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Author Topic: Beginner with Chicken Project - Willing to pay for help  (Read 2605 times)
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I hope I am not offending a support group by offering to pay...I may be missing some type of protocol.

I would like to use Arduino to track my chickens and when they lay eggs. I thought his would be easier, but I have found that I know a lot more about chickens than I do programming. I got the idea from the RFID Cat Door. http://www.instructables.com/id/RFID-cat-door/

I want to track the chicken when she walks through the ring to a nesting box and then when she walks away. The time she spends in the nesting box should give me a good idea as to whether or not she has laid an egg.

The parts I think I need are:
1. Arduino
2. SD Card Shield - http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/sd-card-shield-p-492.html?cPath=109
3. RFID reader - http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/125khz-rfid-module-uart-p-171.html?cPath=144_153 or http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/electronic-brick-125khz-rfid-card-reader-p-702.html?cPath=144_153
4. Real Time Clock - http://www.ladyada.net/wiki/partselector/ic#rtc

Anyway, I hope that is clear as that is all I have been able to understand. I realize that I know more about chickens than programming. I would rather spend my time with them than on the computer so I am willing to pay for help.

If you are willing to help then please send me a message.

Thank you,

Stephen
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Brisbane, Australia
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Hi Stephen

Perhaps you could combine this with a load sensor so you can tell if the chicken leaves the nesting box but leaves it heavier than when she arrived there?

Geoff
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Dubuque, Iowa, USA
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I don't think RFID would work here; it works for a cat because a cat holds its head low and is predictable as to where the dangling RFID tag will be when it walks up to the door. The RFID reader you have linked (well, the non-discontinued version) states a 7cm sensing distance. I have no idea how you'd leash an RFID tag onto a chicken to get a predictable 7cm position and reading.

I'd suggest a simpler method would be to use some sort of light beam across the nesting area inside the nesting box; when the chicken blocks the beam it's in the box. An infrared LED and infrared phototransistor can be wired up to do this.

You might want to look into the Seeeduino Stalker which includes an SD card socket and real time clock right on the board ($39). It also provides a solar panel input and LiPo battery input so, if you keep your current consumption low, you might not even need to run power out to your house.
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Awesome suggestion on the Seeeduino Stalker. Thank you!
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You can also meassure the temperature in the nest. When the hen is there it will go up and if it lays an egg it will probably remain warmer longer after the hen leaves than when no egg is laid... You can also monitor the time the hen is in the nest by checking temp changes. Monitoring the time is there and how long it takes to cool down (rate of cooling) maybe you can determine if it laid an egg or not. The more eggs are in the nest the longer it takes to cool down. Everytime an egg is laid it takes longer and longer (if you don't eat them of course) smiley-grin. You have the previous cooling rate stored and you compare with new, if its higher is because a new egg is probably there. You will need to monitor also ambient temp to reference the thing. If you remove the eggs everytime, there will probably be a difference in the cooling rate anyway from when there is an egg to when there is none. No RFID required. Two temp sensors instead and some code.
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Central MN, USA
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Hi Stephen

Perhaps you could combine this with a load sensor so you can tell if the chicken leaves the nesting box but leaves it heavier than when she arrived there?

Geoff

That could work. You just need something accurate. Arduino only has 10 bit analog read and it fluctuates a bit. If the egg is less than say 1% of the weight of the chicken+nest, you can't tell it accurately with arduino and need some digital output or more accurate analog digital converters. Some balances have counting functions so when it knows how much one item weighs it display number of items instead of weight. You can program arduino to do just that.
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You could also put in every box a CMOS Camera (e.g. 640x480 resolution ~10$) and with image analysis the software checks the box of new eggs.
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Let's see, I'd like to ask why you want this information, how many chickens you want to track, and other broad aspects.
They are important for the design. Or is this just an excuse to play with arduino? smiley If not, we don't want to "lay an egg" here!
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Let's see, I'd like to ask why you want this information, how many chickens you want to track, and other broad aspects.
They are important for the design. Or is this just an excuse to play with arduino? smiley If not, we don't want to "lay an egg" here!

===========
Say, after posting this, I haven't heard a peep out of you smiley What exactly are you trying to track? Number of birds, etc.
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Dubuque, Iowa, USA
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Say, after posting this, I haven't heard a peep out of you

You posted your comment three months after the discussion ended.
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Quite right, the bird has flown the coop.
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Left Coast, CA (USA)
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Quite right, the bird has flown the coop.


Or the chicken already crossed that road.

Lefty
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