Rotem Controllers workshop

Poultry house instrument control panel






Rotem’s Controllers set new standards in the poultry industry. These controllers enable poultry farmers to raise their flocks under the best conditions possible, reduce operating expenses, while increasing efficiency. These workshops will provide information on Rotem Controllers, whether you require a controller having a minimal number of relays or one capable of managing your entire operation, and which product will meet your requirements.

View of chickens inside a poultry house






Day 1
Thursday, December 14, 2017 – University of Maryland’s Somerset County Extension Office  (30730 Park Drive, Princess Anne, MD 21853)

Morning Session:   8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Afternoon Session: 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Day 2:
Friday, December 15, 2017 – Marydel Ag Supply (164 Main Street, Marydel, DE 19964)

Morning Session:   8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Afternoon Session: 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Register at:

Jon Moyle,, 410-742-1178, University of Maryland Extension

Jenny Rhodes,, 410-758-0166, University of Maryland Extension
Georgie Cartanza,  302-856-7303, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension

Download the workshop flyer >>>Rotem Workshops Dec 14 and 15 2017-1ybs7dn

This event is sponsored by the University of Maryland Extension, The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, Marydel Ag Supply and Diversified.

Managing Water Quality & Litter on the Farm Sept. 26, 2017

Poultry Growers Discussion Group Meeting
When: Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Time: 5:30 pm to 7:30pm
Where: Caroline-Dorchester County Fairground’s 4-H Park
Address: 8230 Detour Rd., Denton, MD 21629
Event Type: Poultry Growers Farm Management Meeting

Educational opportunity for poultry growers to learn more about “Managing Water Quality on the Farm,” by Mary Katherine Foy and “Litter Management,” by Dr Casey Ritz, from University of Georgia. Water is a nutrient we take for granted on our farms- birds drink twice as much water as feed they will eat. Find out more about how to better manage water quality on your farm. Managing litter between flocks and during flock impacts the performance and health of future flocks. Find out more about litter best management practices.

Register today!
Registration is free, and nutrient management credits are available from both Maryland and Delaware. Please register early!! Register by Monday, September 24, on the Eventbrite link.

Contacts: Jon Moyle, Poultry Specialist, 410-742-1178 x309,

Jenny Rhodes, Extension Educator, 410-758-0166,

Georgie Cartanza, Poultry Extension Agent, 302-856-7303,

This workshop is open to all. **If you need special assistance, please register and let us know two weeks before the date.

Summer poultry updates

If you have  37,500 birds or more on your farm – here is what you need to do to apply for the CAFO permit
Hot weather readiness intro-
We still have some hot weather ahead of us.Hot Weather Readiness Tips
Necrotic intro-
One of the biggest challenges we face growing antibiotic-free birds is necrotic enteritis. What is necrotic enteritis and what can you do about it?

Melted Snow Patterns on Chicken House Roofs

Snow pattern shows no loss of heat.

Snow pattern shows no loss of heat.

Somethings are out of site, out of mind.  It isn’t an easy task to climb up in the attic and see what is going on with the distribution of insulation or if there is an attic box not siting just right.  Melted snow patterns can indicate potential areas of poor insulation and house looseness.  This morning we had our first light dusting of snow with some additional snow being predicted for the weekend.  Looking at how the snow melts on a roof can be a good indicator of some potential missed opportunities for conserving on fuel  and being able to maintain consistent temperatures in the house.

Here are few pictures I took this morning.  The first picture shows snow evenly distributed with no bare spots. This is a good indicator that there is minimal leakage of heat around the tunnel inlet curtain, the attic boards are closed, and the insulation is intact. The second picture shows melted snow on the tunnel inlet dog box roof metal.  This indicates there is leakage around the tunnel inlet.  The inlet area may not be fully closed due to the tunnel inlet being poorly sealed.  The third picture shows a melted spot on the roof that is about half way down the dog box.  This would indicate a possible attic door not being closed or that the insulation is not intact.  In this particular instance, the insulation has been compromised in an area just above a heater.  The ceiling material was replaced but the insulation was not and there is an area of the curtain that is not fully meeting up fascia board due to shrinkage.  Identifying these issues and correcting them in a timely manner, will improve performance by improving bird comfort, floor conditions. and reduce fuel usage.

Melted snow at the tunnel curtain shows areas of heat being lost.

Melted snow at the tunnel curtain shows areas of heat being lost.

Melted snow in an area where insulation is not intact.

Melted snow in an area where insulation is not intact.

Hormone use in poultry – an expert speaks up

Here is a factual and well produced video from an extension colleague on the facts surrounding hormone use in commercial chicken production. In this video our friend, Dr. Susan Watkins, from the University of Arkansas, spells out the biological, economical and legal reasons why hormone use in modern broiler production is simply wrong. Those of us involved in this noble profession have a responsibility to let folks know that are in our circle of influence how we produce this  safe, nutritious and affordable food. I hope this video helps.

Hormone use in Poultry

It is amazing the amount of misinformation about antibotic use in commercial poultry. Attached is a recent article published last week by Mike Czarick and Brian Fairchild in their monthly Newsletter. This article articulates seven major reasons hormones aren’t used in modern meat bird production.  This was reprinted by permission from the University of Georgia.

Hormone Use in Poultry

Spring cleaning for poultry houses

Many poultry farms have or will soon be cleaning out for spring. Some farms in the area are learning to handle and manage a new litter product – baled, kiln-dried shavings.  These bales are approximately 700 pounds and are filled with compressed dry (10 percent moisture) shavings.  In many cases baled litter can be delivered weeks, even months ahead of a scheduled cleanout. This fact alone allows for cleanouts and rebedding to occur in a narrower window of time.

Many farms clean out their poultry houses during spring

Baled, kiln-dried shavings. Compressing the shavings significantly reduces transportation cost to the farm. This dry bedding also helps promote fuel savings and bird health

These bales can be moved and placed equidistant down the interior of the poultry house using a set of forks

These bales can be moved and placed equidistant down the interior of the poultry house using a set of forks

The outer poly and interior netting can be removed using a knife or box cutter.


These shaving can then be “ pushed around” using a front end loader or the forks.

The final process (and the most critical) is leveling the litter. This can best be accomplished using a Harley rake, a rotary rake, or a hay rake. The picture below is a picture of a Harley rake . This piece of equipment has a counter-rotating drum with teeth that under high RPM’s scatters and levels the shavings using the gauge wheels for depth. These devices can be rented and are used by the landscaping business to groom top soil.

Harley rake

The result from this process is a level floor. This allows for easier leveling of water and feed lines to improve feed and water access for day-old chicks.

Level bedding inside a poultry house


Switchgrass as poultry bedding

The University of Delaware and Maryland and Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. (DPI)  is currently working to evaluate processed Switchgrass (Panicum vergatum) as a potential bedding material. Pictured here is a 4 year old switch grass planting in Chestertown, Md., which is predicted to yield 5 to 8 tons per acre.

Four-year old switchgrass field

Switchgrass is harvested in mid winter to early spring and requires no nutrient or watering requirements. The grass is then baled in square or round bales and can be field stored for processing in the spring. Pen studies suggest that switchgrass should be processed to less than 1 inch length for poultry bedding.

Switchgrass bedding in a poultry house in Greenwood, Del.

Here is a picture of young chicks on switch grass bedding  in a brood chamber in a Greenwood Del. farm.  The Project would like to thank the DDA, DPI, Ernest Seed Company and Amick Farms for their collaboration on this evaluation. Pictures courtesy of Jennifer Timmons.