Livestock Need Fresh Air

John Smith

Just because it is winter and cold outsid,e don't close up the livestock buildings. Good ventilation is important to animals as well as humans, all year around.

When the weather turns cold, the natural tendency is to shut the livestock buildings up to keep them warmer. This traps moisture, odors, and gases in the building. Fresh air in the building is important to the health of the animals and the people taking care of them.

Poor ventilation can cause poor animal response to growth and production due to respiratory problems. Odors, high humidity, and condensation of moisture on the walls are an indication of poor ventilation. Good ventilation in a livestock building will remove air-borne diseases, excess moisture, and gases.

Some ventilation tips from Dr. Mike Veenhuizen, Consultant, and Agricultural Engineer:

1. Don't completely close other vents and exhaust openings needed to bring in the proper amount of fresh air in wintertime. Fresh air is needed; drafts aren't.

2. You can cut drafts in long buildings by building partitions across the building from floor to ceiling every 50 feet to 75 feet.

3. Don't close windward air inlets; it will create negative air pressure in the building and draw snow and cold air down through ridge vents.

4. Use hovers - low hanging ceilings - or heat lamps over small animals. This is especially helpful in swine buildings where baby pigs need a much warmer environment than the sow.

5. Keep fan shutters and blades clean - dirty blades alone can cut your ventilation capacity as much as 40 % and add to the dust in the building.

6. Make sure thermostats and controls are calibrated to keep mild weather ventilation fans and heaters from running at the same time.

7. If the building has a manure storage pit under it, be absolutely sure that the pit is properly ventilated: Fumes backing up into the building can be deadly.