Automating the chicken Coop

I’m not overly keen on cage eggs, so i got a few chooks for around home. Legally we are allowed 5 hens (no roosters) since we live in town. Not wanting to annoy neighbours i went for snuggly quiet little silkies which are the poodle of the chicken world .

Since I am not overly keen on early mornings, i have been trying to find a good way to automate the chicken coop. I made a basic sliding door up and down, tied a piece of string to that, ran it through a pully inside hte top of the coop and out the back.

This meant i pulled the string, it pulled the door up. I could tie it off during the day, or easily close it. Since the chicken coop is near my bedroom but outside, i ran the string in a bedroom window – on weekends i open window, pull string, close window and go back to sleep.

Now days thats getting a little old, i want to automate things!

When the chickens were smaller, i set up a raspberry pi with a basic install of rasbian, i installed a raspberry pi camera on that, and put it all in a case. This was ideal for just watching the chicks whilst at work, and when i was integrating new chicks.

Moving on to the more fun project, i ended up using scraps of things from all over the show. My son had an arduino car that had a servo AS3013 (3kg) that i took, along with a plastic end spinning thing. I attached a piece of dowel to that, and made a crappy mount.  This is what my high tech setup looks like.

The idea is that the string for the sliding door wraps about the dowel, pulling it up.

The 3 wires from the servo go on the 5V, ground, and pin 18 according to which has them neatly in a row, and the Pi itself goes in a nice container to keep dust away. I had to drill out some space for the wires going to the servo.

To make the servo work, i installed the RaPi GPIO librarys

sudo apt-get install -y wiringpi

After this i can just create scripts like this to run the servo (this is continuous rotation servo)

# This switches pin 18 to pwm if its not already
gpio -g mode 18 pwm
Now you can tell gpio to set the PWM clock to those numbers:
gpio pwm-ms
gpio pwmc 192
gpio pwmr 2000
# This here tells its the placement
gpio -g pwm 18 200
#sleep whilst it turns for 2 seconds
sleep 2
# Stop the turning and reset that
gpio -g pwm 18 150

Likely im doing this wrong, but it works for me, it was simple and easy to setup and do. THis is from tutorial at

Once i had the servo moving, the camera working, and all that , i made a web page that simply runs the php scripts using exec, this means i can click ‘pic’ and get a pic realtime without running a webcam. Terribly insecure and probably not good, but its on local network only, not a major issue. Door scripts are on a crontab to run at a set time.

I uploaded all the code for this to

Now i just need to wait for a sunny day to install it all 🙂

CHICKENS! (not tech related)

So recently i have decided i wanted a couple chickens, so i could  have eggs. I wanted to do the whole hog, so got a cheap incubator and bought some fertile eggs.

Incubator was not getting up to temp, so i pulled it apart, and fixed it, and put the eggs in. Turns out those eggs were not fertile 🙁
Second time i got a decent incubator, much larger! unfortunately the hygromtre reading was wrong, and temp was about 1C off. I did manage to hatch 4 chicks though from 24 eggs, despite it having all the wrong settings.

Third time incubating, three days before hatch it lost temp, and i ended up doing dodgy hackery things to keep the temp up to try hatching, but ended up with only 3 hatching from 10 eggs

Going for a 4th time lucky, i have new sensors and fixed the whole thing up (yet again) with more reliable ways of heating and measuring these things.

In the mean time, the first 4 chooks were black/blue, and the second batch of 3 are all white.

So from here i clearly needed a cage! I had a ton of pink wood sitting about, so i built a raised cage to deter cats/rats, and give the chickens more run space underneath.

I have since added a veranda, ramp and painted the whole thing. Chooks seem to love it, though are still only about 6 weeks old


The next thing to do is automate it! Heating, door opening, egg notification, etc etc!

A stock reply to unsolicited dick pics

Written by Sarah-Louise Jordan apparently is a great stock reply to dick pics sent to you.

Dear sir,

Thank you for the unexpected and unsolicited submission of your penis portrait for our consideration.

We regret to inform you that it has failed to pass our most basic standards of quality control at this time. However, for a nominal fee we can offer you a report that will help you to change that.
The A4 report, provided via postal service, will include personalised booklets that cover the following:
– Why genitals are not an acceptable conversation opener (a step by step guide to saying hello)
– How to appear as though you weren’t raised by wolves
– Better ways to deal with your sexual frustration
– How to dress your penis for social media (a rough guide to pants)
– Penis-reading: a new form of palmistry that may help you unlock the key to your future


We will also answer questions you might have such as
– Do I have too much time on my hands?
– Why did my penis fail basic standards of quality control
(note the number one reason for this occurring is that it is attached to a bigger dick than itself. )

Finally, as a gesture of goodwill we intend to offer two free samples with all of your future penis portrait submissions:
An inventive critique of your pride & joy
A surprise consultation with your closest available family member about your portfolio.
We trust this exciting offer is acceptable and look forward to working with you in the near future.
– Yours faithfully