Poultry Equipment and Chicken Houses Poultry Houses and chicken equipment

March 22, 2009

How to properly maintain poultry house systems.

We receive questions all the time regarding poultry equipment. Farmers complaining that systems are not right… or equipment not functioning properly.

If your house and equipment are not maintained properly it can cause all sorts of problems – small glitches turn into major down time, resulting in mortalities, slow growth and expensive repairs. Not the type of thing any poultry farmer wants. You should have a budget for your repairs and maintenance – it should be reflected in your poultry cash flow forecasts.

I have made a list of  suggestions to help avoid these problems…… if you need any help you can email me on info@chickenshack.co.za We’ll be glad to help.


Daily – To be done before switching on feeding system Alignment – Troughs, corners and drives units

1.Check alignment of troughs

All the troughs should be lined up in a single straight line. Stand at the beginning of the line and ensure that there are no kinks or bends. Get down on your hands and knees at the height of the trough line and look down the line – the troughs should be the same height along the length. 2. Corners Troughs should enter the corner in a straight line. All corners must form perfect right angles. 3. Check that all couplers are secure and have no bends or kinks. Trough clearing and Cock excluders

1. Walk down the length of every trough and look for debris. Especially look for stones that have been thrown up by the birds. If a stone is dragged into a corner or drive unit the chain will break and your corner unit or drive unit will be damaged.

2. Check that the cock excluders are secure and firm. If the chain hooks a cock excluder, the chain will break.

3. Check for stone and debris.

4. Remember to close the clean out trough cover after cleaning the track

5. Look for birds stuck in the trough and at the corners, bins and drive units. Chain Tension

1. Check the tension of the chain in the middle of each line unit. The chain should not pull higher than the top of the trough – using almost full strength. If it is higher – remove links. If it lower – add links.

2. Check the chain tension on either side of every drive unit – the tension should be the same.

1. Check for stones and debris. Drive Unit Maintenance

1. Tighten all nuts using a number 4 Allen key.

2. Ensure the sprocket is straight and tight.

3. Make sure that the shear pin clamp is NOT TO TIGHT. This clamp sits over the shear pins, the shear pin sprocket and the shear pin collar. The clamp must not be so tight that it grips the collar and the sprocket that they cannot move independently. This is a common problem causing chains to break often. The clamp is only there to hold the shear pins in place. IF IT IS TOO TIGHT THE SHEAR PINS WILL NOT SHEAR AND THE CHAIN WILL BREAK INSTEAD.

4. Use only 2 or 3 shear pins. 4 is usually too many.

5. Check for stones and debris. 6. Check teeth on sprocket for wear.

7. Wipe down the drive unit with Q20 oil and grease regularly. Remove any rust.


1. Check all nuts and tighten if needed using a number 19 spanner.

2. Check and tighten shaft assembly. (nut on underside of corner)

3. Check wheel and ensure it is parallel to the bottom of the corner unit

4. Check for stones and debris. 5. Check that the trough enters the corners in a straight lie.

6. Check that the troughs are at perfect right angles. Bins

1. Check that the feed slide adjustment is correct – SLIDE MUST NOT TOUCH CHAIN.

2. Check that hopper bin height is the same as the trough height.

3. Check for debris and stones.

Drinking System

1. Always check that the drinkers are not leaking at any of the joints.

2. Wash the drinkers at least three times a week.

3. Always make sure that the drinker heights are set correctly to match the bird height.

4. Ensure that the ballast is always filled with clean water.

5. Be aware that there is two shut-off valves for each drinker.

6. When doing maintenance on drinkers ensure that water supply is switched off. 7. Make sure all the drinker water levels are set correctly as per your standards.

Curtain and winching systems

1. DO NOT ALLOW CURTAINS TO DROP WITHOUT CONTROL. Wind the curtain down slowly whilst looking at the curtain for potential problems and hooks.

2. When winding the curtain up the operator should be looking at the curtain for potential problems and hooks. Do not force the winch if you hit an obstacle.

3. Keep the winch and main pulleys well greased.

4. Check the small pulleys for wear and damage.

Cross auger and tip scale

1. Calibrate scale at least once a week.

2. Always ensure that the feed is free of all obstacles.

3. Do not run the cross auger with out feed, it causes unnecessary wear and tear.

4. Always check that the shut-offs are closed or opened in the correct houses.

5. If the cross auger is making an unfamiliar noise switch it off ASAP.

6. Never leave the auger unattended while running.

7. Do regular spot checks on the power head to ensure that there is no unnecessary wear and tear.

8. Always check that the correct shut off gate on the silo is opened before transferring feed.


1. Bushes.

2. Bearings.

3. Wear plates.

4. Corners rails.

5. Drive unit power shoes.

6. V belts on Auger power head.

7. Apply grease to the grease nipple at least once a month

8. Check teeth on all sprockets – 13 tooth, 15 tooth, 30 tooth.

9. Pulleys. 10 . Winches. Warning Signals 1. Unusual Sounds. 2. Loud sounds.

3. Troughs pulling out of line.

4. Unusual vibrations or excessive vibrations.

Preferred Method for switching system on:

These processes are for large, automatic chain feeding systems and not for small home chicken coops at home.

Hands up method You will need 5 people to switch your system on. (2 people if they are well trained and experienced) Station one man at each corner of the house (observers). One man at the DB board (operator) – with his hand on the kill switch. Each man should know the signal for each line:- One arm up – line 1 Two arms up – line 2 Arms outstretched to side – line 3 All observers start with arms down. System is started by operator. If a problem is seen the observer immediately gives the signal relating to the the line and the operator switches that line off. A smooth running system requires daily maintenance. A small problem not attended to immediately can cause a major problem very quickly. This will result in down time at critical stages and in turn result in bird disruption and expensive, and time consuming repairs. Chicken Shack Agencies www.chickenshack.co.za email us:info@chickenshack.co.za 012 669 9908 Technorati Profile Add to Technorati Favorites

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