Big steps have been made. I finally have the relay board hooked up to a controller, in this instance a mac-mini until I get a powered USB hub for my Raspberry Pi. The wires are now running into my office via a hole in the wall and a cron job is all set up to wich the chucks up at 5pm tonight and bring them safely back to earth at 7.30am tomorrow.
I still need to get a ground anchor thingy to stop the chickens swaying around too much at night but other than that we are so very very nearly there.
My chickens can sleep safely from now on.