Development Of A Biogas-Powered Poultry Egg Incubator
This study advances the utilization of biogas energy for chick production. A wooden frame still-air incubator was developed, which uses biogas as a fuel to supply heat through a burner installed at the base. A no-load test was carried out during which incubator temperatures were calibrated against ambient temperatures when heat was supplied at various burner regulator knob positions. The results were used to develop a chart for incubator temperature control. Incubator temperature range (36-39.4oC) was successfully achieved at prevailing ambient temperatures by adjusting the knob position according to the chart. The temperature variation inside the incubator was not significant (p > 0.05). However, incubator temperature varied significantly (p ≤ 0.05) with the time of the day. Relative humidity range (50-70%) was achieved by placing water pans on the floor of the incubator. The eggs were turned using a semi-automated device. Three incubation trials were carried out with 30 chicken eggs per experiment. The results showed that 23.9% of the fertile eggs were unhatched, 17.9% died at the embryonic stage while the hatchability (efficiency) of the machine was 59.7%. In conclusion, the developed incubator is feasible for poultry egg incubation.
Keywords: Incubator, Biogas, Chicken egg, Temperature, Relative humidity, Hatchability