Proper ventilation is key to poultry health and productivity. Randy Stidham, Cumberland district manager, offers equipment maintenance recommendations to help provide an ideal environment for poultry houses during cold weather.
“First and foremost is making sure that all equipment is in proper working order,” he says. That includes:
Shutters – Clean dust and debris from shutters and ensure they are properly opening and shutting. Avoid having them stick due to maintenance issues.
Fans – Make sure minimum ventilation fans are clean and perform correctly, as they operate less during the winter. “A fan that is underperforming will need to run longer, exposing the birds to cold air and poor ventilation,” Stidham said.
Ventilation boards – Check that these open and close properly for incoming air. “Be sure there is a protective screen or bird wire that is free of dust or feathers, so that the passageway is completely open,” he added.
Humidity – Avoid moisture buildup that can cause wet litter and raise ammonia levels. Monitor and maintain proper humidity levels through ventilation and temperature control.
Temperature sensors – Calibrate temperature sensors tied to controllers to make sure they are accurate and maintain desired temperatures in the house.
Heaters – Inspect heaters to make sure they are in proper working order. Clean heaters on the outside and remove built-up dust on the inside, which can cause problems. Dirty heaters can cause air and gas mixture problems, resulting in the heater not operating to its full potential.
Stir fans – Properly using stir fans can achieve better performance and also energy savings. “These and other seasonal maintenance steps can go a long way to ensuring a healthier environment that enables birds to reach their full potential,” Stidham said.
For more information, poultry producers can contact their equipment dealer or visit