The lower temperatures we experience during the upcoming winter months present producers with yet another set of challenges. While cold weather puts extra strain on the health and well-being of the birds, winters are also brutal on equipment and barns. As we transition into the winter season, producers must make barn and equipment maintenance a high priority.
Protecting your birds from the harsh winter environment begins with your curtains. Curtains are the barrier between the outside elements and your flock. Therefore, ensuring that they are in proper working condition is critical. Before the temperature drops, it is wise to raise your curtains and perform a quick inspection. Examine the curtain for holes, damage, or weak spots in the cable system that have the potential to cause future issues. Make all necessary repairs and assess that pulleys and curtain winches are working correctly. Grease equipment as needed.
The curtain barrier deflects the cold while maintaining internal temperatures. Before artic blasts become the norm, inspect the heating system in your barn. Check the pilot light, thermostat, and any other control points to ensure your heating system is fully operational. It is imperative to remember that one non-functioning heater can create cold spots in your barn. This can result in birds crowding into other areas of the barn, thus creating a strain on the well-being of the birds.
Inspections should also be performed on fans, vents, and shutters on your barn to confirm they are in working order. These are key airflow points, which will be different in your barn as you transition from summer into the fall and winter. Use flow meters to evaluate airflow, and search for leaks that can create cold spots that cause flock crowding.
Feeders and waterers
The changing of the season is the perfect time to examine feed and water systems. Inspect the auger on your feed lines, making certain that it is properly maintained and greased. Assess your feed bulk bin for any issues. Confirm that feed lines are distributing the proper amount of feed. Scrutinize how well your water lines are functioning, and look for leaks and air in the lines.
In livestock production, an ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure. Spending a few hours performing barn maintenance can save precious time and money later. Flock well-being is a top priority, which you demonstrate by completing maintenance and repair tasks before issues become detrimental. When equipment is in proper working order, your birds can thrive. If you have any questions on barn maintenance or other concerns about flock well-being, seek a professional opinion to ensure that your flock is on the best path to success.