Analytical development of bird pecking force equation for a self-metering poultry feeder
Keywords:Pecking force, self-metering, poultry feeder, feed rate, pecking time.
The concept of a self-metering poultry feeder was developed. The theoretical analysis of the forces involved in its operation was done and a generalized pecking force model was developed. Mathematical expressions, logical assumptions, graphical relations and models as well as statistical analyses were adopted in the pecking force analysis. This pecking force relates to some design parameters like feed flow rate, hopper aperture, etc. The generalized equation was tested using a fabricated model of the equipment. Experimental results show that the equation can be used to predict the performance of the machine reasonably and also the level of satiety and bird vigor determine the amount of pecking force which was described by a polynomial regression relationship (of the 4th order with R2 > 0.9) which increases with increasing aperture opening with time of feeding by different ages of birds. The pecking force reached 10N for <8 weeks birds after about 40 minutes for the highest aperture opening. For the three sample categories of birds, the pecking force was consistently lower with the smallest aperture Ca1 and highest with aperture Ca3. Quantity of feed consumed decreased with feeding time in a power regression relationship and the birds, irrespective of the ages had a feel of satiety after 50 minutes of feeding with feed consumed being less than 0.1g. The general performance of each category of bird is a function of their age and number, vigor and pecking action.