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.

Heating and ventilation issues in poultry houses

A smoke test will indicate where energy leaks exist

On Monday afternoon, Feb. 13, I visited a farm outside Millsboro that was experiencing heating and ventilation problems. This farm had purchased two new high performance timer fans and was only able to pull .05 static pressure.

After much investigation a smoke test revealed that air was leaking around the foundation where the sill plate meets the block foundation. I recommended to the grower that he seal this area with a commercial sealer. Static pressure tests are performed on a closed poultry house with 2- 36 inch fans or one 48 inch fan running to pull a vacuum. All areas should be completely closed to pull maximum static pressure.

Smoke from an insect fogger (using baby oil), a commercial smoke stick or even a bee smoker can then be used to direct smoke outside the house along the foundation, sidewall or any suspect areas where the affected area will pull the smoke into the building. This leak can now be easily seen. ~ Bill Brown

UD Extension conducts field workshops for Delmarva poultry growers

This is one of three grower field workshops the University of Delaware recently conducted for area poultry growers. A local integrator partnered with UD’s poultry team to provide hands-on education on topics like Winter Ventilation and Litter Management, Litter Reconditioning and Nipple Drinker Management. Other training included animal welfare and food safety. Here are some of the pictures from our most recent session:

A Delmarva poultry house serves as a classroom

Steven Collier left and I (Bill Brown) right, demonstrate house leakage principles using colored water:

Greg Griffith, regional sales manager for Ivesco, demonstrates how to seal a foundation plate to improve ventilation and avoid drafting birds:

Greg Griffith

Here, I am demonstrating the importance of insulation in reaching the required R values to reduce heat transfer and condensation. This is another ventilation basic:

Knowing the correct R value for your poultry house is crucial

My colleague, Steven Collier uses a smoke stick to visualize the movement of air through mixing fans while I explain the heat stratification and how mixing fans improve fuel cost and litter conditions:

Smoke test

In this last photo, you see I am holding a sponge. This exercise demonstrates the moisture holding properties of air in a chicken house as it is heated. This is another ventilation basic. (You will notice the smoke from the aforementioned smoke test had not yet settled!):

Relative humidity

Posted by MDW on behalf of Bill Brown, UD poultry Extension agent

UDel Extension to hold Solar Technology workshops for Poultry Growers

The University of Delaware in cooperation with the Delaware Department of Agriculture invites the agricultural community to a Delaware Agricultural Solar Workshop Wednesday Feb.29at the Carvel Research and Education Center on route 9 in Georgetown, Del. There will be two sessions offered from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.

The program will highlight findings from a 2011 DDA study and report titled SOLAR TECHNOLOGY GUIDE & RESOURCES V 1.10. Workshop participants were involved with this study and will be presenting up-to-date information about solar technology. Topics will include facts about the current solar regulatory environment, financial incentives, site evaluations, technology & financing options. The program will conclude with a panel of two poultry growers explaining their operations and their experiences with solar followed by a question and answer period.

To register, please email Karen Adams or call Karen at 302-856-2585 ext.540 Seating is limited and will be on a first call basis. There is no cost for attending.

UPDATE: Agenda



2:00 p.m.       Welcome –  Cory Whaley  Ag Agent

                      Opening Remarks –  Ed Kee,  Delaware Secretary of Agriculture

2:10 p.m.       Introduction of Speakers –  Bill Brown, state poultry Extension agent

                      Solar Technology Basics –   Dr. Jim Glancey, UD

2:30               Overview of Solar Technology in Delaware –  Brian White

                      Feasibility Considerations –    Barry Yerger

                      Determining if Solar is Right for Your  Operation-  Brian Yerger,
Dale Davis

3:15               Experiences with Solar (Grower Panel) –  Robbie Isaacs,
Dan Heller

3:35               Questions & Answers


Session One 2 – 4 p.m.

Session Two 6 – 8 p.m.