On Friday, I ordered a ChickenGuard from FlyteSoFancy.
ChickenGuard is one of the two main makes of automatic pop hole opener (the other is VSB). Of course we don't need to have the pop hole opened: the Cube is attached to a fox-proof walk-in run, so we leave the pop hole open most of the year.
We needed it because Roobarb learned to imitate one of the cockerel chicks, and has taken to crowing at 5am to be let out of the walk-in run, into the garden. We decided we could fit this device to the walk-in run so it would open automatically in the morning, allowing them to go into the garden without needing to wake us (and our neighbours) up to do so.
Before ordering it, we debated exactly where we would put it. Our run has a door at each end, and we vary which one we use depending on which part of the garden we are giving the Girls access to. I was so fed up of getting up at 5am that I was willing to buy two if necessary, one for each end. However, that wasn't necessary as we found a spot - just big enough - where we could put it and it would be suitable irrespective of which part of the garden we were giving them access to.
Our walk in run has two Cubes-with-runs attached, next to each other and at right angles to the main run. There is a narrow corridor between the two Cube runs. We decided we could put the mechanism inside the run at that point. This way, it would be easy to operate, we could see from the house whether or not the door was down.
So, having looked at both types of opener, we chose the ChickenGuard and I bought an aluminium door for it as well. Over the weekend, DH built a wooden board to put it all on, so that it would stay secure and not weaken the weldmesh. He even painted it to match the wood of the run.
At 8.30 this morning, ChickenGuard and door arrived. DH fitted it to the board, and then fitted the board to the run.
We shut the Girls in the run, then opened the new door. While it sloooooowly opened, I went outside, and called them out, offering mealworms as an incentive. No hesitation on their part (although it took a couple of them a while to find the opening).
When they were all out, I threw mealworms through the opening into the run, to get them to go back in. Again, no hesitation.
We've shut the main door now, so the only access is via this new opening. So far so good.
I suspect that it will take them some time to remember where it is, though.
Let's see what happens.