FARMSTEAD category archive

Winter Ventilation for Homestead Livestock Buildings 0

Most small-scale producers utilize natural ventilation during warm weather. As the weather cools, regulating the environment inside livestock and poultry buildings becomes more difficult with manually operated vent doors. Adding small ventilation fan(s) simplifies the task of maintaining a healthy environment for the animals.


The first step is to determine the minimum and mild winter rates for the amount of the animals housed. Table 1 displays a chart with recommended ventilation rates taken from an older university manual.



Minimum rates are the recommended ventilation in cfm (cubic feet per minute) needed to control moisture and prevent condensation from forming on interior surfaces. The additional mild winter airflow stops rising temperatures inside the building as the outside temperature increases.


For our example, we’ll use a 24′ x 30′ farrowing house with ten crates.


10 sows/litters x 20 cfm = 200 cfm   minimum rate

10 sows/litters x 80 cfm = 800 cfm   mild winter rate


As a fan operates, it creates a static pressure difference between the inside and outside of the building measured in water column inches. Pick an exhausted fan for this application according to its stated cfm deliveries at .05″ static pressure. (See Farmstead Fans)





From the list of fans shown in Table 2, the 12″ fan is rated at 880 cfms.   This cfm rating matches up closely with the mild winter rate in our example.   We have two options that will enable us to reduce the cfm delivery down to the minimum rate of 200 cfm.


We can use an inexpensive variable speed controller to slow the speed of the fan. (see #NE105F) But be aware that a reduction in fan speed does not directly mean the same reduction in cfms. In other words, reducing the fan speed by 50% does not reduce air delivery by 50%.   Turning a fan down too slow can also cause the motor to overheat.


A more accurate method of reducing the amount of air exhausted is using a cycle timer. (see HST001) In the example above we would set the on cycle for one minute and off cycle for four minutes.


20 cfm x 10 sows = 200 cfm

200 cfm/ 880 fan cfm = 0.227 x 300 sec (Total Cycle Time) = 68 sec ON or 1 minute


The additional advantage of using a timer is it allows more flexibility for changing animal density. For instance, if our example farrowing barn was half full we could reduce the on cycle to one minute. If we chose to wean the pigs in the crates and leave them there until they weigh 40 lbs., we would be able to increase the on time to two minutes.


120 pigs x 3 cfm = 360 cfms

360 cfm / 880 cfm = 0.409 x 300 sec (Total Timer Cycle ) = 123 sec ON or 2 minutes



Either the speed control or timer can be wired in parallel with a single stage thermostat to override the low setting. As the temperature rises inside the building, the thermostat takes over and runs the fan at full speed. If the inside temperature goes down with the fan running on high the thermostat drops out, and timer takes over, and the building returns to minimum ventilation.


Operating the minimum ventilation during cold weather will mean adding supplemental heat to maintain a comfortable temperature for the animals. Turning the fan down to prevent the heater from running will create damp, smelly air inside the barn.   Table 3 lists the likely supplemental heat requirements per animal. These rates assume adequate insulation in the walls and ceiling and minimum air leaks.




Using our example barn again


20 sows/litters x 3000 Btu = 60,000 Btu heater


120 nursery pigs x 350 = 42,000 Btu heater.


Also, you will need to provide air intakes matched to the total ventilation capacity of the fans. A simple gravity activated sidewall inlet (see #HSI200) is the best choice for most situations. Inexpensive and easy to install, this simple plastic inlet automatically opens allowing airflow when the fan(s) operate. When the timer shuts the fan off, the plastic louver closes.


Inlets installed in an outside wall require a weather hood to protect against strong winds forcing the louver open.   See Weather Hood diagram below. Inlets are typically located opposite the fan(s) to pull air across the building.



Each inlet is rated at 430 cfm. To determine the number of inlets needed divide the total cfm by 430. Using our example


880 cfm/ 430 = 2.04 or 2 inlets needed.


We provided this short article as a guide to adding wintertime ventilation to an existing building. Your individual building will vary by location, the condition of the structure and other factors. For a detailed calculation of the ventilation equipment needed for particular building, please contact us at web.info@hogslat.com.


Farmstead Nests Featured in Martha Stewart Blog 0

Martha Stewart recently installed new Farmstead nests on her farm near Bedford, New York.   The farm houses over 100 chickens in four individual coops.  Here’s a short excerpt from the article:


I love knowing my hens are provided with clean, comfortable nests. Rolled metal edges prevent injury to the birds and easy to remove metal bottoms make it simple to keep the nests clean.


Read more about the project by clicking through to the blog: Martha…up close and personal.


Martha Stewart Farm


For ordering information go to Farmstead Nests



FARMSTEAD Chickens Growing Appetite 0

The FARMSTEAD broiler flock has a growing appetite! Feed is always available for them, but when they are really hungry they all want to be at the feeder together. The 30 pound hanging poultry feeder provides plenty of space and the needed capacity to keep multiple days worth of feed available to a smaller flock or meet the feeding needs of a larger flock without having to refill as often. The design of the hanging feeder allows 3 different adjustments to control the amount of feed that flows into the pan which helps reduce wasted feed that might be pushed out of the pan if the level was too high. We started the birds as chicks using the 15 pound hanging poultry feeder, which is the same design but does not feature an adjustable feed flow rate.

30 pound hanging feeder pan

As you can see in the video above, the feeder is hanging from the chicken tractor’s roof frame which serves multiple beneficial purposes. First, when the feeder is hanging as opposed to sitting on the ground, it discourages the birds from trying to scratch the feed and also makes the red edge of the feed pan an unstable platform which discourages the birds from trying to perch or roost on the feeder. Next, when the feeder is hanging you can move the coop without having to pull the feeder out first. Lastly, when the feeder is off the ground it makes it more difficult for ants or other bugs to get into the feed.

Both models of the plastic hanging feeder are easy to clean when they become dirty or after you’ve finished raising your flock. Simply brush loose any solid debris from the feeder, soak in a tub of water and cleaning solution for 10 minutes, wipe down the interior and exterior of the feeder and then rinse clean. Hang the feeder out to dry or wipe down with paper towels and you’ll be ready to refill with feed or store until you need to feed your next flock.


Browse our full selection of FARMSTEAD Equipment to help you raise your poultry at www.hogslat.com/farmstead-equipment.


FARMSTEAD Chickens Move Outdoors 0

The FARMSTEAD broiler flock has moved outdoors! Their new home is a custom designed and built mobile “chicken-tractor” coop that is pulled forward one length each day onto fresh grass. This means there is no cleaning the coop floor and fresh grass and bugs to eat every morning. The birds took right to their new surroundings and were eating grass and foraging for bugs within minutes. The flock is now 4 weeks old and feathered enough to stay outdoors full time.

Chickens in Outdoor Tractor_Inside


The coop is built from treated lumber, 29 gauge painted metal and 3′ wide plastic coated metal poultry wire.  Although heavy enough to resist wind and predators, the coop can easily be pulled forward by a single person.


Outdoor Chicken Tractor


Equipped with one 3 nipple drinking bucket and a 30 pound hanging chicken feeder, the coop is plenty big enough for our 13 broiler chickens and has the capacity for around 30-35 grown birds. The feeder and water bucket are easily attached and removed for refilling or cleaning with 1/4″ Zinc Snap Hooks and a short length of stainless steel #1 bowtye chain.


Chickens in Outdoor Tractor_Front


For all your backyard poultry and hog equipment needs, be sure to check out the FARMSTEAD Equipment line at www.hogslat.com/farmstead-equipment.



Clean Chicken Water Bucket and Dry Shavings 0

The FARMSTEAD chickens are doing great and growing quickly! Through weeks 2 and 3 they have started growing feathers and losing their fuzz. The easily adjustable legs on the Comfort Heating Plate for Chicks have been raised twice now to accommodate their growth and keep the heating plate at the optimum height for our birds. They are easily able to walk underneath the heating plate or lay on the edges to fine tune their comfort levels.


Chicks next to heating plate


In case you are trying to decide if the Clear Cover for the Comfort Heating Plate is worth purchasing, the answer is “absolutely.” Chickens have a natural urge to roost and desire to perch on an elevated surface. As your chicks become tall enough to see the top of the plate they cannot help but want to get up there. The slanted design of the heating plate cover prevents birds from perching on the plate and piling it with droppings. The small “streaks” from their tail ends sliding down the cover will be much easier to clean after the brooding process than an entire plate covered in poop!


Comfort Heating Plate for Chicks Cover
Our chicken drinking bucket with 3 nipples has been a huge hit and we know exactly why! When you compare the features and functions of our bucket to most other poultry drinking systems, you will quickly find that the drinking bucket keeps fresh, clean water available for your birds without requiring much work at all from you. In addition, when kept at the proper height for your birds, very little, if any, water makes it to the floor of your coop or brooder.


3 Nipple Bucket and Dry Litter


Other poultry watering systems can leak, get filthy or be knocked over very easily by your chickens or other poultry. The drinking bucket hangs out of the way and uses commercial grade poultry nipples to provide a consistent flow of water to your birds when they want it. This keeps your litter or shavings dry and helps your birds stay cleaner and healthier. As you can see in this photo, dry litter absorbs moisture and odors from the chicken droppings. Cleaner, drier litter also helps keep birds feet healthier and minimizes the occurrence of problems associated with wet litter.

“It just does what it is supposed to. That bucket is way better than what I was using before!” 

We received a photo from a happy customer who purchased the poultry drinking bucket with 3 nipples to put in his outdoor brooder. He is currently brooding a small group of mallard ducklings and a special wood duck duckling, which he rescued from the side of the road after seeing the rest of its flock get hit by a car while crossing a busy road. “If you’ve ever raised ducks before then you will agree they are much messier than chickens! The watering jars and founts I was using wouldn’t last more than a few minutes before the ducks had knocked them over or made a mess in them,” he said. “Ever since I installed the bucket I can fill it up and it will last 2 or 3 days. I don’t have to worry about whether my birds have water when I am gone during the day.”


If you’re currently brooding chicks, getting chickens soon, or just need a better, cleaner way to keep fresh water available for your birds, visit the FARMSTEAD Equipment section at http://www.hogslat.com/farmstead-equipment and purchase yours today!


CBP Outdoor Brooder Setup