The beautiful weather that we are enjoying in Wisconsin during October doesn’t prevent MacFarlane Pheasants from preparing the barns for colder weather. Many chores are essential to safe and secure barns during the winter season.
One person can do all the necessary tasks, but typically two people go through the checklist. We train all employees how to operate the fans, heaters, and brooders, as they are the barns’ most critical equipment. The staff responsible for prepping the barns usually begins their work in early September. They want to be prepared ahead of time since it will decrease equipment failure and emergencies once the temperatures drop. Here are some of the main tasks we perform in the fall:
• Check Heaters to make sure they are cleaned and in working order. All heaters are blown out and cleaned thoroughly with compressed air. Any damaged parts are replaced and inventoried. We need to make sure there are parts available to quickly fix any heater problems in the cold weather.
• Thermostats are double-checked to make sure the temperature is set correctly. Rooms are temp-gunned to make sure the thermostats do not require adjustments.
• Check the fans and timers because all fans run off a set temperature to keep fresh, cool air moving through the barns in the warmer months. In the winter, it is usually too cold to make the thermostat kick in. We want the birds to get fresh air, so all rooms are equipped with a fan that has an automatic timer to signal the fan system to turn on and draw fresh air through the barn. The timers have to be checked because if the barn gets too little fan time, the air quality will suffer. Too much fan time causes the heaters to fight to maintain the appropriate temperatures. These issues would needlessly increase the cost of fuel and potentially stress our birds.
• Extra insulation in chick rooms is added when the temperature starts to get down to freezing at night. We add insulation around exterior doors and around the fans that are not in use. This task is done to efficiently maintain a constant temperature for the tiny chicks!
Any problems we run into with equipment, that we can’t troubleshoot and fix as a team, are sent to our excellent maintenance department. It is always a team effort at MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc.