Showing posts with label Management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Management. Show all posts

Monday, December 28, 2015

Looking to the future by looking at our past...

'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.' 
George Santayana 
source: USDA




It has been quite a year.  I am reminded of the fact that many of our current trends of systems for producing eggs are directly tied to production systems developed prior to the First World War.  Many of the problems that we saw in those times are being experienced now by producers.  In order to feed nine billion people by the middle of the century, we will need to develop improvements in all poultry production systems to become more efficient.  Nutrition, genetics, housing, healthcare and flock management should all be reviewed and improved upon where needed in order to make the production of food as efficient as possible.  This will need to take some investment and some support by producers and consumers alike if we are to be successful.  Time will tell.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Keeping Warm Thoughts in Cold Weather

Taking Precautions When the Forecast is South of Freezing.



A reminder to all poultry and livestock caretakers and food processors to monitor building and other environmental spaces that would be sensitive to cold. 

  • Temporary windbreaks surrounding nursery areas should be considered if in high wind velocity area.  Smaller animals are more temperature sensitive.  Heat Lamps and other hanging heaters should be hung by a chain or cable to prevent falling into bedding.
  •  Water meters should be checked closely to spot broken or plugged (frozen) plumbing. 
  • Product refrigeration equipment needs to be checked to ensure continued operation even when exposed to outdoor conditions if product needs to be cooled. 
  •  Rod conveyors and other non-heated areas of egg farms should be cleared at the end of day to eliminate thermal checks. 
  • Diesel supplies on farm should also be checked for jelly formation, most especially backup generators and tractors.  
  • Heaters, clothing, hand warmers, and other safety equipment for workers should be considered in areas with frostbite exposure warnings
  •  Product holding areas should be monitored so that product awaiting processing is kept at optimal temperatures. 
  • For small flock enclosures partial wrapping with plastic film may help prevent wind from penetrating the coop.  Be sure adequate ventilation takes place after the wrap.  Loose hay and straw may help birds survive cold environments by burying themselves partially into the bedding. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Measuring Correctly

Getting the Correct Data the First Time!

Source:radwag.com
  
When taking measurements in the field it is always important to check the calibration of your equipment to make sure you are being accurate.  Scales, thermometers, and other equipment over time may stray out of acceptable limits of accuracy.  I see this often as folks weigh chickens on a dairy scale that they adjust to read zero.  What is more important?  What the scale reads when loaded or empty.  Keep a standard object to weigh to check your scales before walking into that house.  Any object that will neither loose nor gain weight will work.  Check your object at either at the post office or at the weights and measures office in your locality.  An ice water slurry will work for most thermometers that can be calibrated.  Also, just because the instrument is digital, doesn't always mean it is accurate.  Check the manufactures manual for more information on your instrument.
 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Pastured Poultry & Rotational Grazing

Photo: Peggy Sellers - Perdue Univ.
Pasture Quality & Condition is Important 

I had the chance to visit several pastured poultry farms this week and I was reminded of how this was done in the early 1920's.  Birds were routinely pastured to take advantage of sunlight (vit. D) and the natural grasses they ate.  What is so different between operations of today and yesteryear is that we tend to restrict our birds in one area as we graze.  This creates a host of problems as the grass becomes over-run by the birds and heavy loads of manure accumulate.

Rotational grazing should be just that.  Moving the birds frequently to keep grass in good condition and to help spread out manure loads in a field being grazed.  You should move birds before all the grasses they are bedding on become stomped down.  Supplemental feeding is also important at this time to make sure the birds are receiving all essential nutrients that they are not getting from the grasses they are feeding on.  Clover for example has a high protein content than most grass species.  Therefore the corn in a full feed poultry diet will help compensate and provide the energy component of the birds daily nutritional needs.

By rotation of the pasture, the sun can help sanitize the ground last occupied by the birds.  With frequent rotation, the pastures can recover more quickly and in turn provide more forage opportunities for the birds.  Your pasture after the move of the birds will tell how well you are doing on your pasture management program.