Microhatch : A low-cost, low-volume temperature and humidity-controlled egg hatchery
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The following report examines the combined work integrated in building an egg incubator(hatchery) for hatching bird eggs, the project was a result of collaborative work amongst my project partner and I with guidance from supervisors and consultants. Incubation of eggs is a critical process in poultry production on a large scale. This is because many eggs can be hatched into chicks in a short progressive time. However, rural farmers have constantly failed to access modern incubators yet the chicken business in Uganda is growing extremely fast and has many players. For commercial production, the natural process of hatching eggs doesn’t work because the birds do not have sufficient space to brood. As such, commercial hatcheries have come up to solve this issue. The fee is about 130 per egg and chicks are sold at 1800-2500 depending on. The problem is that rural farmers producing their own fertilized eggs must travel to Kampala for this service, and come back for the chicks back after 21 days. Commercial hatching is not available in rural areas because of the small volumes. Most of these farmers come with 100-500 eggs, compared to those from greater Kampala who deliver up to 10000 eggs per week. And so, the project aims to provide a low-cost and a low-volume egg hatchery to the farmers out in the rural areas. This will save time and money for rural farmers and is likely to trigger an up scaling of these businesses in rural Uganda. The study was to develop an incubator that is low-cost and low volume from lo-cost locally sourced materials. The incubation process has two major requirements which include optimum temperature and humidity. For example, chicken require a temperature of 370C and humidity of 40% -50% during the first 17 days of incubation and 60%-70% from the 18th day. With such requirements in mind, we designed and constructed our incubator, powered by electricity, solar and battery in case of power loss. It contains two bulbs for heat source and a fan to regulate temperature to avoid deviation up from the recommended value. The bulbs also heat up the water in the bowl under the eggs to provide the required humidity which is monitored by the sensors. The normal incubators work well under room conditions, for best efficiency it needs to be in room to protect it from adverse weather conditions but we also designed ours to have the feature of the user setting the values of temperature and humidity, this can be adjusted to adapt different weather conditions.