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Scott Emery

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February 11, 2021

Chickens and Cameras

In my last blog, I mentioned that we have chickens. For most of our married life, my wife and I have lived in suburbia. We raised 2 children in a rather modest but safe bedroom community in the San Francisco Bay area. Both children are finally on their own and we just recently became “empty nesters.”   One day while visiting the Napa Valley, we discovered a small piece of property for sale. We have now found ourselves living in the Napa Valley with a few new hobbies; growing grapes, making wine, and yes…. raising chickens. Moving from our suburban lifestyle to the Napa Valley is a story I will share in a future blog, as the move was not a part of our “empty nester” plans.

For this blog, I want to talk about chickens, and how technology has helped in raising them. A couple of years before we moved to Napa, my wife wanted to get chickens. Believe it or not, we obtained a few, and started raising them in our suburban backyard. One of the first lessons we learned in raising chickens is that chickens are “sitting ducks.”  I guess that term should have been “sitting chickens”! Hungry predators love them, and they are “easy pickings.”  Our first two chickens in suburbia were immediately attacked by a hawk, in less than two days. The attack occurred right in front of us! After first being stunned, and then later horrified, we learned there was more to raising chickens than we thought.

By the time we moved to Napa, our flock had grown and so had the predators. We now lived in a more rural setting and the predators were numerous. Hawks, foxes, coyotes, and bobcats all love their chicken dinners. Although we built what we thought was a secure pen, almost immediately, we had a “break-in,” and several of our chickens disappeared. We could not figure out why it was happening, so of course, I turned to technology. We decided to use our local NAVCO expert (in this case, me) to figure out a solution. Because the incidents were happening at dusk and in the middle of the night, we had to have a system that could view what was happening in an extremely light-challenged environment. At times, the area had extreme light, especially at sunset. At other times, it was extremely dark. In addition, we needed to make sure that we somehow got a system that could alert us if the fence were breached. Ultimately, we decided to use a cloud-based system with WDR (wide dynamic range) cameras using onboard integrated analytics. It did the trick. Within a week, we were able to identify the culprit. It was our friendly neighborhood bobcat. After being notified of a fence breach and watching him on camera, we discovered he was getting in through a small hole in the fence, less than 3 inches wide. The WDR technology and analytics worked very well. We fixed the hole and did a few more things to help “harden” the coop. The Bobcat paid us one more visit but could not get inside, so he moved on. To date, we have had no more attacks and our chickens are very happy.

At NAVCO, we do the same type of analysis for all our clients. We come up with a solution specific to your business needs, and ensure it works. We are willing to help everyone we can…  including chickens! If you need a trusted advisor who will take the time to figure out your needs, give us a call, shoot us an email, or reach out via our web page. We will take the time to learn your needs, get you a solution, and stick around to make sure it works for you.

Next on the chicken coop front is to have our automated coop doors integrate into Alexa.

 

About the Author:

Scott lives with his wife, Debi on a small vineyard in the Napa Valley. He has been in the LP industry for over 30 years. Scott started his career in Security/Loss Prevention his senior year in College, monitoring the employee door for a Macy’s store in San Jose, CA. Once out of school, Scott decided to make a career of it, working his way up in the Loss prevention world at Macy’s, to eventually run the Loss Prevention Program for Macy’s West. After leaving Macy’s and spending a brief time at Sak’s 5th Avenue, Scott joined the NAVCO team in 2012. Since then, he has held the positions of National Account Manager, Regional Sales Manager, and now VP/Group Sales Manager, leading the sales & solutions teams for NAVCO on the West coast. Scott is a Certified Protection Professional.

Upcoming in our next blog… Why does remote management make sense for wine making?