Chicken Nest Box That Reports How Many Eggs Each Chicken Lays

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MauriceR, Sep 18, 2018.

  1. MauriceR

    MauriceR In the Brooder

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    Does anyone know of a commercial or DIY solution for this? I've done some searching and found a paper from a University that does something like this, but didn't find any other solutions. The solution in that paper seems complex since it requires a custom lay box solution.

    It seems like something I could build by putting a cheap band on each chicken leg and then putting a scale that reads those bands in each nestbox. So it would basically scan the tag on the chicken and then record weight before and after that chicken sat in the box. Then I could determine if it left an egg in the box. Then I'd upload this data to your smartphone so you could see how many eggs each chicken laid.

    That said if something like this already exists I don't feel I'd need to reinvent the wheel.

    If nothing like this exists would this be something people are interested in me putting on Kickstarter? I've done several successful Kickstarters, but nothing related to out chickens. A really rough guess at price would be $70 per scale with a bunch of the chicken bracelets included.
     
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  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Welcome to BYC!
    Do you have chickens...or are you just here to do marketing research??
    Let me guess, senior project in some kind of electronics/automation engineering realm?

    You can read the leg(tho it would be hit or miss) but doesn't mean they laid an egg!!
    Leg bands have to be fairly lose, or they can damage the leg, so orientation for reading RFID would be spotty.

    The egg counting tube might work tho....but the infrastructure would be beyond most BYCer's.
     
  3. MauriceR

    MauriceR In the Brooder

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    Thanks for the feedback!

    We have 11 chickens, but this project is enough work that I'd rather not do it just for us. I'd be happy to buy one if it exists, but couldn't find one. As I said in my first post the only thing like this I could find was that other paper I linked to.

    Did you read the part of my post where I mention this device would have a scale? This would allow detecting if an egg was laid without using a counting tube. I mentioned the paper which did use a counting tube as being too complex so I do agree with you there.

    This certainly isn't any kind of senior project. I've run several successful Kickstarter projects. The point of this post is to see if there is enough interested for me to prototype something. I'm pretty sure it would work with the longer range 13.56 mhz tags, but obviously it is something I'd find out during testing.

    So far it doesn't seem like there is a lot of interest, which surprised me. I thought others would like to know how many eggs each of their hens laid. That said I am really glad I asked since if there isn't interest then I can better spend time on other ideas I have.
     
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  4. jolenesdad

    jolenesdad Songster

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    The egg would have to be off the scale for the before and after measurements to be different, right?
     
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  5. MauriceR

    MauriceR In the Brooder

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    Not really because the smart scale can handle accumulating the wights over time. Let me give an example.

    Imagine the scale says 1 pound. Then that reading goes to 3 pounds. That looks like a 2 pound chicken so it scans for the rfid tag and finds it is number 1234589 which you have set to be "Fluffy" in the app. If the scale then goes back to 1 pound we know Fluffy didn't lay an egg. If the scale drops to 1.1 pound then Fluffy did lay an egg that weighted 0.1 pounds.

    Using this method not only would we know which chickens laid eggs we would also know how many eggs there are in each nesting box, how much each of your chickens weigh, which nesting box is most popular, and several other things that could be derived from this log of weights and chicken tags.

    Your phone could then display how many eggs all your hen nests had in the past week and how many eggs came from each hen.
     
  6. jolenesdad

    jolenesdad Songster

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    Got it! You’re measuring the weight of the eggs really, for some reason I read it like you’re weighing just the chicken. Oops!

    I don’t think anything like this exists. I can’t even find an app that lets me track egg laying per chicken manually.

    My thoughts large scale as far as development and interest would be that small flock owners typically can tell what egg is from what chicken, especially over time if not right away.

    Large scale flock owners probably don’t care.

    Breeders improving egg production have so many other variables in place for flock management they already have setups to know what egg comes from what hen and have to be more involved than just tracking weight.

    I suppose commercially there could be a reason for this system to truly operate at peak efficiency, culling as egg production drops....

    Those are my thoughts!
     
  7. MauriceR

    MauriceR In the Brooder

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    Thanks for the feedback. It is really helpful.

    I've started to come around to the same thought at you. Many/most small flock owners don't care about this data or can figure it out without this tech. Personally, I think having the data would be fun, but it seems most don't think that way.

    For larger flocks there might be an advantage to having something like this to really optimize output, but a device like that would be different in a few ways and I'd need to find a free range operation of reasonable size that wants to work with me on something like that.
     
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  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Try it. First just mock up a few tags, see if they'll fit on the birds and stay situated where the reader would read them....I think that's the biggest 'problem' with your theory.

    Next biggest challenge would be that a hen may go in and out of several nests before actually laying, she may go in and sit for awhile then go wander around and come back and lay later. So you could get all the leg readings with no egg being produced.

    Don't think it's a viable product for sale, at least not to back yarders, but is interesting and am coming at it from a engineering tech background..I've designed and conducted lots of studies of machinery and equipment.
     
  9. MauriceR

    MauriceR In the Brooder

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    Aart, thanks for the feedback!

    There are a lot of sources for different kinds of RFID tags specifically designed for chickens/birds. I suspect those giant chicken farms use these tags so they are quite inexpensive.

    I don't think a bunch of readings with no eggs laid is an issue at all. That might even be possibly interesting data if it turns out to correspond to future laying in some way. I'd probably relay all changes to the phone which would act as a processing device and updates to the app would decide what info was useful enough to show users. Maybe their would be a simple menu with the basic info and then a more advanced menu with lots of extra details.

    I'm not going to spend time on this unless I find a market for it because I have more ideas than I have time. Some things I do purely for passion, but this one fall into the bucket of only wanting to do it if I find a group of people that would benefit from it. It doesn't need to be a commercial success, but I'd at least want to know that others would use the tech in some way if I prove it is viable.
     
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  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Then how would you tie the egg laid with the chicken that laid it...especially if you had like 30 birds and 10 nests?
     
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