Infrared Photography is an Excellent Incubation Diagnostic Tool
During the last decade incubation temperature control has become more critical. The problems associated with controlling the temperature of high yielding breeder eggs during incubation are well known to the breeder-hatchery industry. Looking at the set point and sensor temperatures is not enough to evaluate the conditions inside the mass of incubating eggs in an incubator.
Currently, hatcheries are measuring embryo temperatures routinely as a quality control procedure. To determine what the temperatures are in various parts of their setters and hatchers some companies are installing temperature data loggers. Evaluating set point, sensor, and data logger temperatures is a very useful procedure. These methods yield temperature information at a few exact locations, depending on sensor and logger placement.
However, now that we are in the 21st century, more high tech procedures should be employed. This tip describes a method to evaluate temperatures in a mass of incubating eggs with an infrared camera.
Infrared cameras accurately reveal the entire range of temperatures within an incubator in one photograph. Digital IR cameras come with software to analyze each photo. The IR photo will show the cooler regions of the machine as a blue tint while the hotter regions will be exhibited as yellow or white. By clicking exact points in the downloaded digital IR photo with a mouse the temperature of that spot will be revealed. Drawing a box or circle on the IR photo the program will reveal the average temperature of the area within the drawn box or circle.
This technology is not cheap. Expect to pay in the range of $5,000 to $30,000 for an IR camera and software system. Following are some recent photos taken with an IR camera.
IR photography has already been shown to be of great benefit to other areas of poultry production such as brooding conditions in broiler houses and the evaluation temperature uniformity as a measure of ventilation in breeder and broiler houses. For hatcheries, IR provides an excellent method to evaluate temperature in critical areas such as incubators.
Author: Joseph M. Mauldin, Extension Poultry Scientist
Poultry Tips – College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service