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Smart Chicken Coop Monitoring & Control System! We NEED your input!!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

 

Hello everyone! I am an Electrical Engineering student doing a senior design project before I graduate. My team has chosen to do a "Smart Coop System" which will be an integrated system, easily installed in existing coops, that allows Backyard Chicken Farmers to monitor and control their coop as well as alert them to any possible issues. For our research portion of our project, I wanted to survey you all and see what features you would like to see in a system like this.

 

I have listed below options that we are planning to have, but please feel free to add anything you feel you would need/want. You can simply say, "I would like options #1, 3, 5." or something to that effect. It would also be extremely helpful if you could include what state or country you are located along with how many chickens you have.​ If this sort of system is something you would rather not have, that's okay, let us know!  Your input is greatly appreciate and essential to our research portion of our project! Thanks in advanced!
 

#1 Temperature monitoring (alerts when temp is too high or too low depending on user settings)
#2 Water/Feed Level alert (alerts when low)
#3 Air Quality Control (monitors humidity, ammonia, and CO2)
#4 Nesting Box Egg detector (detects when an egg is laid in a box)
#5 Hen laying tracker (tracks which hen laid an egg)
#6 Chicken Tracking (alerts when chickens get outside a perimeter such as into a garden or any other area)
#7 Automatic Door (opens/closes on timer or by light)
#8 Automatic Heating (turns on a "safe" heater when temp drops below a certain point)
#9 Automatic Cooling (fan kicks on when temp gets above a certain point)
#10 Automatic Lighting (controls coop lighting/provides more light when daylight lessens for optimal laying)
#11 Auto Water Defroster (turns on to prevent water from freezing in low temps)
#12 Video Camera Monitoring

post #2 of 8

Not to seem like a jerk or anything, but I would like to see a decent warranty on it, regardless of what options it has.

I'd vote for #11 and 12.

 

Also, :welcome


Edited by limited25 - 4/6/16 at 2:39pm
post #3 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Babbers1691 View Post

 

#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.

 

I live in Virginia (USA), current flock is 13 birds, with around 10-12 more en route via hatching, purchasing for a total of around 2 dozen birds.

On vaccinating v/s Marek's Disease - ( here & here )
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On vaccinating v/s Marek's Disease - ( here & here )
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post #4 of 8


Owen,

 

We are wanting a video monitoring system ... Where did you get yours and what kind did you get?  Can you see inside the coop with it?

post #5 of 8

This is the system I bought - but it was only ~$79 @ Harbor Freight.  It's a wire system so I only have it mounted looking towards my chicken coop & greenhouses in the front and my garden in the back.  Color, IR Night vision, sound at a quality I'm pleased with.  My coop is only about 100' from my house - I use a cattle panel coop/run reinforced by hardware cloth with a solid coop built inside, also reinforced with hardware cloth so I was content with my predator proofing holding - aiming it at (rather than in) my coop I can see if raccoon begin testing it and act accordingly - I'll likely start recording it at night just to be able to review on occasion.  It also gives me a wide view to include my greenhouses so I can see if anything is trying to get inside there as well.

 

The second camera I aimed at my garden to keep track of night time visitors so I can lay the appropriate traps if necessary.  I'm adding some electric netting soon because there are a ton of feral cats and irresponsible pet cat owners (man I hate cats) that screw around in there and I'm hoping to get them trained to GTFO on a permanent basis.  There are also quite a few native rabbits in a neighboring field/forest that I want to keep an eye on fr thievery and such - hopefully the netting trains them both away.

 

If you're wanting to peek inside your coop, Walmart (Amazon, etc) have some wireless systems for a reasonable price.  Some with DVRs (more expensive), some that allow you to wire into your own DVR (DirecTV, Cable, etc) for a better price.

 

EDIT:  If you have a garden coop or something close(ish) to your house - you could run the wiring from the system I have into your coop easy enough.


Edited by 0wen - 4/6/16 at 6:04pm
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post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Understandable and I would agree! Thanks for the welcome big_smile.png
post #7 of 8
#1 would have been nice when I lived in TX and Az, but in the temperate NW, I'll pass.

#2 sounds nice.

#6 would be great for free ranging

#8 & # 10 would be nice too.

I'm sure in cold place would like the auto defroster, but I have no need of it.
post #8 of 8
I like number five and number 12.
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