Instructables
My wife and I have wanted to raise chickens(for the eggs) and we finally decided to do it this spring.  I have read a lot about pastured chicken and wanted to create a mobile coop so that the chickens would not destroy the yard.  I have a fairly decent sized yard for the burbs so I hope to move the coop every day or every other day if possible.  Hopefully there will be enough space to rotate efficiently   I am planning on using mobile fencing to limit the chickens to an area around the coop. This would be moved with the coop everyday as well.  So coming up with a system to make this simple is an important goal.

Also I have messed around with the Arduino over the years and thought it would be a great tool for reporting the temperature, water use and closing the doors at night.  I hope to use Zigbee to transmit the data back to a pc in the house, then display the data on a web page for remote viewing.  The general dimensions are 4 feet by 3 feet with a height of 5 feet on the high side and 4 on the low.  It will be raised 2 feet off the ground to keep the critters away and have less impact on the grass.


Items left(items will be removed as they are add to the instructable):
Update:
Still searching for some cedar shingles for the siding.

Added Roof Step 5
Added Door and Ramp Step 6
Added Electronics Step 7
Added Software Step 8

Automation(motor problems)




 
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Step 1: Building the frame(lessons learned)

side_bracket[1].jpg
lateral_bracket[1].jpg
framing_almost_done_blanked out plate.jpg
The basic design was to build a frame similar to the slanted roof  in the example picture.  I initially used a pocket screw jig but it caused some serious structural integrity issues so I used small steel brackets.  I talked to one of my coworkers and he said I just did not set up the jig correctly.  Maybe in the future I will see if it can be used in a better manner.
You will not need a ramp for the chickens - once they understand this is home then they will return prior to dark - they are good jumpers and will launch themselves as long as the hole is not too small.

In relation to the door closing - you can use a 12v stepper motor - have a look at Sparkfun - nice and cheap and they have an easy driver module for it. Run them and the arduino off a 12v battery that you change out for charging once a week or with a solar panel.

I just have limit switches top and bottom for mine.

Currently my stepper motor uses wire to raise and lower the door - i am thinking of changing this to use a threaded bar as i have had the stainless wire fray where it runs through the limit switches.

Craig
How well is your water sensor working after its use so far? Also, this just sees if they have water or not, correct?
Have you a plan for making sure all chickens have returned before the drawbridge rises and the portcullis comes down? I've wanted to do this for years (as I want to keep chickens but still go to work without worrying about them).
Thanks, Duncan
diy_bloke1 year ago
You may want to correct your github link to:
https://github.com/Neuromancer2701/ChickenCoop

There are very cheap switches that are made to be operated by a closing door. They are made to switch a light in a closet on and off and such switches may be more reliable than 2 pieces of alufoil or a reed switch and magnet (reedswitches tend to magnetize after a while)
Those switches are a break contact on closing the door and a close on opening the door, but that is easily addressable in code
tim_n1 year ago
been working on this myself converting a 6x4 shed into a semi automated coop
Your pocket screws ripped out because your pockets were drilled to close to the end of the board. The pocket screws should alway come out in middle of the thickness of the board.  You have to move the jig towards/away from the end of the board to adjust for the thickness of the board and change the length of the screws you use.

The jig shown in the photo is clearly set up for 3/4" thick boards and you are using 1-1/2". The former is the standard thickness for cabinet case frames where most pocket screws are used.
J-Five1 year ago
Cool, just make sure the chickens don't know how to drive.
bajeeburs1 year ago
Very Cool, love the water sensor, I'll have to try that! I've got some Harbor Freight Solar panels on my coop for lights. I thought a maybe a lightweight pressure sensor for the food bowl could be good! I'm inspired, Thanks!! Nice work!
neuromancer2701 (author)  bajeeburs1 year ago
Yeah, I would love to do both of those ideas as well. Maybe even a heat lamp to control the temperature if it gets too cold. Ultimately I would love to be able to have electric fencing that could be folded into the side and then set out after the coop was moved.
Also for the door sensor a reed switch and magnet might work for you
just a thought, you could use a magnet on the door and a non latching hall effect sensor, such as diodes inc. ah180-pl-a, inside the coop. a neodymium magnet should reach through the plywood, keeping electronics out of the weather, whereas the foil will be exposed to water that drips down the side of the coop.
neuromancer2701 (author)  ashbreeze961 year ago
Yeah, that sensor was a bit of a hack. I really wanted to open and close the door on a timer but since I was unable to get the door mechanism working I just came up with an impromptu sensor.

Thanks for the feedback,
drbob001 year ago
I've always wondered about doing this sort of thing, will watch with interest - thanks ;)