Thanks, IT Guy!

Back in 2005 I was about to publish a cookbook. Everyone said that authors now had to have websites. Most authors at that time put up what are called “static sites” with simple, unchanging, information. But, Steve, my husband, also known here as IT Guy, had an idea that we should livestream what goes on in the flock, after all, the book was about eggs and chickens. I said, Sure, why not? I had no idea what I was getting into.

Back then, there weren’t that many animal cams, and certainly very few run by individuals. There was no how-to manual. Steve had to figure out how to get it up and running. It wasn’t just a matter of buying cameras and plugging them in. You needed servers and hosts, and there was software to write. In addition to that, I couldn’t have the cams and use an off-the-shelf website. We had to have it custom designed for the cams. It was challenging! It remains challenging. The technology improves. The quality of the video has improved – as have people’s expectations. What we do here at HenCam is both time-consuming and expensive. IT Guy has written a FAQ to explain it. I’ve read it and still don’t understand it all.

Over the last decade, my life as a writer had changed, too, and much of that is because of HenCam. As soon as the cams were up. I got emails asking me to explain what was on the screens, so I started the HenBlog. Since May, 2006, I have written 1,900 blogposts. Some of you have read all of them. Nine years is forever in the blog-o-sphere. It’s an especially long time when you realize that I pretty much only write about what goes on with my animals in my backyard. But, every time I think  that I have nothing more to say, there is. I am grateful for each and every one of you that stop by my site. I now have more readers of my writing than I ever did as a book author.

The cams have a limited life, especially because they are installed right in the midst of chickens! Replacing them has given IT Guy the opportunity to tweak, upgrade and (hopefully!) simplify the set-up. What you see now at HenCam – the OutsideCam – has been a long time in the making. This camera has replaced the GoatCam. I know that many of you will miss seeing Pip and Caper’s furry behinds, but there’s a limit to the number of cams that we can run, and this view of the Gems’ outside run is something that I’ve wanted to share.




The installation of the OutsideCam is the first step in a number of improvements that you’ll be seeing here in the coming weeks. You read my writing, but you see Steve’s work. We’re both excited about what’s to come.



My writing has never paid the mortgage (it’s the rare published author who can make a living at it) but this site is finally self-supporting. The “coffee money,” the Amazon sales and the GoogleAd clicks bring in enough to keep the HenCam going. (Which is a very good thing, as there was a point when we thought about shutting it down.) Thank you to all of you who enable IT Guy to work behind the scenes, and for me to write what I do!


  1. I love your site, and look forward to my daily dose of wisdom and animals!

  2. It’s amazing that you’ve hung in there over these past 10 years! Thank you!
    Everything I’ve learned about hen-keeping for the most part is due to your site and blog. Both entertaining and educational I look forward to seeing what’s going on with the menagerie at Little Pond Farm almost daily.
    Blessings to you, Terry, and to IT Guy for all you do to touch so many lives; both human and animal. :)

    Oh one other thing; it means a lot to me to know there’s others out there in this big ol world who care not only about animals, gardening, family and life in general but also about the importance of pie!

  3. Update for those of you using Android (including Kindle): the streaming cams should no longer give you the dreaded “Error loading player: No playable sources found” message.

    If you are running an older Android version, you may see a link “Click here to watch the cam”. Try it!

    Thanks for watching The HenCam!
    Mr IT Guy

  4. This is off the subject and I didn’t see anything in the FAQ’s. I attended your chicken class in 2012. I had 4 black australorps and now I only have one left. :( I thought about someone who would adopt her but she’s 3 now, and I don’t how she would adapt.. Will it be hurting her by keeping her alone? Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge.

  5. Okay IT guy – my IT guy is in the mountains with the Boy Scouts. HenCam and the OutsideCam are both black with this on the screen, “Skin could not be loaded: Skin not a valid file type”. InsideCam and BarnCam are working. Is this on my end or yours?

    And Terry – love your site. It is **wonderful** beyond words to come some place ruled by compassion and common sense.

    Have a chuckle on me – I’m babysitting my mother’s Schnoodle, who has my mother VERY well trained. And then there is my 6 month old Border Collie puppy. It’s a good thing I have nothing breakable/valuable below waist height.

      • I’m getting the same message and I’ve just cold rebooted my computer and cleared cookies in Firefox.

      • I also get the “skin could not be loaded” message on my computer at work. I think it is a security block on my side. Don’t they realize that I need my hencam daily fix for better work performance?

        • I got the same message when I used an older version of Windows IE. It worked just fine when I used (Google) Chrome.

  6. The Hencam archives are the first place I look when I have a question about chicken care. Thank you for providing practical and valuable advice Terry, and thanks to Steve also for his work behind the scenes!

  7. Thank you IT Guy!
    I look at the HenCam before I even read the local news!
    You provided inspiration for me to ask my own Steve (who is also a GoTo Guy) to temporarily set up one of our security cameras in the coop so I can monitor our brooder. (First timer -so I have been so nervous about the babies).
    I agree with Kim – the best blog for practical and valuable advice!

  8. Hi Steve, still having problem that both outside cams pic’s are just black screen, inside cam’s working okay. any idea’s were working fine before new cam now nothing :(

  9. Black screens now have message saying…Error Loading Player : No Playable Sources Found….Any idea would be welcome my son who sorts my computer out in away for 3 weeks.

    • Sorry forgot to mention yesterday all cams including new one were working fine, this morning ( your middle of night ) only black screens and then pm the message, inside cams fine so wondering if its your end ?? Hope this helps. Thanks missing the cams :)

  10. I too am not getting anything but what Robin said “skin could not be loaded etc.
    I hope it can be fixed as this is one of my favorite sites.
    Thanks for anything you do to fix the problem.

  11. I have been coming to your blog about 5 years or so. I rush into our home office early, before my husband can get started on the computer. I don’t have chickens, bunnies, rabbits, horses, or fish but,I do have 6 dogs. I love every blog you write. Who knows, I might someday have my own little farm. I would dearly love it and then all your advice you have given through the years will help me keep my little farm running. Thank you, Terry

  12. I will miss the goat cam but changing things up is good. I,like the new outside cam. I can see the Sussex girls. I love their coloring. I will have to familiarize myself with these ladies names. I know them but not as well as the hen cam girls. Thanks for all you and Steve do. I LOVE this site!

  13. I so appreciate being able to check on your girls on a daily basis. I am waiting for the day when I can get my own little flock. I have gathered so much information from you and will most probably gather much more. Thank you for this site. For someone like me that can’t wait to get some chickens of her own, this has been an excellent substitute and I look forward every day to see what they are up to.

  14. I have a chromebook and it says Error: setup took longer than 10 seconds. For all cams, thank you

  15. It will be so good to finally see the Gems in their outside habitat. Thanks to you and Steve for the opportunity

  16. Whoops! Just checked the new cam and I’m getting the same problems as the others above. Messages about not working for both outside cams, but OK for inside cams (well, it’s the middle of the night over there, so I’m getting the “animals in bed for the night message” so I assume they’re working). Hope it can be fixed.

    But…..just checked my iPad and the outside cams are working there, but not on the laptop. I’m stumped! But glad I’ll still be able to see the Girls when they wake up.

  17. OK here’s some more info for IT Guy to play with:

    Inside cams working for iPad (Safari web browser)
    Inside cams not working for Firefox web browser on laptop (admittedly not a current version)
    Inside cams working for Google Chrome browser on laptop (current version…I don’t like this browser)

    Still stumped!

    Currently Googling error message to try and find what’s wrong.

  18. Some more info….I disabled Flash Player on my laptop running Firefox and tried the cams again. Got a message saying no player available (or something similar) so re-enabled Flash and went back to the cams…and now it’s working!!…I can see both outside runs (nothing much happening as it’s 3 am in the morning over there….I’m in Australia) but anyway it all seems to be working. If Steve can explain it all, I’d be very grateful….computers are a mystery to me!

    • This input helps! Steve is working, working, at solving this. He fixes one thing for one type of computer and it breaks on another. It’s likely that those of you with old tablets, etc, will not be able to access the new cams, but he should be able to get it fixed for everyone else.

  19. Terry, I know that you write about hens, koi, goaties, gardens, wild birds and many other topics. And I’m sure some folks come to your site to learn more about any or all of these subjects. But I suspect that the reason most of us visit and read your posts is to ‘visit’ with… You. Your kind, thoughtful and curious nature shines in every post. Your philosophy about respecting our animals and learning from them as well as enjoying them is not preached, but just so evident in every line. I suspect you walk through this world both grateful and wanting to contribute, every day.

    This blog is really just a journal of a quietly inspiring teacher, an autobiography of a woman living her life to satisfaction, and one endeavoring to lend insight on the topics on which she has accrued some practical knowledge. But really, it’s the written equivalent of sitting down with a cup of coffee to talk with a kind, smart, trusted and very interesting friend. Quite an accomplishment. So, thanks for that. And to IT Guy for making it all possible.

  20. Hi everyone,

    Sorry for all the problems you are having trying to watch the cams!

    One of the fundamental principles of IT work is only change one thing at the time. Throwing that caution to the wind, I changed three things at once:

    • installed a major update to JW Player, the embedded video player we use here at HenCam
    • changed configuration to better support Android, something we’ve been trying to do for a long time
    • added support for new streaming standard MPEG-DASH

    While I keep trying to get everything working, if you have problems viewing the cams, try these steps:

    1. Reload the web page. If this doesn’t resolve your issue, move on to step 2.
    2. Clear your browser’s cache, then reload the web page. Didn’t work? Proceed to step 3.
    3. Clear your browser’s cache and cookies, restart your browser (or reboot your device), then navigate back to the page you were on.

    We appreciate your patience and support. Please leave a comment here if you keep having problems.

    Steve (Mr IT Guy)

    • Thanks Steve, but to be honest I don’t know how to do any of that, will have to wait for my son to get back in 3 weeks..:(

    • Hi Steve,
      The problem seems to be with people’s browsers and how they support (or don’t) JW player. It was OK for me on my iPad because that uses a different operating system to Windows. When I used my Windows 7 laptop running Firefox, it wouldn’t work although it worked when I used Chrome on the same system. Presumably JW works OK with Chrome. However I got it to work in Firefox by disabling Flash Player under ‘add-ons’ and then re-enabling it. I don’t understand why, but maybe people who are still having problems seeing the outside cams could make sure, if they’re using Flash, that they have a current version installed, which I always do. As I said, computers are a mystery. I fondly remember DOS and good old Windows 3.1 ;-)

      • I agree that it’s a JW Player issue. I just did a major upgrade from JW Player 6 to JW Player 7. I suspect this is why people are getting the “skin could not be loaded” message, because their browser is trying to use version 6 (that JavaScript is cached by the browser) but the skin files are now for version 7 and it complains. So clearing the browser cache should help, or perhaps just waiting for the browser to clear it on its own.

        You can test your browser for JW Player compatibility on this test page and a list of supported browsers is here.

        If your browser works with the test page, but does not work on HenCam, please let me know! I’m still trying to tune the proper configuration.

        Steve (Mr IT Guy)

    • Hi HenCam viewers!

      I just made a change to our configuration which will hopefully solve the problems many of you have been having with the streaming cams. Please try again, and feel free to leave a comment here if it still isn’t working for you. (And feel free to leave a comment if it is working!)

      Steve (Mr IT Guy)

    • One more thing to try: make sure you are running the latest version of Adobe Flash Player. Go here to download and install.

      You must have version 11.2 or later to watch the streaming cams.

      Steve (Mr IT Guy)

  21. I would like to endorse every statement Tracy has said, Terry and Steve you have a deep commitment to bringing joy and entertainment as well as information into our mundane lives, we are all grateful and you should be proud of yourselves. Thankyou…:)