William Owens, Whitmire, Johnnie G. | 5/23/2007 1:14:53 AM
The new poultry demonstration houses at the Hill Farm Research Station near Homer are in operation and the first flock of chickens has reached the target weight and has been processed by House of Raeford. Raeford’s goal for this flock was a 9 lb bird in 8 weeks. The flock reached that goal 3 days early with an average bird weight of 8.93 lbs and a feed conversion of 2.04. The total number of birds processed from the two houses was 40,961.
The poultry demonstration houses at the Hill Farm will provide information to growers on equipment, techniques and management procedures to help maximize their profits. The initial flock was a “test” flock for the Hill Farm to be sure all equipment was properly installed and to train new personnel. The new houses performed well, with the extreme heat of August and September providing a good test of the tunnel ventilation, cool cells and the solid wall design. During the nine week growing period the Hill Farm recorded nine days over 100 degrees F. In addition to testing the equipment and training personnel, data on the microbial flora of the chickens and the houses were collected. Beginning with chicks from the first day, samples were collected every two weeks to determine the microbial flora present in chickens and litter. This will allow scientists at the Hill Farm to monitor the flocks at these houses for bacteria important to poultry and human health.
Future flocks will compare standard radiant brood heat and tube heat. Variables to be evaluated will be feed conversion rates, energy consumption, chick growth, and humidity and ammonia levels.
Data collected from the Hill Farm houses will be made available to producers via a variety of AgCenter publications and meetings including newsletters, field days and other extension programs and publications.
A Poultry House Steering Committee is charged with identifying broiler house management and equipment issues for which demonstration information needs to be collected and disseminated for the benefit of the Louisiana broiler industry.
The committee is chaired by Dr. Mike Barrington, state veterinarian with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Other members of the committee represent the House of Raeford, Pilgrim’s Pride, Louisiana poultry growers, a representative from the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation Poultry Advisory Committee and the LSU AgCenter faculty.
The committee made the decision of what type of houses would be constructed and what type of equipment would be used in them and will work to determine the type of demonstration work that is done with the houses.
Benoit Holloway Jr. of Peck Construction Co. of Marion donated the site preparation while local financial institutions include Peoples State Bank of Many, Louisiana AgCredit of Arcadia, First Guaranty Bank of Homer, Louisiana Federal Land Bank, Peck Construction Co. and Gibsland Bank and Trust Co. provided financial support to the project.
Companies that contributed equipment for the facility include Georgia Poultry, Cumberland Poultry Systems division of GSI, Hired Hand, American Manufacturing and Textiles (AMT), Southwestern Curtains, Latco Equipment, O’Neal Gas and Industrial Generators of Athens, La.