With the summer heat settling in it’s not uncommon for ventilation problems to starting showing up in broiler houses and swine gestation/ breeding buildings. Even facilities that have performed well in the past may experience issues. One of the best yardsticks for evaluating a ventilation system is measuring wind speed. Windmeters ranging from an inexpensive smartphone unit to dedicated handheld devices are used to measure wind speed in feet per minute.
If the wind speed is lower than desired the next step is to check the static pressure with either a portable manometer or on the ventilation control monitor. With the ventilation system operating at full capacity, the house pressure should be between .05 to .08″. Some broiler facilities will experience higher pressure due to increased air requirements.
If the static pressure is high, the most likely cause is restricted airflow through cool cell pads clogged with scale or algae.
Scale is the buildup of minerals hard water leaves behind as it evaporates during the cooling process. Heavy deposits of scale require the use of a broom to dislodge the debris and then rinsing them off the pad with a low-pressure hose nozzle. The best way to deal with scale is to prevent it from forming in the first place. Adding a descaler treatment to the water helps keep the minerals in suspension and prevents them from sticking to the pad.
Nutrients in the water allow algae to grow and block the openings in the pad. Adding algaecides to the recirculating water kills the algae and prevents it from re-establishing. Allowing the pad to dry completely for several hours each day also stops algae growth.
But by far the most important management practice for cool cell maintenance is to drain and replace the water often. How often depends on water quality and the amount of the time the system operates each day. An absolute minimum is once a month, with a weekly schedule an even better practice. Even with the use of chemical agents, a build up of contaminants occurs in the trough. Regular removal by completely draining the water from the trough eliminates grit and dirt from the system. Dumping opposed to continuously bleeding off a small amount of the water is the preferred practice because dumping does a better job of flushing the contaminants.
If the static pressure is too low, the first reaction is to add fans to increase airflow. In many cases, especially in buildings where the airflow seemed adequate before, replacing the fan belts and/or pulleys will restore proper air flow. Slippage caused by worn belts and pulley cause fans to be less efficient and air delivery to suffer by as much as 20%. Plan to replace all fan belts on an annual basis with the metal pulleys needing replacement about every four years. A visual check after installing new belt should show the belt riding high in the pulley groove. If the belt sinks into the groove, then the pulley should be replaced.
Routine, scheduled maintenance on fans and evaporative systems is fundamental to providing broilers and pigs with adequate cooling during hot weather extremes.
By Austin Baker
Hog Slat Inc.
While LED lighting can bring broiler poultry growers significant energy savings, AgriShift® Dim-to-Blue® lighting offers more than being an environmentally friendly option. What makes AgriShift® Dim-to-Blue® technology uniquely beneficial, is that it is designed to influence and direct certain processes, recreating the best possible environment for your animal. New developments in LED lighting can now provide a customized light spectrum, intensity and photoperiod control for broiler environments. The utilization of this advanced LED lighting in broiler facilities can bring performance benefits, resulting in increased broiler production and improved animal welfare.
Three characteristics of lighting should be considered when designing a lighting system: 1) light spectrum or color of the light, 2) intensity of the light, and 3) photoperiod or the amount of time the lighting fixtures are on each day. In the past, lighting systems (incandescent, fluorescent or high-pressure sodium lamps) had fixed color and intensity, with the only controllable variable being the length of exposure. With ONCE® AgriShift® Dim-to-Blue® technology and lighting systems, it is possible to control all three key characteristics.
Research shows that a typical chicken views a light source much differently than a human eye would. For instance, the graphs below show that humans and chickens perceive green light similarly, but chickens have enhanced sensitivity to reds, blues and ultraviolet light. Additional research has shown that different wavelengths can be used to enhance various aspects of development. For example, green light increases growth during the early stages of development by enhancing proliferation of skeletal muscle satellite cells, which repair and build muscle. Blue light is helpful in the growth and sexual development of poultry at a later age by elevation of plasma androgens, allowing the bird to put on more muscle mass. Combined green and blue light promotes myofiber growth due to more effective stimulation of testosterone secretion.
By organizing individual LEDs to activate at predetermined voltage levels, it is feasible to implement a color-shifting technology, which is the foundation of AgriShift® Dim-to-Blue® lighting products for broilers
AgriShift® Dim-to-Blue® lighting systems shift the spectrum to mimic a natural sunrise and sunset. With no dimming, the system produces a full light spectrum, ideal for stimulating growth when beginning a chicks growth cycle. As grow out continues the lighting is gradually decreased to 30%, shifting the range from blue to green to promote muscle growth. When the system is fully dimmed (also known as moon lighting), the monochromatic blue is used to calm the birds at night or before catching.
Using ONCE® AgriShift® Dim-to-Blue® technology and lighting systems allow broiler farmers an environmentally friendly lighting option that not only saves on electrical costs but also improves animal welfare and increases broiler production. To learn more click Dim-to-Blue®.
Video tour of a 5000-sow farm located on a mountaintop near ShenNonh Dali in the Sichuan Province of China.
This remote sow unit produces and tests breeding stock from an 896 crate farrowing house, 4400 stall gestation building, 50 place boar stud, GDU/ Iso barn, and 15-room testing facility. Hog Slat designed the unit and supplied AirStorm fiberglass fans; feeding equipment including feed bins, sow drops, and Grow-Disk systems. Hog Slat’s SowMAX feed dispensers provide simple, dependable ad lib sow feeding in the farrowing crates.
The key objective of this study was to determine the effect of additional access to water on nursery pig performance over a 28-day period. A total of 2,017 weanling nursery pigs were allotted to one of two treatment groups: Control (SC): Dual Standard Cup Waterers; or Test (WC): Additional, 4 Nipple Horizontal Water Bar. Pigs were fed according to the standard, three phase feeding program in place in this commercial unit, and were offered ad libitum access to water and feed throughout the trial. Providing additional access to water with the water bar incrementally increased water disappearance by 0.03 gal/pig. In addition, a positive response in average daily feed delivered (ADFD) was observed in Periods 1 and 3 (14.8% and 9.2% higher, respectively, P<0.05); and 5.2% overall (P<.10) for WB versus SC pigs. Moreover, ADG was 8.8% greater for WB versus SC pigs in Period 3. Overall, this study provides evidence that the provision of an extra water bar in the nursery phase can translate into 1.4 lbs more feed delivered per pig resulting in 1.1 lbs more gain per pig in 28 days.
Given the well-documented correlation of feed and water intake, the objective of this trial was to determine if the provision of additional access to water would promote higher water consumption, and concomitant growth performance in weanling nursery pigs reared in a commercial environment over a 28-d period.
Pigs (n=2017) were mixed-sex housed in a single room within in a 4-room, commercial wean-to-finish barn, with a shared feeder between adjacent pens. Pigs were equally allotted to 42 pens to yield a stocking density of 48 pigs/pen (144 sq. ft./pen) Pens were allotted to one of two treatment groups as follows: Control (SC): Standard Cup waterers with 2 per pen located on the right and left sides of each pen, or; Treatment (WB): Control + an additional horizontal, 4-nipple Water Bar .
Pigs were fed according to the standard, three phase nursery program routinely utilized in this commercial facility, and had ad-libitum access to feed and water throughout the 28-day trial. Water disappearance for the SC and WB groups was monitored via individual mainline water meters supplying water to the standard right and left-side waterers, and the additional water bar.
Pen weights were monitored at the initiation of the study (Day 0) and thereafter at 7, 14 and 28 days. Feed intake was monitored by total feed delivered to each shared pen. All mortalities and removals over the course of the trial were also recorded.
Table 1 shows the summary of water disappearance as measured by metered gallons of water. Observationally, the addition of the extra water bar increased water disappearance by 0.03 gal/pig/day or 17.6%. It was noted, however, that the overall consumption of water (as measured by water disappearance) was generally lower that expected for pigs of this age. In general, literature reports indicate nursery pigs typically consume 0.3 gal of water/lb of feed consumed.
Table 2 provides a summary of performance. A positive response in average daily feed delivered (ADFD) was noted in Periods 1 and 3 (14.8%, 9.2% higher, respectively, P<0.05); and 5.2% overall (P<.10) for WB pigs. This increase in ADFD translated into 8.8% higher ADG for WB pigs in Period 3, however no other improvements in ADG or G/ADFD were noted within the three periods or overall.
Conclusion & Recommendations
This study provides initial evidence that the overlay of a 4-nipple water bar to the standard dual cup waterer system to provide additional access to water, and promote increased water consumption has measurable impact on improved feed intake (as measured by total feed delivered).
Given the potential performance impact of improved feed intake together with the preliminary results of this trial, it is recommended that the study be repeated with the following modifications in order to more accurately assess the effect of increased access to water:
- Addition of feed weigh backs to the protocol to improve accuracy in feed intake monitoring.
- Collection of water disappearance data throughout the full study period.
- Consideration of calibration or replacement of water meters to improve accuracy of water disappearance monitoring.
- Randomization of the test variable (water bar) throughout the room to help better account for water line distances.
- Verification and standardization of waterer flow pressure to recommended levels for nursery pigs (8 fl. Oz./min)
The introduction of a contagious disease to a farm represents a severe economic impact on a flock. Contaminated clothing, equipment, and footwear remain one of the primary causes of bird exposure to disease-causing organisms. Managing traffic should be a top priority on your farm to prevent the introduction of disease.
This advanced biosecurity system operates much like key cards utilized in hotels. Electronic door latches are installed on entrance doors or traffic gates and connected to a Maximus card reader. Presenting an authorized card activates the door lock solenoid.
Each user is assigned a tag or card and completes their profile by adding an email or phone number. The type of access given to each card controls entry to production facilities; this can range from limited to full access. For example, you can grant permission for employees working a weekend shift access to the buildings only on Saturday and Sundays between 5 am to 2 pm.
Every site or building has a designated health status. The owner operator then establishes a health protocol for personnel to follow. An example of a health protocol or rule would be to deny access to a “clean” site for 48 hours after visiting a “dirty” site. Trying to enter a “clean” site before 48 hours results in denied entrance. The system sends an email or SMS, explaining the reason, to anyone denied access.
Doors can be remotely unlocked to allow access to specific visitors, such as veterinarians and service techs that do not have a card.
The system also provides a history of the activity for all sites. After selecting the time range to view, the operator will see the username, the tag number, location of the reader used, the date/time reading of a card, the status (if the user was allowed access) and the reason for the denied access.
The same card is also used to enable access to the Maximus house controller. For instance, a particular card may permit the user to view the screen but not make adjustments, while another level of permission might only allow a farm worker to enter the number of eggs collected or record the number of deads picked up.