By Troy Cisewski - firstname.lastname@example.org
Left to Right: Troy Cisewski - Brooder Manager, Prescott Lawrence, Derrick Golz, Nicholas Dembicky and Jesse Holmgren, Assistant Brooder Manager.
At the end of each chick season I find myself sitting at my desk taking a deep breath and taking notes for the upcoming season. I look back at the previous season’s successes and failures and compile a list of new ideas that I want to implement with the hope of increasing efficiency and decreasing chick mortality.
With a crew of five starting over 300,000 chicks, efficiency is vital. Each member of the team has their own responsibilities. Three members start each morning doing barn chores. This includes walking each barn for dead, observing bird health, cleaning waters, feeding, making ventilation changes and record keeping. While these three are working with the chicks the remaining two members are performing other tasks such as cleaning out/washing/setting up barns, working in the partridge pens and so forth. As chores are finished members of the team either help with larger projects or start working on their daily to do list. At morning and lunch break I see how everyone is progressing with their lists and make adjustments as needed to ensure projects that need to completed that day are. At the end of the day I make a list of tasks for the next day assigning people to each. Then before the start of each day I go over each person’s tasks with them answering any questions that may arise.
From early March till the end of August, chick season is a continual cycle of cleaning out barns, washing barns, setting up barns and moving out birds. Equipment breaks down; supplies run out and before you know it there are not enough hours in the day to get all the work done. As production barns become empty at the end of the season we thoroughly go through each barn making needed repairs that couldn’t be done during production.
Preventative maintenance is a must. We test each barns ventilation system prior to chicks arriving. All heaters are taken down, inspected then cleaned out. Fan belts are all replaced and our feed systems are inspected by a hired professional. During the season we clean the corners of the feed systems out between every flock; all brooders are taken apart and blown out. As breakdowns occur, we repair immediately to prevent a small repair from turning into something that could possibly shut production down.
On the same lines of preventative maintenance, having an inventory of parts and supplies will save you time and headaches as the season progresses. This season I began ordering supplies to carry me through the year. On a weekly basis I inventory all products and if we are starting to run low I have time to place an order before I absolutely need them.
Planning and preparation is the start to effective brooder management. Knowing your staffs strengths and weaknesses will help when organizing your day to day tasks. And above all, communication amongst your staff. A staff that communicates well works well together