Shawn Kasoa, 23, from Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology has invented an egg incubator that uses biogas as the source of energy.
“This egg incubator is best-suited for farmers who rear domestic animals and poultry. They can use the homemade renewable energy which mostly ends up unused in the farms,” Mr Kasoa tells Hashtag.
The equipment could be used to hatch the eggs of poultry such as ducks, turkeys, geese, guinea fowls and ostriches.
“A broody hen can hatch just about 10-12 eggs at once in 21 days, which reduces its productivity as it takes time to incubate and hatch the chicks. Relying on this natural type of incubation, with a growing human population, is folly, hence the need for artificial incubation. This way, a female bird concentrates on laying eggs while the incubation is done artificially,” Kasoa says.
The incubator has four air ducts on each side that allows circulation of air. The egg tray is held in a rotating position that is manually operated to ensure that all parts of the eggs are heated. The egg tray can contain 200 eggs at one go and is rotated twice a day with average humidity value of 56.46 per cent in the incubator.
The renewable energy student says turning prevents the embryo from sticking to the shell membranes, which happens when the eggs are left in one position for too long.
The gas heating element is controlled manually to stabilise the temperatures within the incubator.
“If the temperature stays at either extreme for several days, the hatch may be reduced. Overheating is much more critical than under-heating, it will speed up rate of development causing abnormal embryos,” he adds.
While the design of the incubator is affordable, portable, user friendly and easy to maintain Mr Kosoa says he is unable to mass-produce it for the market.
“The main challenge I face is lack of resources to produce adequate incubators for the already existing demands from farmers. One incubator that can hold 200 eggs goes for Sh50,000,” the he says.