Proper ventilation in the broiler house is of the utmost importance. It reduces mortality, aids in respiratory, skeletal and cardiovascular development, stimulates early feed intake, promotes flock uniformity, and ensures the proper development of temperature regulation.
By Chance Bryant, Director of U.S. Technical Services, Cobb.
(For more information, read our article, The Importance of Ventilation in Broiler Management.)
However, ventilation is not just something to be monitored in the summer months. Both cold and heat stress can negatively affect flock performance and once the damage has been done, there is no way to undo it.
The following is a list of indicators that can help you determine the efficiency of your ventilation system. Be on the lookout for these indicators throughout the year for any sign of poor ventilation so you can repair it immediately.
Check your air quality using your sense of smell, sight, and feel:
Smell: Does the air smell “sour” or smell of ammonia? If you smell ammonia coming off the litter, the chicks are being exposed to even higher levels of ammonia as they are closer to the ground and breathe it in more directly. A sour smell indicates excessive moisture levels. Note: Even if you don’t smell ammonia, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have good ventilation. Be sure to conduct other tests to make sure there aren’t any issues.
Sight: Does the air look clear or hazy? If it looks hazy, ventilation could be an issue.
Feel: Does the air feel thick or humid? If so, the Relative Humidity (RH%) is too high.