FARMSTEAD category archive
The use of bait stations improves the effectiveness of any rodent control program. Stations protect baits from rain and dirt, helping the rodenticides stay fresh and potent longer while providing security against access from children and pets. Bait stations also provide an environment where rats and mice feel secure when feeding on baits.
Rodents are creatures of habit and travel along established paths between their nests and food supply. They will not go out of their way to visit bait stations outside their normal traffic areas. Look for signs of rodent activity such as droppings, tracks and gnawing to locate pathways. Place mouse stations 10-13 feet apart as mice seldom venture more than 50 feet from their nests. Rats range much farther afield allowing station placement to be between 25 and 50 feet apart.
Do not use mouse stations when rats are present as the bigger rodents will gnaw through the thinner plastic and expose the baits. Consider using white colored bait stations for those locations on the south exposure of buildings. The interior temperature of black colored stations can increase by as much as 30° which may melt some bait formulations.
Securely fasten stations to walls or floors to prevent them from being moved out of the traffic pathway. Use tent stakes to anchor bait stations to the ground for exterior placement. T-style stations are very versatile in their applications. Nylon ties are used to fasten them to gate rails, rafters, and even feed pipes.
Check bait stations on a monthly basis as part of the routine barn maintenance program adding fresh bait as needed. Rodents will often refuse to eat spoiled or stale bait. Observe the condition of the stations themselves as plastic can become brittle, especially the lid hinge. Stations with rotating hinges will outlast models with thin bendable strips of plastic called living hinges. During periods of heavy infestation, it may be necessary to check daily to ensure an adequate supply of bait. Stations are available with clear lids to allow a visual check of bait levels without opening the lid.
It is important to be patient when dealing with rat infestations. Rats are suspicious of new objects in their territory, and it may be several weeks before they use a new bait station. Leave stations in place even after a heavy infestation is under control. Rats are more likely to enter bait stations that have become part of the “terrain” when baiting occurs in following seasons.
Go to bait stations for pricing and ordering information.
Providing your flock with proper nesting boxes ensures they have a comfortable, secure place to lay their eggs. Without nests, the hens will seek locations on their own, making egg collection more difficult.
Allow one nest box per 4 – 5 hens. It is not necessary or even desirable to provide additional nest boxes. Besides the initial cost, extra nests require more bedding material, encourage chickens to roost in the empty slots, and take more time to clean.
Install the nests at least 18″ to 20″ above the floor preferably on a wall away from the roosting area. Because chickens like to roost in the highest part of the house, do not place the nests higher that the roosting perches. If possible try not to place the nests above feed and water to prevent contamination from nesting material and droppings.
The nests should be designed with 45° sloped roof to prevent the hens from roosting on top.
Provide a perch just below the opening for the birds to land on before entering. Nests with foldable perches allow the nest to be shut off at night to prevent roosting. Simply fold them up at night to restrict access and in the morning lower the perches for the chickens to use.
Nests will become dirty from broken eggs, bedding material or droppings and will need occasional cleaning. Choosing nests constructed from metal or plastic with removable bottoms makes the job much easier.
Flock owners can also replace straw or wood chip bedding with plastic nesting pads that are simple to pull out for cleaning.
To see all the Farmstead nests go to Farmstead Nest
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
For ordering information go to Farmstead Nests
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.
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.