Heat and Moisture Production of Hy-Line Brown Hens in Aviary Houses in the Midwestern U.S.

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Hayes, Morgan
Li, Hong
Shepherd, Timothy
Zhao, Yang
Stinn, John
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Xin, Hongwei
Distinguished Professor Emeritus
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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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.

Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2013