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

 

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