Hooking Up the Chicken CamI bought the security camera with night vision, audio, and 80' of cable for about $25 from my local Harbor Freight. I think a sale was going on, as I'm seeing it listed for a bit more now on their site. Check out Harbor Freight Weatherproof Security Camera With Night Vision. I have the video / audio hooked up to the TV in my house along with the power adapter. I bought a RCA splitter for the video and have the split connection running to my computer connected to a Avertv Hybrid Volar Max TV Tuner Kit for Windows MTVHVMXSK.
This is a USB TV card I had lying around my house for almost a decade. It does a lot more than just handle video in. I'm sure there is something cheaper and more specific to the need of just receiving RCA video input on the market now. You could also use a cheap USB camera, which would be very easy to hook up, however there are some limitations on USB cable length. This could be problematic unless your coop is very close to a computer, and it may be difficult to find one with night vision.
The software I'm using for the camera is Yawcam. After trying a few other freeware programs, I found this one and was very pleased to find it compatible with my old TV card. It's very simple to use and I had a web page with my video feed set up in a few minutes.
Yawcam will set up a HTTP web server on your computer. If you want to view the camera feed on your home network you're done. If you want to expose the camera feed to the internet you need to "poke a hole" in your home internet router and map it to the specific computer in your house with the Yawcam software running. This is also called port forwarding. Each router is a bit different, but the concept is the same. First find out what your IP address is for your home network. That's the IP that others will use to access your network. Read the manual that came with your home router to log in to the admin site for the router and find the Port Mapping section. Set a port on the router (e.g. 8888) to map to a specific IP address and port for a computer on your home network.
To check on Henny and Penny now with my camera configuration..
(only 10 viewers allowed at a time)
Henny and Penny not there? They'll head on in at sunset Pacific Time, but you can watch this recording of the girls in the coop in the meantime...