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Temperature is the most critical incubation parameter, and letting the eggshell temperature dictate the incubation air temperature is undoubtedly an excellent operation method.
Some hatcheries use hatchers that automatically perform eggshell temperature measurements, necessary calculations, and adaptations without opening the incubator doors. If your hatchery does not have devices in its incubators, there is the alternative of measuring the temperature of the eggshell manually and achieving optimal results with little damage to the embryos.
AUTOMATIC MEASUREMENTS OF EGGSHELL TEMPERATURE
The measuring device comprises a set of infrared eggshell scanning units and an intelligent control system containing the algorithms. Typically, three eggshell scanning units are installed in one incubator. They are placed in three different places on a cart to offer a wide reading of samples.
Each of the eggshell scanners uses infrared sensors to capture the exact temperature of the eggshell at four adjacent locations. The beams from the infrared sensor are designed to ensure that the egg’s internal air chamber does not influence temperature measurements.
Thanks to this technology, automatic measuring devices make accurate temperature readings, regardless of the egg’s size. Furthermore, the algorithms introduced into the control system consider the expected temperature limits and compensate for infertile eggs. This ensures that measurements are error-free under any circumstances.
Although such manual measurements of eggshell temperature do not offer the same precision and ease as a specific monitoring system, it is an acceptable alternative if performed in a controlled manner and with precise equipment.
Here are the things you should do and don’t for the manual eggshell temperature measurements:
The incubator must be loaded in a balanced way. An excessive mix of batch types, ages, storage times, etc., makes it practically impossible to find average environmental conditions suitable for all eggs.
Use only suitable infrared thermometers that are in good condition and are checked regularly. Today, there are many infrared thermometers on the market, but only a few are suitable for this procedure. Many medical thermometers are not adequate for the incubator environment conditions and are not calibrated for the egg surface’s emissivity.
It is not recommended to open the incubator door constantly or leave the door open for a long period of time. However, running short checks in specific periods has no adverse effects. With this in mind, it is important to identify sample points (both on trays and carts) that are representative of conditions and are easily accessible. Choose high, medium, and low sample points and be aware of high, low, and medium readings.