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MINIMUM VENTILATION FOR REARING TURKEYS

DEFINITION

The ventilation of the turkey house has several important functions essential
for the welfare and performance of the turkeys:
1. To control house temperature.
2. To supply the birds with oxygen.
3. To remove pollutants, i.e. carbon dioxide, ammonia, dust and carbon
monoxide.
4. To maintain litter quality through the removal of moisture.

In a fan-ventilated house, the ventilation rate will vary between a minimum


and a maximum setting to control the temperature (Figure 1).

The minimum ventilation setting is the lowest ventilation required to ensure


that the birds have enough oxygen, pollutants are removed and litter quality
maintained and is the subject of this Technical Advice Sheet.

The fans used to provide minimum ventilation are often called manual,
hand or stage 1 fans and these will run continuously ensuring that good air
quality is maintained. In contrast to these manual fans, other fans are usually
installed to help maintain the target temperature and operate automatically to
control an increase in house temperature.

Figure 1 - Relationship Between Minimum & Maximum House Ventilation


Ventilation rate m3/h
Maximum
Ventilation can only
keep house temperature
at external temperature
plus 3 to 5 OC
(depending on insulation
value of the house)

Ventilation to maintain
air quality only.
If supplementary
heating is not provided,
house temperature will
fall below the target
temperature set

Minimum

Ventilation rate
adjusts as
temperature
changes

Cooling aids may be


necessary as
temperature increases

External Temperature OC
Minimum ventilation is provided by the manual only, whilst
Maximum ventilation is provided by all fans in the house

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TAS Issue 15/05/2005 MINIMUM VENTILATION FOR REARING TURKEYS

Head Office
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Chowley Oak
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Tattenhall
Cheshire
CH3 9GA
United Kingdom
Telephone
+44 (0)1829
772020
Fax
+44 (0)1829
772059
E-mail
But.uk@
aviagen.com
Website
www.but.co.uk

OBJECTIVES

To ventilate turkey houses to maintain air quality within suggested limits, see
Table 1 below:

Table 1. Ventilation
Supply / Remove
Supply
Remove
Remove

objectives
Component
Oxygen
Carbon monoxide
Water Vapour

Remove
Remove
Remove
Remove
Remove

Carbon dioxide
Ammonia
Dust
Airbourne diseases
Heat

Acceptable Levels
19 to 21 %
Effectively 0 ppm
Poults 65 70% RH*
Older birds < 70% RH*
< 0.1 %
< 20 ppm**
< 5 mg/m3
Minimal
To a set temperature
target

* RH - relative humidity
**Note: Check local regulations for guidance on permitted Ammonia levels

To maintain good air quality and the correct use of supplementary heat (see
Technical Advice Sheet Controlling Litter Moisture Linking Fans to Heatersa),
to maintain good litter conditions and healthy birds.

To calculate the correct level of minimum ventilation for a given turkey flock
taking into account its age.

To provide the calculated minimum ventilation by means of manually


controlled fans, i.e., fans that are totally independent of any temperature
control system.

To provide targets for acceptable air quality in naturally ventilated houses.

PROCEDURE
Methods Used For Calculating Minimum Ventilation

The primary factor in most practical situations that determines the minimum
ventilation required is the moisture content of the air. For every one kg of
food consumed by the birds they will drink approximately two kg of water. A
flock of 1,000 commercial males at 20 weeks of age will produce between 1.2
and 1.4 tonnes of water per day depending on the strain. Most of this water
ends up in either the litter or the poultry house air.

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This water is removed from the house by the ventilation system, replacing the
moist house air with dry air from the outside. The effectiveness of this process
is determined by the relative humidity (RH) of the incoming air and house
temperature. When the incoming air is saturated (i.e. RH = 100%) heat must be
used in order to condition the air to increase its water holding capacity and
enable it to remove excess moisture. This topic is dealt with in Technical
Advice Sheet, Controlling Litter Moisture Linking Fans to Heatersa.

The actual volume of fresh air required to provide sufficient oxygen for turkeys
and to remove carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ammonia, dust particles and
pathogens etc., to provide an acceptable environment is usually much smaller
than the volume of air needed to control moisture content. Therefore, these
other parameters are controlled by default in most situations by managing the
air moisture content within the turkey house.

However, in hot countries with low ambient relative humidity or when


managing older turkeys such as replacement breeder females, care should
taken because excess dust may be the pollutant that determines the rate of
minimum ventilation.

In some conditions, care needs to be taken to ensure ammonia concentrations


in the air are below the accepted maximum. This applies especially if
mechanical turning of the litter is practiced or diets with excess concentrations
of protein are accidentally fed.

There are three widely practiced methods for calculation of the minimum
ventilation requirement:
1. An equation based on metabolic bodyweight:
2.
Ventilation requirement (m3/s) = 1.95 x 10-4 m3/s/kg weight0.75

3. A simple factor based on feed intake known as Metres cubed per Second
per Tonne of feed eaten per Day, or MSTD.
This preferred method uses feed intake (predicted or measured) as an
indicator of water use and as a basis to calculate minimum ventilation
requirements to control moisture. In most climates, a MSTD of 2 is sufficient
to keep turkeys alive, but in practice a MSTD value of 3 will help to keep
litter dry and birds healthy, providing that there is sufficient supplementary
heat, i.e. brooders, to maintain the internal temperature target.
1. A variation on method 2 based on linking the minimum ventilation rate
to measured daily water input to the house, however, it is not
commonly used and is therefore not discussed in detail within this
Technical Advice Sheet.

The relationship between these two methods of calculation can be seen in


Figure 2. The ventilation requirement will vary with the feed intake method
according to the type of diet fed (e.g. energy level will affect feed intake) and
the chosen MSTD factor, whilst the body weight method will provide a
consistent result.

However, the body weight equation can be difficult to calculate correctly or


explain on farm and the concept of metabolic body weight is not easily
understood. Using the MSTD is far simpler to remember and is often the
preferred method on farm.

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Using a feed intake method is also more dynamic because the minimum
ventilation rate can be adjusted to suit a real life situation, for example a
disease challenge when the birds stop eating and heat production in the house
decreases. In this scenario the body weight method does not reflect daily
variations in ventilation requirement and is too inflexible.

Another advantage of using the feed intake method is that by adjusting the
MSTD factor it is possible to ensure that water removal is properly taken into
account. In practice an MSTD factor of 3 is recommended but successful
management of minimum ventilation will focus on identifying the most
appropriate MSTD factor for specific farms and seasons.

The calculation of minimum ventilation rate using measured water use (method
3) is often used for broiler chicken ventilation. It is satisfactory if water use is
measured and recorded accurately and is beneficial if other sources of water in
the house such as spillage from drinkers are a particular problem. This water
adds to the total house water load produced by the birds and needs to be
removed. In many practical situations water intake is not measured accurately
or is too variable from day to day to enable practical control of minimum
ventilation. However, daily measurement of water intake is considered good
practice, as sudden drops in water intake can be a good early indicator of a
disease challenge.

Calculating the Minimum Ventilation Requirement

Before any of the above methods can be used to


calculate minimum ventilation requirement, it is
important that the volume of air moved by one fan is
determined by measuring its capacity in the turkey
house. This is done using a hand held vane anemometer
and preferably a model that integrates a number of
readings. See Technical Advice Sheet on this Measuring
Ventilationb. It is essential for the correct calculation of
both minimum and maximum ventilation that a fan
capacity measurement (in m3/s) is made for each
individual turkey house.

For minimum ventilation, it is also important that the fan(s) measured are
those actually used to provide the minimum ventilation.

The procedure for calculation of minimum ventilation using the MSTD method is
shown in Example 1 to calculate minimum ventilation rates for a house of 8week-old turkeys. In this example, predicted feed intake data have been used
(BUT T8 Performance goals, edition 5, 2002 - feed programme B). It is
recommended that actual feed intake data be used where available, as this will
more accurately reflect the type of diet being used and the influence of
ambient temperature.

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Example 1
Minimum Ventilation required for a house containing
6,300 females & 6,300 males 8 week old BUT T8.
Females
No of animals
Feed Intake per bird (kg/day)
Flock feed intake (tonne/day) (No.
birds x intake per bird/1000)
MSTD (m3/s/tonne/day)
Minimum ventilation rate required
(m3/s) (MSTD x flock feed intake)
Fan Capacity (m3/s)
Total No. fans needed (Minimum
ventilation required / Fan capacity)

Males

6,300
0.217
0.217 x 6300 /1000 =
1.3671

6,300
0.269
0.269 x 6300 /1000 =
1.6947

3 x 1.3671 = 4.1013

3 x 1.6947 = 5.0841

2.8

2.8

4.1013 / 2.8 = 1.465

5.0841 / 2.8 = 1.816

Total fans required for house =

1.465 + 1.816 = 3.28

(Equivalent to a ventilation rate of 3.28 x 2.8 x 60 x 60 = 33,062 m3/hour)

The result of this calculation will usually yield a part fan, e.g. 3.28 fans. In this situation
the part fan is either rounded up or down to the nearest whole fan using the following rule:
In summer round up at or above 0.4 of a fan, i.e. 3.3 = 3 fans and 3.4 = 4 fans
In winter round up at or above 0.7 of a fan, i.e. 3.6 = 3 fans and 3.7 = 4 fans

This rule applies for fans which have a capacity of less than 3.5 m3/s. For fans with a
capacity greater than 3.5 m3/s see Example 2 below.

By using this rule, the risk of chilling birds by over ventilating or using unnecessarily extra
heating in winter is minimised. As the risk of this chilling in summer is low, it is
recommended to use this rule to provide extra ventilation.

Some sophisticated ventilation control systems can be adjusted to provide the exact amount
of ventilation required by precisely adjusting fan speed or the time fans operate. Using
these controls to provide the required minimum ventilation should only be considered if the
operator is competent in adjusting the controls. If in doubt it is better to manually ensure
the required number of fans operate continuously.

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A predicted requirement for less than one fan creates a specific problem where rounding
up to one whole fan running continuously may pose serious risks to maintaining house
temperature. This problem is most likely to occur when brooding day old poults and is
usually addressed by either operating one or more fans at reduced speed or by using a
cycle timer linked to one manually controlled fan. Therefore, if 0.25 of a fan is required
this can be achieved by running one fan for 1.25 out of every 5.0 minutes (i.e. 3.75
minutes off).

Operating fans at reduced speed presents specific problems because it assumes that the
relationship between fan performance and fan speed is known. This relationship is rarely
measured in practice and is affected by many factors such as fan design, external wind
speed, light baffle design and fan bell-mouth design. Unless the fan control system can
allow for these factors, it is recommended that the cycle timer system is used.

In tunnel and transitional ventilation systems large capacity fans are most often fitted,
e.g. 900mm diameter belt driven fans with an air movement value of around 5.5m3/s
(19,8005m3/hr). With these systems speed control is frequently used to provide the level
of minimum ventilation requirement as shown in Example 2.

Example 2
In this example, predicted feed intake data has been used as follows - BUT Big 6
Performance goals, edition 5, 2002 - feed programme A.
Minimum Ventilation required for a house containing
4,500 females & 4,500 males 8 week BUT B6
Females
Males
No of animals
Feed Intake per bird (kg/day)
Flock feed intake (tonne/day) (No.
birds x intake per bird/1000)
MSTD (m3/s/tonne/day)
Minimum ventilation rate required
(m3/s) (MSTD x flock feed intake)
Fan Capacity (m3/s)
Total No. fans needed (Minimum
ventilation required / Fan capacity)

4,500
0.234
0.234 x 4500 / 1000 =
1.053

4,500
0.290
0.290 x 4500 /1000 =
1.305

3 x 1.053 = 3.159

3 x 1.305 = 3.915

5.5

5.5

3.159 / 5.5 = 0.574

3.915 / 5.5 = 0.712

Total fans required for house =

0.574+0.712 = 1.286

With large fans it is more usual to run two fans at reduced speed rather than to round
the fan number up or down as in Example 1 where smaller fans are used. Thus in this
example, 1.286 fans equates to 2 fans running at a reduced speed of 64% of maximum.

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A number of points need to be taken into account when large fans only are used
to provide minimum ventilation:
The relationship between the speed that fan runs at and the amount of air
moved needs to be determined as this is not linear and will vary depending
on each installation. It is often the case that these fans do no perform well
at low speed.
Caution should be exercised when large capacity fans are running at high
speed as they can create raised local air speeds that can adversely affect
poult behaviour.
In some systems small capacity fans are often installed to provide minimum
ventilation as they provide better control.

Minimum ventilation should be recalculated each week to take into account the
growth / increase feed consumption of the birds. It should also be recalculated
when bird numbers change due to mortality, birds being removed or birds being
added.

It should be noted that all non operating fans should be fitted with effective
back draught shutters as this will prevent these fans acting as inlets and also
prevent the ingress of unwanted light.

Related Technical Advice Sheets:


a.

Controlling Litter Moisture Linking Fans to Heaters


b. Measuring Ventilation

Further reading:
1. Charles D. & Walker A. Poultry Environment Problems A guide to
solutions. Nottingham University Press 2002.
2. The Climatic Environment of Poultry Houses. UK MAFF - ADAS
Bulletin 212 1976.

The contents of this Technical Advice Sheet are British United Turkeys Limited and the advice contained
herein is given as a guide and may need to be varied to meet a specific customer operation; in any event
this advice should not be regarded as a form of guarantee.

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Figure 2 - Minimum Ventilation Requirement; the Relationship Between Calculation Methods for an example flock of 5000 males.
4.0

No. fans (capacity 2.5 m/s)

3.5
3.0
2.5
2.0
1.5
1.0
0.5
0.0
1

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

Age (weeks)
BUT 5th Edition Liveweight & Feed Consumption (B diet) based on 5,000 T8 males

Feed 2 MSTD

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Feed 3 MSTD

Body weight

17

18

19

20