Preparing poultry barns for warmer weather
By Doug MartinFeatures Barn Management
Spring maintenance helps protect bird comfort and promote profitability.
Warmer weather is around the corner and now is a good time to conduct poultry barn maintenance to help protect bird comfort and promote profitability. That said, here are some important things to check to make sure your barn is ready for spring and summer.
Check fan belts for tightness and to make sure they ride on top of the pulleys rather than inside. Grease the bearings, as dry bearings require more power to turn the fan blades, reducing efficiency and shortening bearing life span.
Wash or clean fan housings and shutters of any dirt or debris. Even a thin film of dust can change the airflow, reducing performance.
For example, in tunnel ventilation, provide uniform air flow of at least 600 to 700 feet per minute to avoid areas of slow or dead air. Uniform air flow is essential to maintain a healthy body temperature by enabling birds to dissipate the required amount of body heat.
When cleaning fans, also check that all are operating properly, since some fans typically remain idle during winter months. You want these big fans to run when they are needed.
Cool cell system
Dirty cool cells restrict airflow and reduce fan performance, lowering the overall efficiency of an evaporative cooling system. Add cleanser to the water reservoir and run the pump for 15 to 20 minutes to clean the pads.
The longer the contact with the pads, the deeper the scaling will be achieved. Empty the system, rinse the pads with low-pressure water and refill the reservoir with clean water.
Be sure to use an approved cleanser, replace pads as necessary and clean the wire screen filter of insects and any debris to ensure maximum water distribution to the system.
Service the pump motor, including lubricating the bearings, checking for oil leaks and inspecting the pump casing for any damage.
Make sure settings on the controller are set up for warmer months. Check upper stages to see that everything is programmed properly.
Run a complete test cycle between flocks before warmer weather. If you are using an older controller, upgrading to a more efficient unit can maintain a more consistent barn environment.
Inspect the outside of the poultry barn, and repair any burst pipes or other structural issues. This can include building damage caused by rodents attempting to gain access during the winter months.
A poultry barn operates like a wind tunnel, and any holes can disrupt optimum air flow.
Other maintenance checks
As warm weather approaches, check your thermostat backup system to ensure that proper ventilation will be activated in case of a controller failure.
This is also a good time to make sure that the barn alarm system is fully functional, the zones are programmed properly and the dialer is working correctly. In warm weather, it’s especially important to respond as quickly as possible to any ventilation issues.
In warm weather, birds also need to drink more water. Check that the water well system is working properly and that there is sufficient water in the reservoir.
Weather preparation should ideally be completed no later than May 1. Conducting all the required maintenance and checks now will go a long way toward maximizing profitability through improved bird livability and lower feed conversion.
Doug Martin is Canada sales manager for Cumberland. For additional information, visit CumberlandPoultry.com.
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