Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Silicone Valley Mantra of Design

I'm a big believer in the Silicone Valley mantra of design, then iterate. By building with the intent to evaluate and improve incrementally, you allow yourself to make quicker decisions. It's easy to paralyze yourself by trying to create the perfect design of a "thing" before you have any experience working with that "thing". When that happens, productivity and progress slow to a crawl. I am more productive when I get a pretty good idea of what I want to do, do it, then refine based on experience.
This Chick Brooder is a good example. I knew we wanted a stacked (4 levels) brooder to make the best use of floor space. We built it and it worked great. Watering was later improved by modifying a commercial drinker line, adding a gravity flow container up top, and suspending the whole system from the ceiling to allow for adjustment as the birds grow. That worked well, but we still had another problem. Summer brooding temperatures were to hot, we needed more airflow. This year we added a 10 inch louvered fan in each level. Now these little guys couldn't be more comfortable. Right now we manually turn the fan on when the temps get to warm for them. However, you may have guessed that I am planning the next iteration. I think we can wire a thermostat and a timer together. If it works we will be able to set the fan to come on 1 minute out of every 10, but stay on if the temp is over our set point.
FYI, all of this work is so that these little chicks can get off to a great start with the proper environmental conditions. They will feather up quickly and be able to handle normal outside temps within 2-3 weeks, depending on the season. In summer they go out to pasture at 2 weeks old.