time from winter to summer time, unlike most other major brands that work with timers.
The app connects directly to the door receiver, so you don’t need WiFi for the app to work.
Delay opening and closing
Choose the delay in opening and closing after sunrise or sunset. By default, the door closes 20 minutes after sunset and 20 minutes after sunrise. Using the Run Chicken App, you can adjust the delays to 5, 10, 20, 40, 60, or 120 minutes.
Timer instead of light sensor
Next to using the light sensor to open and close the door, you can choose to open and close the Run Chicken each day at the same time, regardless of the season or the hours of daylight.
By default, the door uses the light sensor to open and close. Use the Run Chicken App on your phone to change the opening and closing mode from light sensor to timer. Once you’ve changed the mode, you can choose a time for opening and closing in the app.
If you haven’t installed the app yet (we advise that you do), changing the mode from light sensor to timer is also possible on the door opener itself. Hold the button on the door (there’s only one button) for 3 seconds, and when the indicator light shines green, release and immediately confirm by pressing one more time. The door automatically detects your location and time zone. The door will automatically open on the time you have pressed the button.
For example, if you want the door to open at exactly 8 am each day, follow the above instructions at exactly 8 in the morning to set the timer.
The Run Chicken coop door has a GPS mode that can be activated with the app. By default, it’s not activated. By activating the GPS mode, you overrule the light sensor for opening and closing at dusk and dawn, and instead, the GPS will calculate the time for sunrise and sunset at your location.
So the door will open and close at dusk and dawn, not by light sensor, but by the calculated sunset and sunrise time at your location. Activating this mode will overrule the light sensor.
The unit comes with a light sensor, so the door closes each day at dusk and opens at dawn. The default settings are that the door closes and opens 20 minutes after sunset/rise, which can be adjusted by using the app.
The light sensor is unique in that it excludes artificial light sources. The Run Chicken door will close even if your neighbors are having a party with bright lights or if there are bright street lights near the coop.
All automatic door manufacturers claim their door is easy to install and pre-assembled. But mostly, it still takes a couple of hours to install an automatic chicken coop door, especially if you’re not used to it. The Run Chicken door is ready-to-use in the box; you only need to screw the door into place and try it out.
According to the manufacturer, it only takes 30 minutes to install the Run Chicken door, and we must agree. It took us a bit longer because we had to adjust the coop entrance size to fit the door. The door installation itself barely took us 15 minutes. All we had to do was screw it on, test it and install the app for programming.
The Run Chicken door comes in one size. The door opening measures 9.4” x 1.6” x 13.8” (L x W x H), and that is the hole size that’s required to install the door.
The door slides upwards to open. Ensure at least 12” of space above the upper edge of the door, so it can open properly. Also, avoid having wood or screws sticking out because the door slides very close to the coop’s surface.
Because the door is pre-assembled, you can easily mark the location of the opening and where to put the screws in. There is no need to measure: you can use a leveler to check to ensure the door is mounted straight.
Because the Run Chicken door has no ‘Large version’, we advise using this automatic door in medium to large-sized chickens, but be aware that extra large breeds may have some trouble entering.
May 2023 Update: Solar-Powered Coop Door
Run Chicken has a brand new update on the market for their automatic chicken coop door! Introducing: The Run Chicken E50 Solar-Powered Automatic Coop door!
This door has all the benefits of the T50 door but comes with two AA NiMH rechargeable batteries charged from a solar power panel. A 6ft solar cable is also included in your purchase.
The batteries are pre-charged upon arrival, so you can start using the door immediately.
Ease of installation
The Run Chicken automatic door is one of the easiest installments we’ve ever done. The door is completely pre-assembled, and you won’t have to do much more than fit the door to the opening and screw it in place.
To install the Run Chicken Automatic Chicken Coop Door:
- Mark the location of the door and if necessary, adjust the hole to fit the door
- Pull the plastic band attached to the door opener to activate the batteries
- Test the door by pressing the test button
- (If the door doesn’t react, open the door opener to ensure the batteries are correctly placed)
- Leave the door open and test its fit to the coop again to ensure there’s enough hight
- Screw the door in place using the six included wood screws
- Don’t screw it over tightly; the door won’t work if you do
- For the E50: Mount the solar power to the coop; read the instructions to find the best spot.
- Test the door using the button once it’s in place
- Download the app and press the ‘start programming’ button (warning for flashing screen)
- Adjust the features if needed
If you don’t download the app or program the door, the door will still work! The door uses the factory default program once the batteries are activated.
Even if you don’t do anything after mounting the door, it will close automatically 20 minutes after sunset and open 20 minutes after sunrise.
What’s in the box?
The Run Chicken door is nicely packed in a flat box. There aren’t many loose items in the box as the door and door opener are pre-assembled, and the batteries are already in place.
The box contains:
- An aluminum door
- 6 wood screws
- Alkaline AA batteries (already in place) for the T50
- Rechargeable batteries (already in place) and a solar panel for the E50
- Safety precautions
- Instruction manual
- Online warranty code
- Thank you note from Jure Markic, owner of Run Chicken
The Run Chicken door does not contain/include:
- Power cords or DC power supply as this door only works on batteries
- Remote controls, as you can download the app
Light Sensor vs. Timer
The Run Chicken coop door comes with a light sensor option and a timer option, so you can choose which one you prefer to use. By default, the door uses the light sensor and opens and closes every day 20 minutes after sunset and sunrise.
The door does not have a display or the option to (re)set the time, but it automatically detects your location and time zone once you activate the timer option. There is no need to adjust the time to winter or summer time as it will change automatically. Which is a big advantage over other major brands using a timer.
If you want to use the light sensor option, you can adjust the delay in opening and closing between 5 to 120 minutes delay after sunset or sunrise. The Run Chicken light sensor is unique because it filters out artificial light. You don’t need to worry if the door will close at night if you have a bright street light near the coop.
Manually opening and closing
You can always use the button on the door opener to manually open and close the door. It’s impossible to open or close the door using the app. But you can program the door NOT to open/close automatically if you prefer to do it yourself.
It takes away the whole point of an automatic door but may be useful if you have a sick flock or you don’t want them to go outside unsupervised for another (health) reason.
This video shows you how to operate the Run Chicken door using the button.
The aluminum door is 0.039” (1.5 mm) thick and does a good job of blocking outside noises. However, it’s no sound-blocking material, so you’ll still hear noises from outside once the door is closed.
The door itself is pretty quiet. It makes less noise closing than opening. The chickens don’t seem to mind and aren’t scared of the opening or closing sound. For some birds, it may take some getting used to.
Automatic Safety stop
Like all high-quality chicken coop doors, the Run Chicken door has a safety stop to prevent the door from closing if something is blocking the entrance. We’ve tried out the safety stop several times, and it works perfectly.
How and if the door will reopen and close again after a safety stop depends on the model of the Run Chicken door you own. There has been an update to the T50 door in 2022; depending on when you’ve purchased your door, it will eighter stay in the half-closed position until you open it manually or reopens and closes again after a few seconds.
All Run Chicken coop doors now sold are the updated versions, so they will stop when blocked, reopen and close again after a few seconds.
Maintenance and durability in cold weather
Because the design of the door is so simple, it’s easy to clean and low in maintenance. Simply wipe off the door with a damp cloth; warm water is all you need to wash it. In case of heavy dirt, or mud blocking the rails, unscrew the door opener from the frame so both parts can be easily cleaned. Use a cloth to go between the rails for a thorough scrub.
Never use grease or lubricants to oil the rails, as it can damage them. If you notice the door has a hard time opening, unscrew the door opener from the frame for a thorough clean. After cleaning, test the door by using the button.
According to the manufacturer, the Run Chicken door stands temperatures between −15 °F to 140 °F (−26 °C to 60 °C). We’ve tested the Run Chicken door in temperatures below their 20’s (-8C°), and the engine didn’t seem to have any trouble with the cold.
However, we advise double-checking your flock in the morning after a cold night. This way, you are sure everything is working as it should.
If you live in snowy and icy environments, ensure the door stays dry and free from ice.
Beware of Lookalikes
We have to be honest; the Run Chicken automatic door isn’t the cheapest door on the market. With prices ranging between $170 to $180, they’re actually quite expensive.
When you scroll through Amazon, you’ll notice plenty of cheap doors are available that look EXACTLY like the Run Chicken door. So why spend almost $200 on a door when you can get the same-looking door for just over $30?
We’ll explain the difference between the lookalike doors and the Run Chicken coop door.
Main differences between cheap auto doors and Run Chicken:
- Material. The Run Chicken door is a sturdy aluminum door. The cheap doors are plastic.
- Waterproof. As a chicken coop door usually goes on the outside of the chicken coop, you want it to be waterproof. The cheap door is not waterproof. The Run Chicken door is 100% waterproof, even when submerged.
- Adjustable. The lookalike door isn’t programmable; they are ‘plug &play’, meaning they only work on the light sensor, and nothing can be adjusted. A Run Chicken door can be programmed in multiple ways, including timer, delays, or even stopping the door from closing and opening.
- Durability and use. The cheap doors are made of plastic, so they tend to bend easily, which stops the door from working correctly. Bended doors won’t open. Run Chicken doors are made from sturdy aluminum and work immediately as they should.
- Batteries. The Run Chicken provides 2 AA alkaline quality batteries (Duracell, included) that suppose to last a year. Most of the lookalike doors need 3 batteries which are not included.
- Safety stop. Although all automatic doors claim to have a safety stop that prevents your chicken from being hurt while the door closes, there are plenty of reviews to be found that claim the opposite on the cheap doors. Stories of trapped, hurt, and even decapitated chickens are heartbreaking as you purchase these doors because you only want the best for your flock. The safety stop on the Run Chicken works perfectly without hurting the birds.
- Use in cold weather. Cheap doors tend to freeze quickly in cold weather, so they won’t open or close.
- Predator-proof. A smart predator like a raccoon can easily wiggle their fingers inside a plastic coop door and push it open. It’s not sturdy, nor is the door locked in place. It’s pretty much impossible to force-push the Run Chicken door open.
Buying a cheaper lookalike door instead of the Run Chicken door is a decision you must make for yourself. But before you press the ‘buy’ button, we suggest checking the reviews on both doors.
Many cheap automatic coop doors have up to 60% of 1-star reviews. Plus, you won’t have customer service afterward to complain as most of these manufacturers are masters in hiding their contact information. We understand that $180 is a lot of money to spend on a coop door, but is it worse than $30 down the drain?
Price and availability
You can buy the Run Chicken automatic coop door on the Run Chicken website or Amazon. Run Chicken provides free shipping worldwide with DHL Express and GLS for the EU. Shipping costs are free but can be changed at any given time; always check before completing your purchase.
Chickenfans readers can use a 10% off discount code for all Run Chicken purchases! Use the discount code for all purchases made on the Run Chicken webshop.
Run Chicken is located in Slovenia, EU, and exports worldwide. The logo of Run Chicken is a rough chicken outline, but also the country map of Slovenia. The company ships from inside the USA to US customers, so the shipping time stays low.
Currently, the Run Chicken door comes with a one-year warranty. As the product price may seem rather high, we must admit they are comparatively priced as they are very high in quality and worth every dollar. Run Chicken accepts all major credit cards, PayPal, GooglePay, and ApplePay.
To receive the Run Chicken warranty, you must complete the online warranty registration within one month after purchase. The warranty card with registration information is inside the box of your purchase. Check out the Run Chicken website for more information about the product warranty. If you have any problems with the Run Chicken coop door: the company has customer service available 24/7.
The owner of Run Chicken, Jure Markic, is proud of its young but fast-growing business. He is an innovative engineer that started producing the Run Chicken coop door T12 in 2019 before producing an even better product, the T40. In 2021 the T50 model was launched and received an updated version in 2022. In 2023 Run Chicken launched a new product: the Run Chicken Indoor Feeder.
If you want to know more about automatic chicken coop doors: We’ve thoroughly tested many chicken coop doors and made a list of our Best Automatic chicken coop doors, including major brands like Omlet, ChickenGuard, Vevor, Vevor Premium, Happy Henhouse and Chickcozy.