Originally Posted by Babbers1691
#1 Temperature monitoring (alerts when temp is too high or too low depending on user settings)
I have a thermometer in my living room that has a probe going outside to tell me what the temperature is. My TV, computer, phone, & radio tells me what temperature it is and what temperature it's going to be. If that fails, I ca open my door and step out on my porch and tell if it's hot or cold. I'm also outside - feeding the flock, buying groceries, tending the garden, going to work...
Not an interest to me.
#2 Water/Feed Level alert (alerts when low)
No interest. I see my flock several times a day and have no interest in having a 100% automated flock. I feed fermented feeds so auto-feeding isn't really a feature I could/would use; and since I'm out there feeding, I may as well water them (I use a semi-automatic waterer via gravity fed system that I fill as needed, from a garden hose +ACV, etc)
#3 Air Quality Control (monitors humidity, ammonia, and CO2)
Interest. Probably the biggest interest for me of all the items. I have an open air, high ventilation coop currently and can't imagine building anything in the future that doesn't have great ventilation (hoop coop, woods, coop, etc) but this would be a good standard for all coops.
#4 Nesting Box Egg detector (detects when an egg is laid in a box)
Casual/Novelty interest only. I'd take it as a standard feature but wouldn't add it as an upgrade. Getting to know your flock and when they lay negates this need. Like some of the other non-security features, it would be a "fun" add-on.
#5 Hen laying tracker (tracks which hen laid an egg)
Some interest. Part novelty, while also being a factor in tracking the overall health of a flock.
#6 Chicken Tracking (alerts when chickens get outside a perimeter such as into a garden or any other area)
Some interest. Coop security for one - being able to track escape points or to simply keep general track of where birds are going to safety/novelty.
#7 Automatic Door (opens/closes on timer or by light)
Hit or miss. The convenience sounds nice, but on the other hand. I like seeing whats in or around my coop before I let me birds out. It's a pain waking up early on cold days to let them out. It's be more of a pain for the door to open automatically when there is a raccoon/fox/dog/whatever waiting for a meal. I also wouldn't want to get a tardy hen to get locked out in the cold overnight because she missed the door closing. Not an interest to me.
#8 Automatic Heating (turns on a "safe" heater when temp drops below a certain point)
Like a heat lamp - this can ultimately be bad for your birds by not allowing them to adjust to normal temperatures. In theory, having a HVAC hen house sounds great, until the power goes out and your birds are exposed to temperatures they've never experienced. Not an interest to me.
#9 Automatic Cooling (fan kicks on when temp gets above a certain point)
We have 100 degree days here - in direct sunlight. Not enough to warrant an automatic cooling feature. My coop placement is within a stand of trees that provide shade. My birds have access to an area underneath their coop for shade and further temperature levity. Not an interest to me.
#10 Automatic Lighting (controls coop lighting/provides more light when daylight lessens for optimal laying)
Not an interest to me. Hens (like people, mammals, etc) lay X amount of eggs in their life. Optimal laying really means just getting those eggs sooner than later more than getting a higher total of eggs. I prefer as much of a natural environment as possible. Some studies suggest that hens forced to lay under artificial light can develop health issues. link
#11 Auto Water Defroster (turns on to prevent water from freezing in low temps)
Valuable feature simply to lessen manual workload. Amount of electricity used to accomplish this may be a factor as it's pretty simple and cheap to do with available means. That being said, it's a feature I(do) would use.
#12 Video Camera Monitoring
I have video monitoring for my coop. A basic system that lets me see my coop whenever I want. I have an option for sound but rarely use it. It basically allows me to monitor for predator or pilferers from inside. I think it's a good feature to have - cost being a factor. I added high quality video for around $70 via a harbor frieght security system (which also allows me to monitor my garden on a separate portion of my property via a 2nd camera). I can't imagine it being worth any more to incorporate.