By Ebele Orakpo
Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention and the sole aim of education is to impact one’s community positively and so Rabiu Kabir, Basir Attahiru and Bashir Umar Mato, all students of Dawakin Tofa Science College, Kano seeing the need to make life easier for poultry farmers in their locality, decided to do something. They came up with a local incubator made from locally sourced materials. They spoke with Vanguard Learning recently. Excerpts:
According to the students, “The main purpose for the construction of the local incubator is just to have a simple way of hatching eggs without a complex machine. The incubator was constructed to aid the hatching of eggs using local materials which can be sourced even from our dustbins.”
Using two empty cartons, kerosene lamp, silver container, aluminum foil, wire net, used syringe, sawdust, hygrometer, adhesive, pieces of wood, nails and cello tape, the young boys were able to construct a local incubating machine.
Explaining how the incubator was made, the spokesperson of the group, Basir Attahiru said; “First, the desk is constructed so as to support the whole local incubating machine, then a lamp is used to provide heat inside the incubator. There are two cartons – a big carton and a small one.
The big carton is perforated at the base (square shape) where the head of the lamp is attached to the heating element. Inside, we have a silver container which is welded; the cover of the container itself is welded together so they are made airtight. Inside the silver container is water so when the water becomes heated, the hot water provides the heat for the hatching of the eggs.
“The smaller carton is also perforated at the base (cycle) and placed inside the bigger carton after the silver container is placed at the bottom of the bigger carton. The sides of the silver container are lined with sawdust. Then the smaller carton is placed over the silver container in such a way that the upper part of the silver container which is welded, is exposed to the inner space of the inner carton. Then the space between the bigger carton and the smaller carton is lined with sawdust to prevent heat loss.
“The inner part of the smaller carton is also wrapped with aluminum foil to prevent heat loss due to radiation and also prevent the wetting of the inside of the carton. The hygrometre is for determining the relative humidity inside and there is the egg tray where the eggs are arranged so when you are heating the bottom, the heat will be supplied to the eggs through the silver container which acts as a conductor and there is water inside, so the heat is being conducted throughout the local incubator. The water inside can also retain heat so that you can even put out the lantern to save your kerosene since the water can retain the heat.”
Explaining further, Attahiru said the work of the aluminum foil is to prevent heat loss by radiation and also prevent the system from getting wet so that “even if you pour water inside the incubator, nothing will happen to the cartons. The cover is fitted to slow down heat loss from the water. There is also empty sardine cans in which we put water and they are placed in the incubator to maintain the humidity inside the vacuum.”
“This simple machine can be produced by a layman. We can conveniently hatch 30 eggs in this incubator. For hens, it takes 21 days and for ducks, 18 days,” he said.