Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Raising poultry? 5 ways to use your smartphone

Lately it seems like everyone has a cell phone. Not just a cell phone, but a smartphone. If you're anything like me, you constantly have your cell phone with you. Even while tending the homestead. According to Forbes, more then 56% of adults in the USA own a smart phone. Even farmers and homesteaders like us. (That was last year, imagine the numbers now!) It's like a minicomputer in your pocket, and if you think you can use it to help organize your everyday life, imagine how you can use it in chicken care!

Of course we all know the usual things: take pictures of the critters, post to Instagram, FB, Tweet about that new hatch, text hubby to pick up straw or feed, answer email about the animals you have for sale or the veggies you listed on craigslist etc etc. All the usual suspects. Did you know you can use your phone in other ways? I have a few ways you probably never even thought of...here are my 5 favorite ways to use my phone for chicken care:

Raising poultry? 5 uses for a smartphone


1) Candling eggs.
The flashlight app on your phone works by turning on your cameras flash. The app is free on both Android and Iphones. Did you know that this light is strong enough to candle an egg? I use it constantly, and it works like a charm! No more running in the house for a flashlight, just whip out your phone and you're good to go.

2) Notes or notepad.
Smartphones have apps that allow you to take notes. Many of them allow you to jot down 'voice notes' so you don't even have to type. Make feed store lists, repair lists, wish lists etc. No more getting to the feed store and thinking "Now, what was it that I needed?" You have a list in your phone...easy peasy!

3) Keep track of dates with pictures. 
Did you know that every picture you take automatically records the date it was taken? When you notice that hen has gone broody, snap a picture right away. No guessing when her eggs are due, just check the photo data for an exact date! Take pictures of anything you want to keep track of....the phone will keep the data for you.

I also like to use the camera in my phone to keep track of things like prices. I was always scrambling for receipts to try to remember who had the best prices on feed, scratch, buckets etc.  Now I simply take a picture of the shelf tags and I have a record of the prices (and the date in the case of feed prices which can fluctuate) 

4) Chicken books!
I'm a huge fan of Amazons free kindle ebooks. I think I have 80 at least. There are at least 20 that are just about chickens, many more about farming and gardening....and they were all free! I read books on my phone/Ipad when I'm waiting to pick up the kids, on hold on the phone, in a long line somewhere....etc etc. The great thing is, I can read 2 pages then close the app and it keeps my place for me. Here are 2 that are available for free, right now: Backyard Chickens 2 book package and Raising Chickens for beginners.

5) Chicken apps! 
This runs the range from informative to downright dumb! You can get several poultry magazines in app form (subscription required) You can play stupid chicken games that will either have you laughing for hours, or shaking your head saying "You've gotta be kidding me!" I think Cluck-ulator is cool. It's a free app and it has a breed selector, coop planner, egg estimator and even a calculator to help you determine how much feed and water your number of chickens will use. There are many other apps available, some are free and some are not. Don't forget to read the reviews before you buy!

That's how I use my smartphone to care for my chickens. How do you use yours?

~L
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