Canadian Poultry Magazine

Features 100th anniversary Technology

May 1933

December 21, 2012
By V.D. Billings


(Courtesy of “Poultry Press”)

Ever alert to new developments and better methods in poultry production, poultry husbandry specialists, by extensive use in their “Grow Healthy Chicks” campaigns, have awakened the poultryman to the value of destroying disease germs by fire in poultry laying and brooder houses.

Until recently the poultry breeder turned liquid chemicals, whenever disease took excessive toll. These liquid chemicals were not generally effective, especially on the hardy and more harmful forms of disease germ life, such as coccidiosis, parasitic worms, etc. Besides being ineffective, liquid chemicals do not leave the houses and equipment in condition for immediate use, making an additional investment in the form of added houses and equipment necessary to provide for the stock during the “drying period,” if a good sanitation job is to result.

But now science, with its newer application of controlled fire has provided the poultryman with a positive way to destroy disease germs – the blast being applied by an oil burning torch or fire-gun, which generates a tremendous heat, and penetrates every nook and corner, where germs lurk awaiting their opportunity to spread disease and destruction, especially during the usually damp and cool brooding season.

The new owner can be under way with his fire-gun, almost as quickly as the old timer, because the starting and use of the torch is simplicity itself. Operating on the same principle as the ordinary plumber’s blow torch, the gun is lighted and put to work in five minutes time.

There is no trick to the use of the fire-gun. It is simply moved slowly over the surface to be disinfected. It is astonishing how long the flame can be held on the same spot without causing even a discoloration or charring on the floor or woodwork. It is not necessary to blacken or char to obtain perfect sanitation. In fact, carefully treated houses show only a slight trace of coloring on the floor, and an occasional spot on the wall where the gun may have been held too long. On cement floors the same effective results are obtained.

For speedy disinfecting and low cost, torching cannot be beaten. It takes but 10 minutes, and five cents worth of kerosene to thoroughly torch over or disinfect a 12 ft. by 12 ft. house. First remove all straw, litter and like material. Then brush down and scrape the house out to clean. If a hose is available use it. The house is then ready for the fire-gun. The floor and lower side walls should be torched over twice, and once over the remainder of the side walls and ceiling. There is relatively no smoke, no danger of fire and the house is dry and warm ready for immediate use.

As a precaution, in buildings where woodwork and boards are old and decayed, it is advisable to have a few pails of water handy for an emergency, because decayed wood catches fire very easily.

Special attention should be given the threshold and corridors. Much infection arises by this route, and they should be gone over as regularly as the floors and walls of the house. Concrete platforms and yards should be burned out once a week to kill roundworm eggs.

Equipment used should also be burned over after each cleaning. Dropping board scrapers, hose, shovels, metal feed troughs, water fountains, often sources of infection, should also be burned over or torched.

There is no place where a fire-gun or oil torch is more useful, than in disinfecting battery brooders. In a number of plants where coccidiosis was experienced in battery brooders, the oil torch has replaced all other disinfectants, and in every instance coccidiosis has become a thing of the past. Wire bottoms can be easily slipped out of most batteries, and should be torched or burned over. It pays to do this every week or two transferring the chicks to another compartment in the meantime, or to a holding crate. In some instances it is possible to slip in a clean wire grid, removing the dirty one without disturbing the chicks.

In addition many poultrymen have devised special uses for their oil torches, the most important being the burning of weeds, foul grass, tangled vines and hedges, etc. The weeds are burned green on the stalk, just as they stand with positive killing effect. Other valuable uses are drying damp floors, cellars, wet sand, etc. In winter time for thawing our frozen pipes and leaders – melting ice and snow. Warming concrete materials so that a concrete job can be successfully finished after freezing weather sets in. Farm machinery repairs find an oil torch saves many trips to and from coke forge by heating iron for bending, brazing, loosening tight couplings, expanding for shrink fits, starting tractor engines in cold weather, etc.