Brian Davis is the manager at MacFarlane Pheasants’ Milton Farm. The farm has 40 acres under nets and three brooding barns. They raise more than 70,000 birds each year. When the last of the flocks are moved out of the barns in late fall/early winter, there are many maintenance steps to prepare the barns to be ready for healthy new chicks in March.
• Barns are drained of all water by blowing air through the lines. The lines are left open to be sure no water is left in the lines. This could cause expansion and freezing damage to the lines.
• Plasson bell waterers are removed and set aside.
• The feed system is broken down, raised, and set aside. The feed system is also cleaned to prevent moldy lines or mice damage.
• Heaters and brooders are blown out.
• Cablevey systems have dry sponges run through them to be sure they are perfectly clean. Corners are removed and vacuumed.
• Bedding is cleaned out, making sure drains are clear.
• Liquid cleaner is foamed onto the floor and allowed time to work on dirt and grime stuck to the floor.
• The barn is washed from floor to ceiling (Plasson bell waterers and feed system are washed and placed on the floor in the back of the barn.)
• The barn and equipment are left to dry because drying is one of the best and least costly forms of disinfecting.
• After drying, the equipment is reinstalled.
• Water lines are gone through to check for leaks.
• Brooders and heater are tested and serviced if needed. Thermocouples are replaced where needed so that everything works perfectly.
• All equipment is adjusted and ready to go for the next season, which begins in 2-3 months. Before we set up for the next season the barn gets another wash and a final disinfecting and drying out period. Then it is finally time to set up and be ready for chicks in March.
There are many maintenance steps after we move out the last of the birds in late fall/winter, but they are well worth our time. Clean and sanitized equipment and barns are how we protect our birds.