Sunday, March 17, 2013

Lights! Camera!

"Are you getting my good side?  Because if you are NOT getting my good side, I am SO NOT DOING THIS!!"

After a year of pondering, I recently bought a very low-end wireless camera to install as an experimental "barn cam" during kidding season.  If it works as hoped for, this gadget will communicate directly with my laptop and reduce the number of times I need to disturb the does before and during labor.

One doe in particular.  That one, up there.  I love her, and she puts the heart across me with her scary birthing behavior, which makes it impossible for me to really ignore her, but I always wonder if ignoring her would reduce the scary birthing behavior, but since it is SO scary, I can't ignore her, and around we go.

After the "excitement" of last year's kidding, I began dreaming of a way to monitor without disturbing, and discovered (again) that I am way, way behind the times.  Lots of people are doing fairly inexpensive online monitoring of their wildlife, their horses, their babies.  Well, move over, because here comes...

Goat Cam!

Maybe.  If it works.  We'll see.

"Can't wait.  Call me when you're ready for my close-up.  I shall be in my chalet.  It is the one with the big STAR on the door."

Since it is very sunny today (sure, I've had to knock the ice out of the water buckets three times, but it is sunny, which feels very pleasant indeed!), I decided to experiment with my little camera.

It needs to be plugged in, and I'm not sure how far it can be from my router, so I put it just outside the back door where I could step in and out and adjust things easily instead of running back and forth to the barn a dozen times.  Not that the barn is far from the house; it's not.  But every time I take even one step toward the barn, the goats think Room Service is arriving, and they all start hollering encouragement.

It gets old.

For all of us.

So, camera by the back door!

Shortly after I set it up, the camera emailed me pictures of these suspicious-looking characters:

And oh-oh!  This must be the ringleader:

Funniest email I've received today  :)


Before I can put the camera in the goat barn, I have to cobble together some kind of simple housing for it, to keep it from being destroyed by the ever-present dust from hay and grain.  And goats.  And chickens, come to that; they love to scratch through the bedding in the barn and find every last seed.  They do an excellent job, but the dust is unbelievable.

The housing must also have clear glass in front of the camera.  As you can see, the image quality is Not Great, and that's in lovely, delightful sunlight!  Inside the barn at night the camera will go to infrared, and images will look murky at best.  I could build something nice, but keeping expenses down is key.  Maybe I can find a little thrift-shop aquarium, turn it upside down, and pad around the bottom leaving room for the power cord...that might work.

Meanwhile, at least for today, it's...Chicken Cam!


"Oh, is that so?  Fine.  I'm calling my agent."


  1. Cute post Quinn! Cant wait to see what else comes in on the spy cam in the barn. You just never know what those critters will do.

    1. I've long suspected poker parties, and practicing magic tricks. The only thing that will surprise me is if they are behaving themselves out there ;)

  2. Very cute post. I've wondered about those cams. Probably better than just a baby monitor, but I'll still be interested in what you think after kidding season is over.

  3. Really hope it reduces stress for all of you! My parents set up a wildlife cam and were very surprised (and faintly horrified) at the animals that came calling overnight ...

    1. There's a whole world going on out there at night, that's for sure! One interesting thing about having fresh snowfall so often this winter has been the opportunity to see all the tracks in the morning.

  4. You'll get more interesting emails if you manage to rig the camera up in the barn! Hope the kidding goes well. xx

    1. It would be nice if I could check the live camera when I'm not home on the laptop, too. I think there's a way to do it from a phone, but it may have to be a "smartphone" which I don't think mine is. It's smarter than ME, but that's about it!

  5. too funny -- I think the aquarium idea is brilliant. hope you get the results you want. meanwhile, chicken cam is very entertaining.

  6. Quinn, that's so funny! I know there are (expensive) cameras that allow you to access via laptop from a "foreign" location. Okay, let me revise that...I've heard of such things; I actually know nothing much about everything -grin-.

  7. What a wonderful idea! I haven't done this yet for the wildlife outside my house, and I want to! I think that I'll need to get a stronger wireless router that reaches outside my house but, WOW, it would be fun to see the action as it's going on. If you have any suggestions (e.g., type of camera), I'd love to hear them!

    Thanks so much for your comment. I am just getting back to the web now... and I hope to catch up on your blog very soon!


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