I picked up on one of the recommendation in a thread @peekay123 gave on motordrivers from pololu and would like to send a thank you and thumbs up!
Ended up exploring their page and using now the https://www.pololu.com/product/713 TB6612FNG to build a Core controlled “pop-door” for my chicken coop.
Will post something once the project is done – current picture is just a tease on the bread board and the gear motor. Driver board is running high amps “Output current maximum: 3 A per channel. Output current continuous: 1 A per channel (can be paralleled to deliver 2 A continuous)” and should deal with a door lifting mechanism and gear motor quite well.
I played with some code, inspired by the sumobot 3D Printed Particle Sumo Bot , and will customize code fitting a timing and lightsensor setting, not to mention (in v2) an attempt to control temperature in the coop with opening the door a bit to let more air circulate (or build separate air openings that might be more bird-safe).
again, a shout out for great suggestions, @peekay123