When excessive moisture exists in broiler litter it can cause litter caking, increase paw lesions and make it difficult to retain heat, thereby lowering a bird’s body temperature which can be detrimental to weight gain, feed conversion and immune function. These five easy tips can help you maintain an ideal relative humidity for optimal performance during brooding.
- During the down time, check the operation of the inlet machines to make sure that they are opening and closing properly and that there are no air leaks around the inlet when it is closed. Check along sidewalls for drafts and air leaks and correct them.
- Don’t till or “fluff” the litter during the down time. Litter that is very fine and dusty dry will not absorb moisture well. Set de-caker only deep enough to skim the cake from the surface without disrupting the deeper litter.
- Pre-heat for 48 hours to achieve a floor temperature of at least 94°F evenly across the entire litter surface and 2-3 inches deep into the litter.
- Make sure that static pressure and inlet opening is sufficient to direct air across the ceiling for proper warming and mixing.
- Check relative humidity with a handheld humidity meter first thing each morning. If the humidity is at or above 70%, add 15 seconds of fan time.