Top Performing Flocks Start with a 48+ Hour Pre-Heat

By July 30, 2019News, PLT

Failure to sufficiently pre-heat houses and floors prior to bird placement is one of the most common mistakes producers can make. A 48-hour pre-heat (longer for deeper litter packs) is necessary to effectively raise the core litter temperature to create a better ammonia purge and moisture evaporation–setting the stage for optimal performance.

The goal is to raise the core litter temperature; ambient temperature can be lower. Therefore, target temperature may need to be higher during pre-heating based on litter moisture, depth, microbial challenge, ammonia load, and management. It can then be reduced at placement for bird comfort.

Up to 50% of your litter amendment (regardless of amendment type) will be wasted prior to bird placement.Extends the life of your litter amendment once the ammonia purge has been ventilated.
High ammonia levels can reduce feed conversion, growth rate, and increase respiratory disease and paw lesions.Ammonia is purged and excess moisture is evaporated from previous flocks’ litter; air quality at placement is improved, risk of paw lesions is lowered, and health challenges are decreased.
Only litter surface temperature is raised; since birds cannot thermoregulate, they will huddle together to stay warm instead of eating.Core litter temperature rises, creating a more favorable environment for birds to eat and drink. Core litter is defined as all material more than two inches under the surface.
Water temperature will be lower and consumption will decrease as birds huddle to conserve body temperature.Water consumption has been shown to increase by 6% for every 1.8°F increase in air temperature between 68-89°F and by 5% for every 1.8°F increase in air temperature between 89-100°F.
Purge: When surface ammonia in the top 3-5 cm of litter is in a liquid state, known as ammonium hydroxide, it will convert to a gas at temperatures above 85°F and flux of during the pre-heat phase of the brood cycle and at move down form the off chamber.

Pre-Heat Checklist

Keep houses closed tight during downtime to retain as much core litter temperature as possible from
the last flock.
If condensation forms on walls or ceilings, use stir fans continuously or use negative minimal ventilation
to dry the house only during the day (between 10am-5pm), or when outside air mass is at its driest.
Cease ventilation when condensation is gone. Always use full ventilation when working in the house
during downtime.
Decake and remove wet areas from the surface of the litter immediately after the last flock moves out.
Do not disturb deep litter – DO NOT TILL. If you windrow, temperature testing is critical. If temperature
of 130°F is not maintained or reached, level the litter out. Temperatures lower than 130° F could
contribute to increased microbial populations.
Turn on brooders to reach a core floor temperature of 88-92°F for a minimum of 48 hours to purge
ammonia from the litter. Deeper, manure-based houses may require longer pre-heating to affect the
ammonia purge. Brooder temperature can be reduced to desired target temperature for birds just
prior to placement. Deeper, fluffier litter will have a greater ammonia flux.
If applying PLT® on built-up litter, open inlets fully and turn a minimum of 2 tunnel fans on until ammonia
gas is diluted and removed. Cold air is heavier than ammonia, allowing it to easily dilute and
remove ammonia. Once ammonia gas is exhausted, turn fans off and close inlets or sidewall curtains.
This prevents PLT® from being wasted on ammonia already released.
Apply PLT® on TOP OF THE LITTER EVENLY 2-24 hours prior to bird placement at the following rates*:
• Broiler litter 1 year old or less: 75-100 lbs./1,000 sq. ft. (37-49 kg/100 m2) of floor space
• Broiler litter older than 1 year: 100-150 lbs./1,000 sq. ft. (49-73 kg/100 m2) of floor space
• Windrowed or cleaned out litter: 150-200 lbs./1,000 sq. ft. (73-91 kg/100 m2) of floor space
Ventilate house to maintain a relative humidity (%) between 50% and 70% while birds are in the
brood chamber.
Take ammonia readings at bird level prior to placement using an ammonia gun. Use PLT® to neutralize
ammonia and eliminate bacteria. Ammonia accumulation in the
summer will result in increased ammonia challenges in fall and winter