Check equipment now to help birds withstand summer heat

A common question we’re often asked as the summer approaches is “where do we start with getting our houses ready for hot weather to ensure our birds remain as healthy and productive as possible?”
calendar icon 3 June 2020
clock icon 8 minute read

These before and after photos show how dirty shutters can lower fan efficiency and tunnel windspeed. We added over 50 fpm of wind speed in this house simply by cleaning the 12 tunnel-fan shutters with our hands.

Keep a close eye out for dirty shutters during hot weather, and clean them before they start reducing fan performance and bird cooling. This is important for all flocks but especially true for large-bird flocks.

4. Clean pads

We get many calls and emails about how to clean pads and when to replace them. In short, take some pads out of the system and inspect them carefully.

If the pads are structurally sound and salvageable, then give them a good cleaning by blowing the flutes out and follow with an approved cleaner and water.

The better job you do at cleaning flutes, the longer pads will last. Some growers blow their pads out after each summer flock. It is always a good idea to record static pressure at full tunnel.

For example, if the full-tunnel pressure was 0.08 inch new and it is 0.12 inch today, there’s a good chance the pads may be clogged and need to be thoroughly cleaned or replaced.

If you really want to know how bad your existing pads are, compare them to new ones. You might be surprised by what you discover.

If cleaning has not been done in years, it will be a difficult (impossible, in some cases) job to return them to their original state. Thorough cleaning of the pads and the entire recirculation system annually (at minimum) is important, even on newer farms.

5. Tunnel inlet or door maintenance

This is often a forgotten task that can cause significant issues in a flock when a problem arises.

We see a lot of broken ropes, rusted chains, pulleys and sprockets, and it’s important to make sure curtains and doors are in tip-top shape and good working order.

Take the time today to thoroughly inspect all moving parts, including hinges, to make sure tunnel inlets are opening and closing properly.

If you notice a sudden increase in pressure at full tunnel that was not there the day before, there is a good chance you have a restriction at the inlet that could have potentially been prevented.

Pre-flock inspection, repair and adjustments are easier to make prior to flock placement, especially in hot weather.

Create a best-practice routine

The most effective management practices are those that are documented so the grower can ensure all necessary equipment is inspected and tuned-up on a routine basis.

Take the time to make schedules, take notes and log dates when the equipment was serviced. This will help prevent things like generators overheating or running out of fuel, a fan belt from breaking or a feed line motor from going out prematurely.

It only takes one glitch to cause major problems for growers in hot weather. Usually it isn’t the things that we know were done that cause problems — it’s often the things we forget to maintain, and those often cost the most money to correct.

Keeping things simple, getting equipment service reports documented and making lists are all key to ensuring houses are prepared for warmer months and that birds are able to remain healthy and perform at their best.

3. Fan maintenance

Fan maintenance is required to achieve maximum full-tunnel ventilation performance and efficiency. Pre-flock inspection and testing of fans should be a high priority.

We have seen houses increase full-tunnel wind speed by 50 feet per minute (fpm) by simply cleaning the fan shutters. Dirty shutters and wire screens, worn or dry bearings, worn belts and weak tensioners are fan-efficiency robbers.

For example, a house with properly cleaned fans may need only six fans, while a house with dirty fans may have to run eight fans to achieve the same heat removal and target temperature.

Running additional fans will increase electrical cost for heat removal during hot weather. To put it another way, we would rather use fewer like-new fans instead of more worn-out fans to get the job of heat removal and wind speed done.

These before and after photos show how dirty shutters can lower fan efficiency and tunnel windspeed. We added over 50 fpm of wind speed in this house simply by cleaning the 12 tunnel-fan shutters with our hands.

Keep a close eye out for dirty shutters during hot weather, and clean them before they start reducing fan performance and bird cooling. This is important for all flocks but especially true for large-bird flocks.

4. Clean pads

We get many calls and emails about how to clean pads and when to replace them. In short, take some pads out of the system and inspect them carefully.

If the pads are structurally sound and salvageable, then give them a good cleaning by blowing the flutes out and follow with an approved cleaner and water.

The better job you do at cleaning flutes, the longer pads will last. Some growers blow their pads out after each summer flock. It is always a good idea to record static pressure at full tunnel.

For example, if the full-tunnel pressure was 0.08 inch new and it is 0.12 inch today, there’s a good chance the pads may be clogged and need to be thoroughly cleaned or replaced.

If you really want to know how bad your existing pads are, compare them to new ones. You might be surprised by what you discover.

If cleaning has not been done in years, it will be a difficult (impossible, in some cases) job to return them to their original state. Thorough cleaning of the pads and the entire recirculation system annually (at minimum) is important, even on newer farms.

5. Tunnel inlet or door maintenance

This is often a forgotten task that can cause significant issues in a flock when a problem arises.

We see a lot of broken ropes, rusted chains, pulleys and sprockets, and it’s important to make sure curtains and doors are in tip-top shape and good working order.

Take the time today to thoroughly inspect all moving parts, including hinges, to make sure tunnel inlets are opening and closing properly.

If you notice a sudden increase in pressure at full tunnel that was not there the day before, there is a good chance you have a restriction at the inlet that could have potentially been prevented.

Pre-flock inspection, repair and adjustments are easier to make prior to flock placement, especially in hot weather.

Create a best-practice routine

The most effective management practices are those that are documented so the grower can ensure all necessary equipment is inspected and tuned-up on a routine basis.

Take the time to make schedules, take notes and log dates when the equipment was serviced. This will help prevent things like generators overheating or running out of fuel, a fan belt from breaking or a feed line motor from going out prematurely.

It only takes one glitch to cause major problems for growers in hot weather. Usually it isn’t the things that we know were done that cause problems — it’s often the things we forget to maintain, and those often cost the most money to correct.

Keeping things simple, getting equipment service reports documented and making lists are all key to ensuring houses are prepared for warmer months and that birds are able to remain healthy and perform at their best.

Poultry Health Today

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