Medical Brooders for Aviculture (Proper Design and Function Principles)


This project was initiated to establish an artificial support system for altricial chicks short of weaning as well as those individual birds rendered incapable of survival or recovery due to a compromised metabolism or an inherent or acquired lack of proper thermoregulation. The goals were to create an enclosed environment
with maximum efficiency for heat and humidity retention/ control. Those factors that necessarily had to be considered p rior to this project were:
• maximum patient safety including use of non-toxic, non-abrasive materials
• fail safe thermal control
• patient isolation from additional pathogen exposure
• minimal patient stress due to environmental influence
• good visualization of patient by staff and clinician for rapid assessment
• light weight materials for ease of transport by staff personnel of variable physical strengths
• reliable, simple electronics
• one hundred percent d is infectability
• reasonable cost investment
• long life expectancy
• low maintenance schedule
The motivation to pursue brooder thermodynamic field studies, if one considers the range of features in a brooder versus the range of costs attached to them , was because the ideal un it for avian patients does not commercially exist today. Factors such as low weight, maximum efficiency, reasonable cost investment, patient safety and simple electronic componentry are unfortunately diametrical in opposition to each other given current technology and materials that are available. For instance, greater heat efficiency and safety are often synonymous with additional backup systems and increasingly greater costs. A highly sensitive digital thermal controll display unit with solid state electronics having a constant control of 0.05°F tolerance or less will have a cost of over $300 each. An ether filled metal wafer disc with thermomechanical control has a + 1 to 2°F variance and a six month maximum accurate life expectancy with a cost of approximately $15. A compromise must be drawn between them. This is the case in every aspect of design and construction. Perfection is not possible. Because total brooder function is massively expensive, cost efficiency should be placed high on the overall priority list seconda1y only to successful patient recovery. Purchase costs cannot be ignored in the high overhead business of raising and treating psittacine babies. The primary goal of this project, first conceived in 1987, was to design and produce a limited number of brooders for clinic use to explore what limits of patient rates for improvement and recovery might be expanded. Experiences with older surplus human preemie and pediatric chambers and several commercially available avian brooders were unsatisfactory, due either to thermal/mechanical unreliability (i.e., burned out lightbulbs, excessive dehydration, poor insulation quality, etc.), materials failure ("macaw destruction syndrome") or inability to achieve complete disinfection clue to organic...