Do you need to pre-heat poultry houses in summer? YES!
One of the biggest myths regarding house preparation during summer months is that a proper 48-hour pre-heat is not required since it only takes an hour or two to reach target litter temperature for chicks. In reality, proper litter curing requires a 48-hour pre-heat regardless of the time of year.
The good news? Litter curing is even easier in the summer months and brooders will barely cycle to maintain air temperature during the pre-heat process.
- Make sure that the house is closed with end doors and inlets shut.
- Turn on the brooders to the required set temperature 48 hours prior to the new chicks arriving.
- Only run ventilation if necessary to prevent the house from sweating. This usually only requires about 5 minutes run time every hour when needed.
The 48-hour pre-heat releases excess moisture and ammonia thereby curing the litter. It will also warm the litter evenly from sidewall to sidewall and deep into the litter bed.
Consequences of Skipping Pre-Heat
Despite the summer heat, litter will not cure without a 48-hour pre-heat. Litter curing is especially important in the summer because high dewpoints will cause dew to form on top of the litter every night houses are left open. That means the litter is still purging ammonia and moisture when the chicks are placed. In many of these houses, ammonia levels are above 50 PPM and humidity above 75% during minimum ventilation.
In addition, if the entire litter bed has not been properly warmed, once the fans switch to continuous run to manage house temperature the extra ventilation rapidly cools off the top layer of the litter. This causes chicks to sit down in the litter and prevents them from eating as they should. Chicks that don’t eat because they get cool are chicks that don’t grow. Not a good choice for any grower’s bottom line.