This is my first real Arduino project. I messed around with a BOE bot when I was about 14 years old, but that was all cook book style projects that I did with that. I know this is a very large project to take on for my first project, so I would appreciate all of the help that I can get! I would be happy to provide pictures during the build and when it is put into use. I have a little bit of knowledge of electronics, but not nearly enough for a project like this.
I would like to make an Arduino project that will automatically feed my meat chickens. Instead of having the program just feed the same amount of food to the flock at every feeding time, I would like to have a feed schedule loaded into the Arduino so that the feed ration increases at a specific rate during the life of the birds (10 weeks). I know what the feed amounts need to be so it would probably be the easiest just to convert the feed rations to a specific number of rotations of a feed auger or seconds to run a feed auger in order to dispense a specific amount of feed.
The purpose of this project is so that I do not need to be home everyday to feed the birds. So, I would like to have some way to remotely monitor if the feed was dispensed and if the system is functioning as it should. Perhaps this could be done by connecting the Arduino to WIFI (my barn is close enough to my router that this shouldn't be a problem). I would really like to be able to check on the feed dispenser with my smartphone remotely.
To make this whole project more complicated; I do not have power in my barn. My first thought on how to solve this problem is to hook the system up to rechargeable batteries and a solar panel. I don't know enough about this potential solution to have an opinion on its viability, but the barn certainly does get lots of morning and mid-day sun.
Please let me know what you think I should do. I don't have a budget in mind for this project, but I would appreciate suggestions of what hardware I should buy in order to build this project. I look forward to hearing the creative solutions that this community has to my problem.