Date of Graduation
Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
Poultry health and mortality rates are important considerations in poultry production, as companies can minimize product loss and appeal to a consumer base whose concern for animal welfare continues to grow. Although animal welfare is a consideration for the entire poultry production process, this project focuses on the live-haul phase of the process, specifically during transport from grow houses to processing facilities. During the summer months, broiler chickens being transported can suffer from heat stress that can lead to death. This project consists of the designing and testing of an in-cage surface wetting system to minimize heat stress incidents in broiler chickens being transported when temperatures exceed 17˚C. The system that was designed uses a piping system made of PVC and irrigation tubing that allows water to be sprayed through all areas of the cage using nozzles. The system must deliver 20 mL of water per bird, requiring a total of 2 L of water per cage when the cage is loaded with 100 broiler chickens. Nozzles were placed inside each level of the cage in an offset configuration that allows for maximum coverage within the cage. During testing of the prototype an average of 17.4 mL of water per bird was delivered. Coverage within the cage was observed to be over 75% during a single spray cycle of 15 seconds. These results make the designed system an acceptable solution to this problem. Nozzle recommendations for this type of system include using at least 8 nozzles per level in the cage. A conical spray pattern was observed to be beneficial as it covered more area in the cage when operating at an appropriate pressure. The nozzles were able to reach the center of the cage, which is expected to be one of the areas that would accumulate the most heat during transportation. The system was scaled-up for commercial use taking insights from the prototype that was tested to optimize the coverage and durability of the system. This system is expected to reduce the microbial load during transport when the water is treated with a biocide prior to spraying.
poultry, live-haul, transport, cooling, surface wetting
Clark, Ryan, "In-Cage Surface Wetting System for Cooling Poultry in Transport" (2018). Biological and Agricultural Engineering Undergraduate Honors Theses. 53.