A model of heat transfer through feather layers of broiler chicks - An operation with a heat source
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Broilers acquire thermoregulatory maturity at approximately ten days post-hatching and undergo physiological changes during the rearing period. During this process, the birds have high sensitivity to low air temperatures especially at early age. Many times, supplemental radiant heat is provided to keep the body temperature of the chicks warm. However, it would be necessary to adjust the operation of the heating source based on the changing physiological responses of the broilers. Therefore, it becomes imperative to develop a mechanistic model that accounts for environmental conditions and physiological responses of the broilers to allow monitoring the heating process. This study discusses the development of a mathematical model that predicts skin and feather temperatures. The model considers two layers: (1) skin, and (2) feathers. The heat transfer through the fat and skin layers is a one-dimensional steady-state condition where heat flows by conduction from the core to the skin surface. The model includes heat generation of metabolism and assumes the core temperature to be the same as arterial blood temperature. At the feather-air interface, heat is lost to the environment by convection and long-wave radiation. Heat generation inside the plumage is included due to the radiant heat source provided. The model was validated against experimental data collected.