One of the things that customers kept asking for was a soft close version of our original Rat Proof Chicken Feeder. We finally came up with what we think is a reliable and cost effective retrofit kit for the original feeders and now have it for sale. Besides making the feeder quieter and making training the birds easier, the soft close also makes the feeder last longer as most of the shock is removed from the door closing. All that said, we have thousands of the original feeders in use and this is a luxury, not a necessity.
Some of the more skittish birds will be easier to train with this soft close feature and as it makes the door nearly silent in operation, any close neighbors will appreciate less noise. The cylinder uses safe, non toxic, vegetable oil as the hydraulic fluid, the cylinder itself is replaceable by removing two screws, but cold weather use will require adjusting the cylinder (it has a hand turned screw on top) as the cold temperature will affect how fast the oil moves and the closing speed. It has been tested down to 9 degrees F with little change in closing speed. In sub zero temperatures it will likely require backing the screw out almost all the way or even removal of the screw till above zero weather returns.
We have a video up on this page showing how it is installed, just takes a few minutes
once you have the tools gathered up. You will need a 1/8" drill bit, a
cordless screwdriver, or power drill (a nail, hammer, and a block of
wood will punch a hole too). The dimensions for punching or drilling
the holes are: Back hole = 3.25" down and .5" from the back, Front=
4.125" down and 2.75" from the front. These measurements are also given
in the video. Here is the link to the video