Pest management methods that work for poultry houses | farm

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Winter weather with low relative humidity can assist in keeping poultry farms dry enough for fly control while maintaining productivity and good feed conversion.

With winter upon us, many farms are turning down power ventilation rates to help conserve housing heat for poultry and other animals.

This has competing ramifications, as higher house temperatures will help reduce feed consumption used to maintain bird body temperature. This heat budget during winter is reflected in feed efficiency and production of meat and eggs in a house.

At the same time, however, retained moisture and drying efficiency in the house is reduced due in part to lower exhaust rates of wet air from the house.

Birds release moisture both in their droppings as well as their breath. This could cause a secondary jump in common fly pests that would take advantage of wetter manure to breed into.

Integrated pest management, or IPM, is a systemic way of looking at pest management on the farm.

By adopting this process, a farm could quickly determine key times when intervention needs to take place to reduce pests while still balancing house temperatures.

Winter weather with low relative humidity can assist in keeping poultry egg and meat farms dry enough for fly control while maintaining productivity and good feed conversion.

When done properly, fly numbers can be kept below levels requiring control measures and reduce the need for higher order pest controls.

Key Steps of Integrated Pest Management

The key steps of IPM are:

• Scout to identify the pests and determine an approximate population level.

• Keep population records and implement pest controls when they reach a population action threshold.

• Review the effectiveness of pest control and revise pest control measures (up or down) as needed.

The pest control measures may be as simple as increasing air flow or turning/windrowing litter between flocks.

Elevated measures may include adding parasitic wasps for house fly control, or baits and sprays when needed and applicable.

By repeating the IPM process over time on a timely basis (weekly for most farms), controls can be implemented quickly before pest populations grow to a point where more expensive controls have to be implemented.

Cultural control methods such as manure drying to reduce fly breeding areas will in the long run be the cheapest approach to optimal farm fly control.

Every farm will have to make its IPM program work for optimal control. Scouting methods on one farm may be bacon cards that are examined every week. Some farms may find walking sampling with fly ribbons work best for them.

As long as scouting is taking place on an ongoing basis, fly control, especially during the winter, can be more attainable.

By adopting a farm IPM program by all workers, a better chance of success is possible.

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