Transactions of the ASABE vol:53 issue:3 pages:847-851
During the final phase of incubation, continuous recording and analysis of embryo sounds allow estimations about the percentage of hatched chickens. The objective of this study was to predict the time at which all eggs in an industrial incubator had passed the stage of internal pipping (IP100%). Chicken vocalization starts around day 19 when lung respiration commences. The amount of chicken vocalization increases during the hatching process, resulting in an increase of sound energy in the frequency range of 2500 to 3300 Hz. Using a standard microphone mounted inside the incubator, continuous sound recordings were processed to monitor the sound intensity during the hatching process. The method discussed in this article was assessed in an industrial-scale hatch setter (19,200 eggs) and repeated five times. The results show that the sound intensity signal results in a specific pattern that holds information about the stage of hatching. It was shown for five trials that the time at which automatic IP100% detection occurred was within +/-3 h of the manually observed time for IP100%. The results imply that real-time sound recording and analysis during incubation allow prediction of the hatch outcome in industrial incubators. Such an acoustic monitoring system might provide industrial users with valuable information for hatch management.