The Eggs-iting chicken coop, connected by Sigfox, creates a virtuous circle

Introduction

While the EU upgraded minimum living conditions for laying hens in 2012, many still live out their shortened lives in cramped conditions. This led the team from Egg-siting to look at how they could bring egg production back to the home with smart chicken coops.

The France-based company found that the average person in that country eats about 240 eggs per year and that a single chicken will produce about 300 eggs per year. They also found that food waste could be reduced by using leftover produce to feed the birds, creating a “virtuous circle.”

The Challenge

• Make keeping chickens easier for those with busy lifestyles
• Ensure hen house is secure but with room to grow
• Ensure the chicken coop can connect, even in rural areas and out of range of home WiFi

The Solution

The team at Egg-siting have built a chicken coop prototype that uses a variety of sensors and cameras to monitor the hens, and transmits data using the Sigfox network. A solar panel on the roof charges a battery, which means it doesn’t need to be connected to a power supply.

Sensors measure the brightness, temperature and humidity in the coop, as well as grain and water levels. An RFID reader detects a ring placed on the chicken to determine whether it’s in the nest, and a camera is used to determine how many eggs there are. A motor also allows the door to be opened or closed remotely.

Since only small amounts of information can be transmitted through Sigfox, the team created an algorithm that determines how many eggs are in the nest using an image taken by the camera. The resulting number is then transmitted, rather than the image itself.

The hen house itself is made out of wooden blocks, which can be added to expand the space or replaced if damaged.

They have also designed the user interface to have the feel of a social media platform. Not only is there a page for statistics about the coop, but each hen has her own page as well, which features information like laying statistics, age, health records and more. The platform is open source, allowing users to create games and challenges within the community. Egg-siting hope to sell the chicken coop on their website sometime in spring 2017.

This internet of things (IoT) hen house, connected by Sigfox, is made up of individual wood bricks
The chicken coop is made of individual wooden blocks. This allows the user to purchase additional blocks and expand their hen house, or replace pieces if they are damaged.
The web interface for the Egg-siting hen house resembles a social media platform
The Eggs-iting chicken coop platform is designed to resemble social media websites, with each hen having her own profile. It is also open source, allowing developers to adjust it and create social games.

Why Sigfox?

Low Power

Sigfox connectivity is energy efficient, which allows the connected chicken coop to send information over the network without draining its solar-power reserves.

Nationwide

Nationwide coverage means you don’t have to ensure your chicken coop is close enough to the house to pick up your WiFi signal, and can still get your data, even in rural areas with poor cellular coverage.

Affordable

Sigfox is an affordable way to send small amounts of information to the cloud. This allows the end-user to connect their chicken coop without need for a sim card or expensive data plans.

Benefits

The Eggs-iting connected chicken coop makes caring for hens at home easier. The device will alert you when water or food is low or when there are eggs in the nest, monitor conditions and even has a motorized door. The online platform also monitors and stores information about each hen, such as laying frequency and medical records. This allows users to enjoy fresh eggs without worrying about their source, and leads to a “virtuous circle” where food waste is reduced by using leftovers to feed the chicken, which will produce enough eggs to cover the average person’s annual intake.

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