Hencam is very proud to have been chosen as BBC Radio 2's webcam of the day! Thank you Steve Wright for broadcasting our happy hencam to millions! The hens, rabbits and humans send their thanks! You can read (and hear) about it on the news page!about the cam:
Hopefully you can see Milly, Tilly and Penny going about their chicken life in the coop! (Milly is the big fat white hen - sadly no longer with us, Penny is the cowardly chicken and Tilly is the ruler of the roost!)history:
I first had the idea for a live streaming online webcam in our chicken coop sometime around the summer of 2005. I did a bit of research and after some failed attempts with a USB webcam (too many wires in the chicken pen!) I saved up and bought an indoor wireless IP cam from ebay for around £100. It was cheap and quite basic, but it did more or less what I wanted, and formed the basis of the early days of the webcam. Unfortunately, as it was an indoor camera, it started playing up after a few weeks outside - I couldn't really complain as it had been out in wind rain and snow! With the help of my wonderful new henpals I was able to purchase a whole new cam system - a proper outdoor CCD camera which was even submersible in water! The upgrade was originally suggested by the Vasalini (of Vasalini's chickens fame) and took place on 12/03/06
The new camera provides a much clearer picture, and the new images are extremely high quality. The system is also running much faster and is a lot closer to the true streaming that I originally envisaged. Of course if you want faster streaming, you have to sacrifice picture size and quality, but hopefully I have struck a happy medium.
The original hencam was an IP cam which connected wirelessly to my wifi network which gave it access via ftp to the webserver serving these pages via my adsl connection. Thankfully the new camera is much more stable and gives a much nicer view.
My bandwidth limit and PC use can slow the hens upload speed sometimes but hopefully this should get better as I upgrade various components of the system. Hencam is very thankful for the help and support of Exa Networks - thanks to them you can see these pages, and their technology has enabled our fastest, smoothest and best high-quality webcam images yet - I hope you notice the improvement! The streaming technology used is cutting-edge, and made possible by those great people at www.camstreams.com - if you need to stream anything, they are the guys to talk to!
The first upgrade I was able to carry out was a large IR lamp in the coop, so you can still see the hens even in pitch blackness! You can watch them sleep, it's amazing how they seem to grab the odd forty winks in little naps through the night.
If you have any technical questions regarding the setup, please feel free to email me and I'll provide you with as much info as possible. I've already helped several would-be webcam users get started which has been great fun!
Thank you to earthcam who made hencam one of their top ten webcams of the week, they are (in their own words) "chosen by EarthCam based on quality of image, uniqueness of content and overall technical achievements in webcam technology" - whoo many thanks for the award! We were listed just below the Olympics!!! :)