Chickens redux

Regular readers with an interest in poultry will be all agog to find out what we’re posting about today; yesterday’s post covered a chicken coop with automated doors, and we promised more chickens today. (AND TOMORROW! It’s all chickens all the way down at Pi Towers this week.)

Darren Steele, a Pi owner from Lancashire, was faced with the same chickens/predators problem that Eric Escobar dealt with in yesterday’s post by mechanising the coop door, and programming it to shut after dark.

It turns out that a couple of years ago, Darren also automated his chicken coop to solve the same problem.

The way he automated it is perhaps not the first solution that might have sprung to your mind or to mine; but that’s why Darren got a spot on the BBC news and you and I didn’t.



Martin O'Hanlon avatar

Lateral thinking! boom boom

Jon avatar

And it apparently gently rocks the hens to sleep at night! Mind you, I wouldn’t want to be in it during a windstorm…

It’s an interesting solution, but I can’t help feeling he’d be better served with some steel cables instead of the rope. Might want to reinforce the coop itself, too; as the wood ages, it’s less likely to stand for such abuse.

Overall, I very much applaud Darren’s solution!

Liz Upton avatar

I just love the shot where they’re interviewing him and the chicken coop is gently rotating on its windlass…I’m not sure why, but it reduces me to tears of laughter every time.

greg58 avatar

Interesting solution.
The same problem was solved by my grandfather 50 years ago – without RasPi and even without electicity.

Liz Upton avatar

I’d love to know how. I’m thinking child labour.

Greg avatar

My Choocks live in an 8×6 shed, think I need to get a bigger tree….

kev avatar

Greg – just dig a big hole, lower the coop in and then slide a landscaped panel (with air vent) over the top at night – Tracy Island style.

jdb avatar

Tracy Island?

Surely you’re getting mixed up with Marineville?

Dougie avatar

No he’s not. TB1 comes out (past the lemon squeezer) from under the swimming pool (which moves back).


Tom West avatar

Well, that’s raised the bar. It’s taken things to a whole new level. People will have to aim higher.

Still, certainly something to crow about.

Zak Zebrowski avatar

As I watched the video, my head started vertical, and ended is sort of an a skewed position as the coop was raised…

Average Man avatar

I’d love to see him add a PiNoIR to the base of that coop with some IR LEDs, to see some famished foxes looking a little baffled of an evening :D

Liz Upton avatar

Famished foxes with cricked necks.

Michael Horne avatar

Very inventive. And unaccountably hysterically funny. :-)

Alan Mc avatar

Pure genius.

Next step would be to put an Astro Pi board in Darren’s Coop….Near-Space Poultry =o)

Steve Foster avatar

I wonder if he used an old washing machine motor. His solution was certainly both Bold and Ariel.

Liz Upton avatar

Oh, badoom tish.

Darren Steele avatar

This is amazing. I was just browsing through my G+ feed and spotted a picture of a chicken and then my name “up in lights”! My eyes were on stalks. I was wondering why the views of my youTube video went through the roof!

To answer a few questions….

@Steve Foster – I used a winch that I purchased on eBay, it was about £60.
@Average Man – I have been pondering adding something new to detect the height of the hen-house as currently it’s just hoisted and lowered using a time delay – not very inventiveE
@Zac – I changed the ropes around a bit, it’s a little more level now and the chickens were terribly grateful.
@Jon – the rope is proper climbing rope which in theory could lift a car, I’m pretty happy with it.

If you guys are interested I also built a system that allows me to control my Dyson hot room heater via an android/iPad app via a pi via an IR transmitter mimicking the Dyson remote control. It saves me having to pay the kids to go to the end of the garden to turn on Daddy’s office heater ;)

Liz Upton avatar

Hi Darren! Thank you VERY MUCH; we really got a kick out of this. Yes please – would you mind dropping me a line about your office heater? (I’ll save it up for more seasonable weather…) liz (at)

Doug Wyman avatar

Doing the same here Click here for a paper on keeping preditors away and checking the condition of the coop and many other things.

Comments are closed