Pre-heating and Air Quality
Using the free heat in the litter during the down time does not negate the need for proper pre-heating procedures in preparation for brooding. Over time, litter temperatures will gradually decline and it’s essential to pre-heat houses to prepare for bird placement. As the litter temperature rises during the pre-heat, there will be a second purge of ammonia. It is critical to complete this second ammonia purge before
litter amendments are placed and before chicks arrive.
The most critical and efficient time to use fuel in a house is during the pre-heating process when the house is empty. When fuel supplies are tight, this is the first place that most growers are tempted to cut fuel use but it actually creates the most harm. While the house is being pre-heated, it’s only necessary to run enough fan time to prevent condensation in the warmest parts of the day. It is NOT necessary to run minimum ventilation during the pre-heat process.
Air quality at brooding is greatly impacted by pre-heating of built-up litter. Pre-heating is the main way to cure the litter and prepare it for the next flock. In flocks raised on built-up litter, adding heat to the litter initiates a large ammonia purge and this purge needs to be completed BEFORE bird placement. The increased contact time between the warm air and the floor is what completes the litter curing.