Here are some great tips to ensure proper ventilation during the winter months.
1. Proper in between litter management is crucial. It sets the “stage” for the next flock. Start litter conditioning immediately once flock leaves. Ventilate between the flocks. If you are windrowing between flocks, spread the litter out a minimum of 7 days prior to getting chicks. If you do not do this, then ammonia control products will not be as effective.
2. Follow preheating instructions from integrator. A 72 hour preheat is best, because it helps purge the ammonia and helps insure the floor is at the proper temperature for chicks.
3. Most important is make sure the house is as tight as possible. To measure tightness turn on enough fans that provide 1 CFM/ Sqft of floor space. For example, 20,000sqft house 2-36” fans. Seal up any areas where air is leaking in the house (around doors, tunnel fan louvers, sill plate, tunnel inlet area, attic boards.
4. Static Pressure is what measures house tightness. The tighter the house the more control you have over where the air is coming in and is being directed.
5. A good rule of thumb is for every 0.01 points of pressure; you throw the air 2 feet. For example in a 60’ wide house, we want to pull a 0.15 Static with vents open, this will throw the air 30’(to the center of the house where the air can be mixed with the warmest air in the peak of the ceiling and be tempered before it reaches bird level.
7. Heat Rises. Cold air is heavier and will fall to the floor if not mixed properly.
8. Doing a good job with ventilation is a compliment of both static pressure and vent box opening. The Static pressure gives you the throw while the vent box opening gives you the volume of air. It is better to have less vent boxes open more (1 to 2 inches), than to have every vent box open ¼ inch. Without enough volume of air (opening) even a good pressure, you will not get good tempering of air.
9. Button vent boxes in the off chambers where birds are not present. It is ok to button every other vent box in the brood chamber to allow you to get more opening with more static pressure.
10. Monitor humidity. Check it in the morning. The chicken house is like a “moisture bank account,” the chickens are making deposits, nipple drinkers are making deposits, Combustion of fuel for heaters are making deposits; the fans are making withdraws. It is best to keep the humidity between 50 and 60 %. Under 50%, you may be over ventilating if you are using fuel. Over 60% and litter conditions will start to deteriorate, (this can affect paw quality).
11. Normally, if you control humidity you will control ammonia. Ammonia should be kept under 25ppm. If the ammonia 100ppm and you are running 60 seconds, adding 15 seconds will not reduce ammonia to 25ppm. Reducing ammonia level is about diluting it- so to reduce 100-ppm ammonia to 50ppm you have to double the ventilation rate to 120 seconds on.
Use stir fans, to help move heat off the ceiling and prevent air from getting stagnant. This will help with humidity and ammonia.