Friday, April 20, 2012

Cool Technology of the Week

In their first week of life, chicks need a brooder temperature of 95F.   Every week thereafter, the temperature is reduced 5F so that by 6 weeks they're at room temperature (70F) and ready for life in an outdoor coop.

Here's the engineering challenge - how do you make an infrared heat lamp secure (so that it does not fall into the brooder and start a fire), yet infinitely adjustable so that it be can be raised and lowered easily to adjust the temperature?

The answer - a locking, ratcheted pulley system.

I secure my racing kayak to my Prius roof rack using the Thule Quick Draw which includes a carabiner, S-hook, and rope ratcheting pulleys.

Now, our heat lamp is secured to an overhead pipe via 8 feet of nylon rope and a ratchet.  Just pull on the rope to securely raise the lamp - it cannot fall.   To lower, release the ratchet button.

I have a digital thermometer inside the brooder as general guidance, but watch the chicks behavior for a more accurate assessment of their comfort.   If they are clustered together for warmth, I lower the lamp two inches.  If they are separated and hiding in the corner of the brooder to cool down, I raise the lamp two inches.   At this point, they're eating, drinking, and peeping comfortably - a glorious first week of chicken life.

A safe, easy to adjust brooder heat control using a ratcheted pulley system from my Thule rack.   That's cool.


Harvey Heilbrun said...

If life was only that simple. Enjoy your chicks.

Henryhbk said...

I am surprised John that this isn't an arduino based thermocouple controlled system... A stepper motor shield and you'd be all set...