I have been meaning to share this project as it came together, but now I am at a good stopping point to document what I have done to date.
I made a little YouTube video (http://youtu.be/jtjv1H7coLg). The upshot is:
-rain barrel hooked up to chicken nipples for continual hands-off water.
-small attic fan with thermostat to cool the house when when it gets hot.
-Light sensor that triggers doors closing at night
-Feed level sensor tied to a small servo to display feed level on an old-fashioned dual
-a stained glass rooster with LED backlighting to indicate the birds are safely closed in.
Happy to provide more technical details for anyone who is interested.