As anyone who has taken care of chickens or other poultry before will tell you, it can be backbreaking work. So why not build a robot to do all the hard work for us? That’s precisely what [Aktar Kutluhan] demonstrated with an AI-powered IoT system that automatically feeds chicks and monitors unhatched eggs.
Make no mistake, hens are adorable, feathered creatures, but they can be quite finicky. An egg’s weight, size, and frequency can determine the overall health of a hen, and they can stop laying eggs altogether if something as simple as their feeding schedule is too sporadic. This is precisely what inspired [Aktar] to create a system that can feed hens at a consistent time every day while keeping track of the eggs laid to ensure the coop is happy and healthy.
What’s so impressive about this build isn’t just the clever automation that scratches off a daily chore, it’s built completely with IoT devices, including the AI. The setup uses Edge Impulse as an object detection model on an OPenMV Cam H7 microcontroller to recognize eggs in the coop. From there, an WizFi360-EVB-Pico board was attached so data could be sent over WiFi, with a DHT22 thrown in to monitor and record the overall temperature of the coop.
This is already an amazing setup, but when it comes to IoT devices, the sky’s the limit. You could control heat lamps in larger coops, automatically refill a water bowl if the hens’ water is low, or even build a hands-off incubator. We’re only just beginning to see the clever ways with which AI can help monitor our pet’s health. Just look at how another hacker used AI to monitor cat poop to make sure their furry friend wasn’t eating plastic. Thanks to [Aktar Kutluhan] for showing us more ways we can use AI to help our pets!
Continue reading “Lending A Helping Hand To Hens With AI”
Like most of us, [Hunter] and his partner [Katyrose] have been in quarantine for the past few months. Unlike most of us, they spun a 3D printed chicken playground design hackathon out of their self-isolation. The idea is simple: to build a playground full of toys custom-tailored to appease each chicken’s distinctive taste. The execution, however, can be proven a little tricky given that chickens are very unpredictable.
For each of the four select chickens in their coop, the couple designed separate toys based on their perceived interests. One, showing a fondness for worms, inspired the construction of a tree adorned with rice noodles in place of the living article, and moss to top it off. For late-night entertainment, the tree is printed in glow-in-the-dark filament. The others were presented with a print-in-place rotating mirror disguised as a flower, and a pecking post covered in peanut butter and corn. As a finishing piece, the fourth toy is designed as a jungle gym post with a reward of bread at the top for the chicken who dares climb it. Since none of the chickens seemed interested in it, they were eventually hand-fed the bread.
With no other entries to their hackathon, [Hunter] declared themselves as the winners. The 3D files for their designs are available for their patrons to print, should they have their own chicken coops they want to adorn. While the hackathon might’ve been a success for them, their chickens in particular seemed unimpressed with their new toys, only going to show that the only difference between science and messing around is writing it down, or in this case, filming the process. If you’re looking for other ways to integrate your chickens into the maker world, check out this Twitch-enabled chicken feeder, or this home automation IoT chicken coop door. Meanwhile, check out the video about their findings after the break.
Continue reading “Appeasing Chicken Tastes With 3D Printing”
By now you’ve seen almost anything Tweet. But have you seen the (French) twittering chicken coop? (Google translate link) [Hugo] had kept two chickens as part of a household-waste reduction campaign, and then afterward started work.
Even if you don’t read French, the chickens’ twitter feed basically tells the story.
The setup can take IR photographs of sleeping chickens and notify [Hugo] when it’s time to collect the eggs. Naturally, an abundance of other sensors are available. The coop can tweet based on ambient temperature, nest temperature, light level, motion sensor status, or the amount of remaining chicken feed. You can easily follow whether the two fowl are in the coop or out in the yard. It’s like Big Brother, only for birds.
The application is, frankly, ridiculous. But if you’re into home (or coop) automation, there’s a lot to be learned and the project is very well documented. [Hugo] used OpenCV for visual egg detection, and custom Python code to slightly randomize the tweets’ text. All of these details are up on his Github account.
And if you just can’t get enough chicken-coop hacks, be sure to check out this mobile chicken coop, this coop in the shape of a golden spiral, or this Bluetooth-enabled, talking chicken coop, among others. You’d think our name was Coop-a-Day.
In and of itself this mobile chicken coop is a pretty nice build. There are some additional features lurking inside which you don’t find on most coops. [Neuromancer2701] built-in a set of sensors which can be accessed wirelessly. It makes it a snap to check up on the comfort of the hens without leaving the couch.
At the heart of the sensor system is an Arduino along with an Xbee module. The build isn’t quite finished yet, but so far three sensors have been implemented. A thermistor is used to read the temperature inside the coop. To make sure there’s enough water, two sheets of foil tape were applied to the water reservoir. The CapSense library measures the capacitance between these plates which correlates to the water lever (we’ve seen this type of water level sensor before). And finally, there’s a sensor that can tell if the door to the coop is open or shut.
He’s having trouble automating the door itself. This can be pretty tricky, especially if you go for a super complicated locking mechanism like this one.
[Marchelo] wanted to build his own chicken coop. He started researching different designs and ended up basing his build on the golden spiral.
In addition to the interesting shape, a ton of clever design choice made it into the build. For instance, [Marchello] took the time to dramatically round over the lumber used as the skids of the base. This, along with wheels on one side, will make it much easier to slide the coop if he needs to move it. Also, the roosting boxes are an addition to the side wall of the hen-house. The roof for these boxes is hinged, so checking on the chickens, or harvesting eggs happens at a comfortable height for the farmer. And finally, the plank that allows entry for the hens doubles as the door at night. So far this is a manual-operation, but we could see some mechanization as a future improvement.
It turns out that as the days get shorter, chickens lay fewer eggs. But you can trick them into keep up production using artificial light. [Jpitz31] decided to build his own timed coop light to bridge the gap until the days of plentiful sunlight return.
He already had an LED camping light to use, but needed to find a way to power it and to switch it on and off on a schedule. He chose an ATmega328 for the latter, as he had a bunch of extras sitting around. As for power, there isn’t AC available where the coop is, so he opted for a 12V lead-acid battery with hopes of adding solar charging features in the future.
Switching is handled by a relay, with accurate time kept by a DS1307 real-time clock (it’s the red PCB seen above). Everything fits nicely on the board, and we have a couple of feature suggestions for future improvements. The linear regulators will eat up some extra power so moving to a switching regulator will help save juice. Also, it would be very easy to add a light sensor so that the light will only be on when the ambient light drops to a preset level. This way he won’t need to mess with the schedule as the length of the days change.
Although we’ve featured many chicken-related hacks here, this chicken coop features a solar-powered door to save one from having to open up the coop in the morning. As [chrisatronics] puts it “keeping chickens has one major drawback: You have to get up with them in the early morning and open the door at the coop. Everyday. Including Sundays and holidays.” This would help explain why so many people seem to be hacking their coops.
Solar power may be an interesting idea in itself, but when coupled with the fact that a chicken coop isn’t necessarily near a power supply, this becomes a very expedient solution. Controlling the setup is a MSP430 microcontroller (programming featured here for Linux) with a salvaged windshield wiper gearmotor. [Chrisatronics] did a great job writing this hack up, so if you want to try this yourself, make sure to check out the article.
Also, don’t forget to check out the video after the break for the ‘coop in action! Continue reading “A Solar-Powered Automatic Chicken Coop”