Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Publications

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Transactions of the ASABE





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Animal Production Systems Engineering


In considering hen housing systems, up-to-date heat and moisture production data are essential to producing properly designed and managed ventilation and supplemental heating systems. The aviary system is one housing type under consideration by egg producers. The aviary system has a much lower bird stocking density and thus more freedom of movement for the birds compared to conventional cage housing. This study was conducted to obtain baseline heat and moisture production values for Hy-Line Brown hens in such houses in the Midwestern U.S. House-level thermal environment, gaseous concentrations, and bird production performance of two commercially operated 50,000-hen aviary houses were continually monitored over a 19-month period. The two houses used similar management practices and Hy-Line Brown hens with a 20-week difference in age. Data were collected for a complete flock (17 to 83 weeks, no molt) in each house. Total heat production (THP) of the hens, house-level latent heat production (LHP) or moisture production (MP), house-level sensible heat production (SHP), and respiratory quotient (RQ) were determined from the monitored variables using indirect calorimetry and mass/energy balance, respectively. Variations in THP, LHP/MP, SHP, and RQ within the day were delineated. Results of the study showed mean (±SE) THP, house-level LHP, house-level SHP, and RQ values of 5.94(±0.09) W kg-1, 1.83(±0.03) W kg-1, 4.11(±0.08) W kg-1, and 0.94(±0.01), respectively, for the aviary housing system. The new data will improve the design and operation of building ventilation, supplemental heating, and ultimately production efficiency of aviary housing systems. The THP and RQ data will also be useful to indirect determination of building ventilation rate using the carbon dioxide (CO2) balance method.


This article is from Transactions of the ASABE 56, no. 2 (2013): 753–761.

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American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers



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