Brooding

Introduction

Finished flock performance can be influenced early in the production cycle—and it should be a priority to ensure that this happens. When poults get off to a good start (low mortality, good uniformity and morbidity), they develop good gut health through regular feeding and drinking patterns. This allows the bird to realize the improved genetic gains that a Hybrid Turkey can offer each year. Good flock performance can be achieved, whether you have the most innovative and up-to-date equipment or have an older barn that is managed well.

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Brooder Barn Ventilation

No matter the age of your birds, the basics of ventilation still apply. However, poults are extra sensitive during the first few days and weeks of life, so a well-ventilated barn is crucial to maintain the correct temperature, humidity, and gases.

Tight test the house

1. Close curtains and/or inlets

2. Make sure all holes are closed around walls, end doors, etc.

3. Turn minimum fans on. This would equal as close to 1.0 cfm per square foot (18 cmh/m²) as possible.

4. Static pressure (SP) should be .15-.20” SP (34-50 Pa) if house is tight.

Now begin to open inlets. Keep in mind the minimum inlet opening should be approximately 2-3” (5-8 cm) wide (anything smaller will choke the inlet and not allow air to ‘throw’ correctly). Cold air entering the desired inlets should travel along the ceiling and mix with the warm air in the center of the barn.

1. Approximate total inlet opening should be near 80-85 sq in per 1,000 cfm (515-550 cm² per 1700 cmh fan capacity).

2. Open inlets until the SP is .10-.12” (25-30 Pa) for 50’ (15 m) or wider and .08-.10” (20-25 Pa) for less than 50’ (15 m)wide. This will be the minimum number of inlets to be used with the minimum fans.

3. Smoke the barn to test the air ‘throw’. For every 0.01” SP (2.5 Pa) air should travel 2-2.5’ (0.61-0.76 m).

4. The minimum fans will be the fans on timer and the first fans to come on simultaneously on thermostat if the house temperature warms up to meet the targeted temperature.

Minimum timer setting will be enough to maintain humidity, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and ammonia levels [See Gases for more information]. Keeping the humidity under 60% should result in good C02 levels and dry litter conditions. Excess litter moisture can lead to ammonia and bacteria build that can result in leg issues later in life.

Typically, one half minute per week of age on a five minute cycle timer (one minute for a ten minute cycle timer) is sufficient. However, depending on brooder type, temperature and barn tightness, this may not be enough air volume to control the humidity to 60% and below the target level for carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and ammonia. If this is the case, then increase the cycle time in 15 second intervals until air quality parameters improve.

Additional thermostat fans will be set 0.5°C (1°F ) above the minimum fan settings to come on as the house warms. For houses with auto inlets, the inlets will open automatically based on increased SP with more fans. For houses with manual inlets, they will have to be opened manually or the curtain lowered manually to reduce SP as more fans come on thermostat.

For houses with automatic inlets, the inlets will open automatically based on increased pressure with more fans.

1. For houses with manual inlets, they will have to be opened manually or the curtain lowered manually to reduce pressure as more fans start operating on thermostat.

Timer fans:

1. Additional timer fans may need to be added as birds get older.

2. This should be done only when the minimum fans have reached 7-8 minutes on (out of 10 minutes).

3. The primary difference between brooder and finisher barn ventilation is the minimum time needed to control moisture in a large house with increased floor space per bird.

4. Additional inlets may need to be opened to compensate for increased pressure with more fans.

5. Circulation fans will aid in utilizing the heat build-up at the ceiling of the house, in addition to throwing incoming air into the center.

6. Attic inlets may be used for minimum ventilation. See manufacturer specifications for ventilation rate requirements and spacing.

Click here to use the online ventilation calculator.

Temperature

In order for your poults to start eating and drinking right away, it is important that they are warm enough to move around and explore their environment.

The brooding environment should have an even distribution of floor temperatures ranging from 90⁰-95⁰F (32.2⁰-35⁰C) across the feed and water space. There should not be a difference of more than 1 degree F (0.5C) between the top layer of the litter 1” (2.5 cm) underneath. It is important to make sure floor temperatures are in the correct range since cold floors can quickly reduce body temperature, making it more of a challenge for the poults to find feed and water sources.

Alternatively, stove temperatures that are set too high, have inconsistent heat cycles or do not properly project their heat can create hot spots. This causes the poults to move away from feed and water if they are in an environment that is too hot.

Learn more about barn temperature.

At delivery, and then 12 hours post-placement, a poult’s internal temperature range should be between 103⁰F (39.4⁰C) and 104⁰F (40⁰C). No higher and no lower. To do this, take a random sample of 10-12 poults and measure internal temperature using a poult thermometer.

1. Expose the cloaca, then gently introduce the thermometer

2. Thermometer depth should not exceed 1/3”

3. Leave the thermometer in place until the reader beeps

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