Idea for an automated chicken feeder lock

(Emmanuel Okon) #1

Hello ST community!

I am thinking about purchasing an interesting chicken feeder that works almost like a step on trash can. The chickens step on a platform which acts on a lever that opens the lid to give them access to their feed. Its a great product that saves chicken feed and keeps rodents, and birds, from being able to access the chicken feed.

The problem is that possums and racoons can also learn and figure out how to work the mechanism and raid the food stores at night when no one is watching to prevent it. You can prevent this by placing a brick underneath the platform/pedal at night. Being a smarthings user, I think there should be a better way. Do you guys have any ideas for a device that prevents actuation of the pedal which I can automate based on a schedule? I was thinking some sort of linear servo that would simply slide under the pedal and prevent the lid from being raised, but I do not know of such a device. My best guess is something like this attached to a transformer + zwave outlet:

Anyone have a better idea? Thanks in advance!

(Eric) #2

no way I’d put my chickens on smartthings time scheduler. A plug-in local-only timer seems safer. Electromagnets are used for holding doors and that can probably be applied here with no additional moving parts. Might make a big twang everyday.