Smart Devices Make Keeping Chickens Easier

These ingenious smart devices handle common poultry-keeping tasks so you can focus on what's important—enjoying your chickens!

by Shelly Wutke
PHOTO: Nick Beer/AdobeStock

I always get questions about my favorite devices and what I use most on my hobby farm. I find the smart devices I use for chickens to be the biggest time saver.

Out of all of my farm animals, chickens take up the most time during the day. There’s feeding, watering and egg collecting. And every night I go outside to close the coop door so predators can’t get in. Like many hobby farmers, I have a day job too, so I set up a few smart devices to pick up a bit of my workload with the chickens.

Some of these are common smart devices you wouldn’t think to use for the chicken coop, but they have features built in that make them very useful. They’ve made my life a bit easier, so they might help you, too.

Wi-Fi Chicken Coop Door

You know that feeling when you’re about to sit down for the evening after a long day outside or at work and you feel like you forgot something?  It might not become apparent until 3 am, but that’s when you sit up, wide awake after realizing you forgot to close the chicken coop door.

On my hobby farm, forgetting to close the door can mean I lose my entire flock in one night. Once I had a mink sneak in out of nowhere. Another time it was a raccoon.

But what I worry about most are rats, especially if I have pullets in the chicken coop. I used to have a reminder on my phone to remember to close the door, but I knew there had to be a better way.

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As it turns out, there was. A Wi-Fi chicken coop door has been a lifesaver for me and my chickens.

A Wi-Fi chicken coop door is an automatic coop door, but this door connects to a module that looks a lot like a gate control panel. It connects to your home’s Wi-Fi network and you can operate it via an app on your phone. Once it’s installed it lets you open and close your chicken coop door via the app or the Internet.

You can schedule your door opening and closing at the same time every day.

If something forces the door open at night, you can get a text message letting you know. There are some types of Wi-Fi chicken doors that will monitor what’s going on around the door too. These will keep track of light, temperature and more.

Read more: An automatic chicken door is a keeper’s dream.

Wi-Fi Smart Feeder

I’ve always had a smart feeder for my cats. I love how these devices will drop kibble into the bowl at set times during the day. You can control a smart feeder using an app, and my feeder also has a camera so I can see my cats as they eat.

How does this apply to chickens? I recently had an issue where I wanted to feed my older chicks after they moved into a section of the chicken coop. But I was heading out multiple times a day to check their food and water.

Anytime I went near that section of the chicken pen I had other chickens clamouring to get to their food. The most determined hens often managed to find a way around the fencing I had set up so the chicks wouldn’t get as much food as they needed.

One of the easiest fixes for this issue is a smart feeder just like I use for my cats. I placed one of these smart devices inside the chicken coop where the young chickens were and plugged it into power. Then I set a schedule so it dropped food in the bowl every hour.

The chicks now always have access to food, and because it has a camera I can also see the chicks eat and know when a hen gets into that area. Because I’m not walking in the coop as often, the older chickens are none the wiser.

Automatic Smart Water Station

This is a bit of a DIY, but it’s very simple. I wanted to give my chickens better access to fresh, cold water, especially on hot days. To make sure the chickens always have fresh water, I set up a hose system that’s connected to a smart water timer.

You connect your smart water timer to your faucet, set a schedule via an app, and your water will turn off and on all day. I have a hose connected to the small bucket with water cups, and I know it only takes 2 minutes to fill it up. I don’t want to waste any water, so I’ve set the intervals on the water timer to fill every hour for one minute.

Now the chickens get cold water every hour, and because of the intervals I’ve set up, I’ve never had the water overflow or waste.

Read more: No matter the season, make sure your chickens always have fresh water.

Smart Devices Keep Your Chickens Happy

These are just a few ways you can use smart devices to manage your day-to-day care and maintenance of your chickens. I still seem to go out to my chicken coop just as often. But now I’m more focused on spending time with my birds and less focused on tasks.

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