Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How To Build an Animal Operated Gate Latch

Pony Opens Gate When She Has Finished Her Meal!

Many animals love to share the same pasture or paddock with equestrian friends but need to eat alone without interruption from others in the herd.  Our girl, Tinkerbell, is 37 years old and needs a special diet and cannot be fed with other animals. She has to have plenty of time to slowly eat her meals without getting bugged by equestrian friends who eat their grain and hay much faster, usually in about 5 minutes. 
The setup is really pretty simple: first modify a gate latch that can be opened by an animal's nose. The latch pictured has a 3 inch threaded screw with washers and a nut that support a piece of PVC pipe.

The next step is to install a mechanism to open the gate once unlatched. We use a rope attached to the gate, run through a pulley, then tied to a counter weight. 

 Finally, you will need to train your critter to open the gate. Phoebe Henry is smearing a little molasses and grain on the latch to get her miniature horse, Carmel, to figure out how to open the gate. I am now converting all of my goat feeding areas to individual feeding stalls complete with the HenryLatch. It works!

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