It’s hard to believe that winter is almost here, but the fact that we’re nearing the end of September means it’s time to start prepping for a significant drop in temperatures. You’ll want to get poultry houses ready so that birds can enjoy a safe, comfortable environment no matter the weather. Here are some tips to make sure that you’re completely ready for when winter weather hits:
Focus on fans
Proper airflow is essential year-round, but becomes especially important during the winter. In both new and old poultry houses alike, you’ll want to stir the air inside regularly in order to encourage proper ventilation. Without sufficient air movement, hot air gathers at the top of the house, with cold air falling down below. This process, known as stratifying, causes a serious drain on your resources and also yields undesirable conditions for bird health.
Treat and stop air leaks
You want to provide a safe and comfortable environment that’s ideal for the health of your birds. To ensure that this is the case all winter long, make it a point to tighten up your poultry house and stop air leaks. You’ll want to pay especially close attention to areas like:
- Tunnel inlet curtains
- Carpenter joints
- Concrete footings
- Sidewall or ceiling vent inlets
- Fan shutters
- Outside wall metal
When holes form or damage occurs in these areas, you’re allowing cold air to seep in and throw off the balance of your otherwise desirable environment. It doesn’t matter how new or well-constructed a poultry house is. Any structure is at risk for leaks, so it’s important to be mindful of proper upkeep.
If you’re unsure if your poultry house has leaks present, use smoke to guide you. Place the house under 0.10 inches of static pressure and carefully smoke the exterior. If you see smoke seeping into the house, you know you’ve got leaks to deal with. Even seemingly tiny leaks can wreak major havoc, so address them as swiftly as possible.
Photo from Cindy Burkhart – Norwich, OH
Tend to your insulation
If your house lacks proper insulation, you’ll find that you’re wasting a tremendous amount of energy when temperatures drop. Before winter sets in, make it a point to insulate your poultry house properly and perform upgrades as needed. Keep in mind that solid walled builds are much more effective at keeping heat inside when it gets cold.
Maintain your heaters and vents
In order to ensure proper airflow when cold weather sets in, you’ll want to verify that your vents and heaters are working properly. Regular wear and tear can reduce the performance of this equipment, leaving you with wasted fuel and less-than-ideal conditions for your birds.
On your vents, keep an eye out for:
- Rusted pulleys
- Lack of insulation on the back of vent doors
- Corroded vent door hinges
- Gears and fittings in vent machines that are in need of grease
When you’re inspecting heaters, look for:
- Malfunctioning direct spark igniters
- Burners that are stopped up
- Regulators that are broken
- Plumbing or fittings that are allowing gas leaks to occur
- Gas supply hoses that are kinked or rotting
As you focus on maintenance, you’ll also want to take a look at the condition of your fans. Dust buildup negatively impacts poultry houses in a major way by slowing air movement and driving up fuel costs. In fact, we’ve found that when shutters are clean, fans move 47 percent more air per minute, while using 8.3 percent less electrical current. If you’d like more information like this, we’ve got plenty worth sharing with you.