Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (PhD)

Degree Level



Computer Science & Computer Engineering


Greg Thoma

Committee Member

Marty Matlock

Second Committee Member

Robert Beitle

Third Committee Member

Susan Watkins

Fourth Committee Member

Tom Spicer


Broiler production, Process Model, Simulation, Sustainability


The purpose of this work is to provide a simulation tool that allows broiler production practitioners and researchers to simulate the effects of farm design and management practices on resource consumption and environmental impacts. This tool allows the user to design unique farms and simulates on farm processes required to raise broiler chicks to a marketable age. The use can input data such as farm location, broiler breed, flock size, ration type, barn dimensions, and climate control equipment specifications. The algorithms used to simulate broiler breed specific feed intake, broiler weight gain, and other on farm processes such as heating, cooling, and ventilation are coded into a C# computational engine. JavaScript is used to provide and easy-to-use, button-navigable user interface for receiving inputs and presenting results. A sensitivity analysis and validation study are included to understand how the model responds to inputs and compare simulated results to observed production data sets. Model calibration is used to tune broiler growth algorithms to reflect genetic differences in bird types. All four simulated, breed-specific broiler growth curves fit respective observed broiler growth curves with R^2 values greater than 0.92. The total and itemized breakdown of carbon, land, and water footprints has been successfully simulated for unique each unique simulation scenario. For the validation study with the most complete set of observed production data, simulated ventilation electricity, light electricity, natural gas, and evaporative cooler water use were 11%, 26%, -22%, and 4% different than observed resource use, respectively. The sensitivity analysis illustrates that resource consumption results are sensitive to changes in model inputs and the quality of input data is important. In conclusion, the model successfully simulates broiler growth, provides directionally correct simulations of resource use based on facility design and location specific weather, and simulates resource use that is on the order of magnitude of observed results. More observed production is needed for further validation studies. This work fills the need in existing literature for a comprehensive broiler production simulation tool that can be used to investigate the effects of facility design and management practices on environmental footprints and resource use.