Please Criticize my self contained chicken system.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bucklee00, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. bucklee00

    bucklee00 New Egg

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    Feb 25, 2014
    Hello All,

    I am attending Purdue University in New Albany Indiana, and for my senior design class we have been instructed to build a self contained chicken coop.

    The end product will cost less than 300 USD, and include an incubator (automatic turning, temperature control), brooder, chicken coop, four nesting boxes, feeder, water, and an automatic door. It will all fit inside a 55 gallon drum for easy world wide shipping. This project will use a battery to run the micro controller, and our plan is to use thermal energy for the incubator and brooder.

    I am hoping you all will critique our nesting box design thus far. We are city engineers and know nothing about chickens! [​IMG]

    Because of 55 gallon drum management, we are designing our box to come in flat sheets and then slide together. Thus far, everything locks together without any fasteners.

    Here is our design. The boxes are sloped on the top to prevent the chickens from roosting there.

    The nesting box floors are 12"x12" with a 7.5 inch entrance height.
    [​IMG]


    Below is our design for the roll out egg box.The floors are sloped at 5 deg. We tested this and the eggs shot out of the box, so we are going to place some AstroTurf on the floor to lower the speed that the eggs exit. The arrows simulate how the eggs will roll down, and then they will stop on the right hand side of the box. Any where the egg travels, it is downhill. There will also be a roll out for the lower nesting boxes.

    I removed the back panel on the upper right side so you could see into the box.

    [​IMG]

    Below is the dimensions on the entrance. Pay no attention to the 5.99, it will actually be 7.5" height entrance.

    [​IMG]

    Below is an example of our lock together design. It's just a simple slide and lock together system.



    [​IMG]





    Ill be sure to keep updating this with more specs and ideas on the nesting boxes and other aspects of the project.

    Thanks in advance for your replies

    -Evan
     
  2. barnaclebob

    barnaclebob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    "and our plan is to use thermal energy for the incubator and brooder."

    What exactly does that mean?

    It looks like your nesting box has the sloped floor right above another piece of wood on the top level, why is this?

    The center wall has two pieces of wood, can you make it work with 1?

    Why not slope the floor less instead of adding AstroTurf?

    Are roll away nesting boxes even necessary?

    How many chickens does it have to hold?

    What assumptions are made about the tools that the end user will have?
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
  3. JaceAgain

    JaceAgain Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How will the egg rolling work? Most (all?) nests I've ever seen have shavings and feathers and stuff in them for comfort, I don't see an egg rolling out of that.
     
  4. Primo

    Primo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Interesting, I realize this is pie in the sky thesis type stuff, so I won't nitpick the relative merits (or lack there of) for the average chicken keeper or the chickens themselves.. I think your biggest issue will be getting the egg rolling working right. Too many right angles to get them reliably go where you want. A golf ball yes, but an oblong egg? An egg on its side will crack easily when it hits that wall right before the removal area. or hits another egg already stopped by the door. Look up an "egg skelter" maybe you can incorporate something like this in your design.

    Pic of an egg skelter

    [​IMG]
     
  5. bucklee00

    bucklee00 New Egg

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    Feb 25, 2014
    Hello barnacle bob.
    1. I should have explained the way we are heating the brooder and incubator. Photos below.
    2. This sloped floor on level 2 is sitting on top of the roof of level 1. We are designing the boxes to be modular, so the customer could have the ability to add one additional box, instead of having to buy 2-3 more nesting boxes so they are structurally rigid.
    3. We are unable to make them uni-walled for the same reasons as number 2.
    4. The floor is currently sloped. Right now it is sloped too much, and results in the eggs we tested leaving too fast. We will add astro turf to slow the eggs down upon exit of the box, and down the roll out egg box.
    5. Yes, Roll out egg boxes are a requirement. The end user should have no need to go into the coup daily.
    6. We are shooting for 10 chickens in this coup. We have not designed the coup yet, but we are aiming for 20 sqft of walking space in the coup.
    7. The end user is expected to have water, sunlight, and source eggs. That is it. Any additional tools will be supplied with the kit.

    Here are some prototypes we have built. The below design will capture thermal energy from the sun and transmit it into the inner water. We will then pump the water into the incubator and brooder.

    Entrances and exits pointed to below
    [​IMG]

    The water will then pump into our make shift radiators below.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    ^^^This is how we will provide heat in the brooder stage. The chicks will be able to walk under the heater to receive heat


    [​IMG]


    ^^Here is a prototype of the nesting boxes we have cut out on the laser.
     
  6. bucklee00

    bucklee00 New Egg

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    Feb 25, 2014
    Hi Primo,

    We try to stay as hands on as possible, but we have to start at a drawing board.

    I see your point on the roll out boxes having trouble with too many 90 deg turns. We are hoping to solve this by using a berm of AstroTurf, but this may have to be revisited.

    I appreciate the Egg Skelter. If our first roll out design does not work we may switch gears to something similar to the skelter.
     
  7. bucklee00

    bucklee00 New Egg

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    Pictures of the incubator egg turner.

    It will turn the eggs 30 degrees, 6 times per day. It is not hooked up to an electric motor yet.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. barnaclebob

    barnaclebob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are you planning on using the shipping barrel itself to store hot water for cloudy days and night time?

    Have you done a trade study on using a solar panel and battery for heat instead of water for an energy storage method?
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2014
  9. bucklee00

    bucklee00 New Egg

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    Yes, we are planning on insulating the barrel, and then using it for thermal storage. The amount of water mass needed has not been verified yet.

    We first looked into solar for the heat and electricity, but for the size we would need for the thermal energy, the solar option is far out of our budget. If radiation does not supply enough thermal energy, we may have to revert to fire [​IMG]
     
  10. NewlyHatched

    NewlyHatched Out Of The Brooder

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    I don't have anything to add but this is super cool! Science and chicken raising :)
     

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