Seemingly small decisions about poultry house ventilation and litter management during cold winter months can make a big impact on performance, so it’s important to fully understand how variables are related.
In its simplest form, remember what’s best for the bird is also best for PLT® litter amendment. Jones-Hamilton territory managers routinely talk to producers about pre-heating houses and purging ammonia prior to bird placement. This process will decrease the ammonia insult (from blinding birds to burnt paws) to chicks at placement, but it will also increase the effectiveness of PLT®.
Without pre-heating and purging ammonia from the previous flock, the amendment will be used up on existing ammonia in the house.
All litter amendments are capable of binding a finite amount of ammonia based on the rate applied and product quality. The amount of binding capacity will be based on the product to litter ratio. Without pre-heating and purging ammonia from the previous flock, the amendment will be used up on existing ammonia in the house and unavailable or limited in its ability to eliminate ammonia during the first seven days.
A thick fog appearing immediately after a PLT® application is a clear sign the house may not have been pre-heated and purged of ammonia effectively.
With that in mind, seeing is believing does not apply when it comes to PLT® application. A thick fog appearing immediately after a PLT® application is a clear sign the house may not have been pre-heated and purged of ammonia effectively, especially if a large amount of thick fog appears or you cannot see from one end of the house to the other. The fog (or haze) forms because ammonia still in the air reacts with the PLT. Litter can still generate ammonia even after pre-heat and purge, so the generation of a small amount of haze may still occur even with sufficient ventilation.
The haze is not harmful to birds and increased ventilation is not necessary, nor recommended, as it will only serve to bring in cold air and minimize the reaction of PLT® as humidity levels drop.
Ideal relative humidity (RH) should remain between 50-70% for the welfare of birds, house conditions and PLT® effectiveness. RH levels below 50% will dehydrate birds and cause PLT® to react very slowly with the ammonia releasing from the floor. RH levels over 70% will create cake and cause PLT® to activate too quickly, decreasing the longevity of ammonia control.
To maximize PLT® efficacy:
Properly purge before PLT® application. Don’t ventilate when you pre-heat. Maintain a temperature of 95 degrees and only ventilate when workers are present or just enough to prevent the house from sweating. Ventilate to purge ammonia just prior to PLT® application.
Maintain relative humidity levels between 50% – 70% to maintain ideal house conditions and maximize PLT® effectiveness.
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