How to fit an automatic door opener to the Devon Hen House

Please bear in mind that these instructions are a basic guideline on how to fit an VBS automatic chicken coop door opener to a Devon Hen House. Please proceed with caution and take care while attaching this unit. We accept no responsibility for any damage caused to you, your hen house, door opener or your chickens.

Before you begin you are going to need the following tools for the job:

  • A suitable Philips screw driver.
  • An adjustable spanner or pair of pliers.
  • A thick piece of cloth or towel to cover the VBS unit box to simulate night.
  • An optional drill or very thin screwdriver

Step 1. Position the VBS box.

The position of the main unit  is more important if you are attaching a Devon Run to the hen house. If so you need to make sure there is enough space between the top of the run and the VBS unit.  We recommend that you position the unit as shown in the image below.


Step 2. Position the pulleys.

The screws for the pulleys supplied are quite thick and will be need to be screwed in using a spanner or a pair of pliers.

We recommend that you either drill a small guide hole to help you get started or you use a very thin screwdriver to create a small hole.


The pulleys 1 and 2 shown in the image above should not be over tightened as they will poke through the wood panel on the other side and may pose a potential danger to your hens, so we do recommend you take care here.

Pulley 3 is positioned to the side of the pop hole door so as not to obstruct the door while it is being opened.

If you are attaching a Devon run to the Devon Hen House then Pulley 4 would need to be screwed in fully, allowing just a small gap for the white wheel to move without catching.


Step 3. Attach the batteries supplied, and then unwind the cord so it is fully extended.

You do this by ‘connecting’ pins 3 and 4 with something metallic, a screw driver or coin and then pulling very lightly on the cord to simulate the weight of the door.


With the cord fully unwound the motor will cut off automatically. Once the cord is totally unwound and the motor has cut off remove one of the batteries temporarily.

Step 4.Screw in the hook supplied to the top of the pop hole door.

Take care to ensure that the hook supplied is straight, in the middle of the door and in the middle of the wood.


We recommend that if you intend to attach the handle supplied with your Devon Hen House for the pop hole door that you position it at the bottom and not the top of the door or that you make sure the screws heads are countersunk on the back so as not to obstruct the door in any way as this will prevent it from opening smoothly and may damage the motor.


Step 5. Attach the extra piece of cord supplied.

We have supplied you with an extra piece of cord. You will need to make 2 looped ends with the extra cord supplied.


Next pass this cord with the two loops you have just created through the loop of the VBS cord (which hangs from the bottom of the VBS box).

The 2 loops you have created can now be attached to the hook supplied (which you have already attached to the top of the door)

Step 6. Next carefully loop the cord around the pulleys.


 PLEASE NOTE : The next step is very important and care needs to be taken. The VBS unit uses a small knot to activate a little cut off lever. 


Step 7. Create a little ‘cut off’ mark in the cord.

Next, you will need to create a little knot in the cord.

It needs to be in the correct place so as to ‘cut out’ the motor at the right point. For this, you will need to have a marker pen to hand so you can make a mark on the cord so you know where to tie the knot.

With the pop hole door closed, the cord attached to the hook in the door and around the pulleys the next thing is to put in the missing battery.

Assuming you are doing this during the day or in a bright place the motor will kick in, take up any slack on the cord and door will begin to open.

Be ready to stop the door by removing one of the batteries as soon as the door is almost fully opened. Failure to do so will result in the pull-up door hitting the pulley and causing the motor to cut out.

With a battery removed and the door almost fully opened take your felt pen or something similar and make a  mark on the cord just below the little hole. This will indicate where to tie your knot.


Step 8. Tie your cut off knot.

Reattach the battery and at the same time touching pins 3 and 4 with something metallic the door will start to close. Once there is enough slack in the cord to play with you can stop the motor and tie your knot. Make sure that the little bead is above  this knot.  It is this bead that pushed up the lever that cuts out the motor.

Step 9. Attach the face of the VBS box and test the door.

With the batteries connected, the VBS unit fully secured and closed up tight use a towel or thick cloth to block out the light and test the opening and closing of the door.

Final points:

We recommend that on a regular basis you check that the pop hole door is free from debris and that it runs smoothly. Please bear in mind that during wet weather wood typically absorbs the moisture in the air and expands. This may temporarily effect the opening and closing of your a pop hole door. So too on frosty mornings. While it is great to be able to have a lie in over the weekend or not have to worry about your chickens before you leave for work the onus is on you as their keeper to make sure that they are safe and that the door opener is working.


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