Hands-Off Chicken Coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by HandsOffCoop, Oct 14, 2016.

  1. HandsOffCoop

    HandsOffCoop New Egg

    Oct 14, 2016
    I am currently a senior at LSU graduating this May. For my senior project, I am a working in a team of mechanical and electrical engineering students to design and build a fully autonomous chicken coop. Our hands-off chicken coop will be able to preform chicken care and chores for seven days with no human input.

    Our coop design will include:
    Safe areas for sleeping, movement, and laying
    Automated feeding/watering
    Automated door operation
    Automated egg collection
    Temperature controlled egg storage
    Ease of waste removal
    Programable control system to allow owners to control coop operation

    My team has become familiar with current coop technologies in order to understand what features we want to include in our design. However, feedback from backyard chicken owners is essential to typical chicken care as well as chicken coop design.

    We have created two surveys. The first 10 question survey focuses on typical daily chicken care and will allow us to have a better understanding of what it means to own chickens.
    The second is a 4 question survey specific to design features we have been brainstorming for the autonomous design.

    Chicken Care Survey:

    Coop Design Survey:

    Any feedback, additional comments or feature suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    I would be happy to answer any questions about our current design ideas.

    Thank you and Geaux Tigers!
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Sounds like an ambitious project and I wish you success. The most exciting part for me would be the egg refrigeration option. I typically don't refrigerate my eggs but I also store them the cool house after collection. On hot days when I'm not able to get out and collect, or if I have to be gone a day or two, it would be reassuring to know the eggs weren't developing salmonella in the hot coop. Good luck!
    1 person likes this.
  3. Korzak

    Korzak Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 25, 2014
    I would strongly urge you to talk to local farmers, or visit a farm that raises chickens and does tours.
    jthornton and HandsOffCoop like this.
  4. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2016
    Interesting project. FWIW, there is a difference between what is possible and what is practical and necessary. Much of what you describe is possible and from a learning objective standpoint, would be a fun thing to develop. As long as you know the difference, no harm done.

    A good example might be the case of the automatic door. I went out to shut the coop the other evening and when I did my head count, came up one bird short. I went looking and found her trapped inside a fenced off area. Freed up, she high tailed it to the coop and roost. Had I not been out to check on things, she most likely would have not made it through the night, succumbing to some form of night time predator.

    Do you have a number of birds in mind? Big difference if it is 5 or 50....or even 500? Any bigger than that and most commercial layer houses already have all you describe, so you would be reinventing the wheel.
    ChooksNQuilts and HandsOffCoop like this.
  5. tmarsh83

    tmarsh83 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 16, 2015
    Kind of built my coop with this in mind for when I traveled for work anyway. A few bunk or gravity pipe feeders, a rain catchment watering system, coop door on a motor. and a rollout nest box setup pretty much makes for an autonomous coop. Doesn't have to be over the top, just well thought out.

    Judging by the questions in your survey you're looking to make a lot of things automated that don't need to be.

    Automated and autonomous aren't the same thing, and simpler is ALWAYS better.
  6. ocap

    ocap Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 1, 2013
    Smithville, Missouri
    from my experience with predators, the automatic door I bought was a waste of money. I can't let them free range, wire roof on the run works best for about the same cost as an automatic door
    1 person likes this.
  7. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2016
    I do have one suggestion for your team to consider.........built a better rat trap!


    Take an electronic rat trap of the type shown above.......convert it to an AC unit so the batteries don't go dead, and figure out a way to dump it so it so a person doesn't have to and then have it reset itself.

    It can dump into a small trash can that you drop a chunk of dry ice into and seal up (dump zapped rats into a container filled with CO2 gas so they don't come back from the dead).

    We recently found out the entire city of Chicago and adjoining suburbs are infested with rats, so this has commercial applications as well.

    Last edited: Oct 17, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  8. Chicken man15

    Chicken man15 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 20, 2015
    Autonomous coop would be great!!
    I don’t think that you really need a coop door as some people have bad predators. But would be nice to have on it but a feature to shut it off via phone app.
  9. jthornton

    jthornton Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 30, 2017
    Poplar Bluff, MO
    My Coop
    Remove the batteries and wire it up to a 6v wall wort... AC powered now.


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