Tips to Keep Your Poultry Barn Ventilation System Running Efficiently envelope Print up
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Keeping Your Poultry Barn Ventilation System Running Efficiently

Poultry Producer Tips and Tricks for Bird House Tunnel Ventilation

The perfect poultry barn environment includes plenty of accessible feed, clean water and ideal air quality and temperature. These are all important conditions to maximize feed conversion.

Good ventilation is an important part of poultry efficiency, both for the birds and the producer, and is key to managing air quality and temperature.

Air Velocity = Weight Gain
Air Velocity (fpm) Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7
0 2.96 lb. 4.24 lb. 5.32 lb. 6.10 lb.
400 3.00 lb. 4.44 lb. 5.81 lb. 6.92 lb.*
600 3.02 lb. 4.49 lb. 5.92 lb. 7.22 lb.*

* 7.22 - 6.92 = 0.3 lbs. more weight per bird at 600 fpm. In a 20,000 bird house, .03 lbs. x 20,000 x $0.05 = $300

How important is air velocity? This data from carefully controlled research shows that at week 7 in hot weather, tunnel airflow at 600 fpm produces enough more broiler weight gain to pay out at least $300 per house more than airflow at 400 fpm.

Two Types of Poultry Barn Ventilation

There are two primary types of ventilation setups - power ventilation and tunnel ventilation.

Power ventilation is used when you need to exhaust CO2 and ammonia and keep the barn warm. When the fans in the chicken house come on, the vent doors are pulled open, and air is brought in through the inlets. That air mixes at the peak of the house, creating turbulence and pushing the warm air down. This gives the cool damp air that just came in a chance to warm up before it goes down to bird level.

Tunnel ventilation is for keeping birds cool. Air is pulled by fans through the wind tunnel that is the modern poultry house. These buildings are generally around 500 to 600 feet long, with 5 – 6 foot tall tunnel doors on one end. Wind speed is the primary method used to cool the house and the birds inside. The wind chill from 14 fans can make an 80 degree poultry house feel like 70-72 degrees.



Three maintenance steps for either type of ventilation system:

  • Maintaining the belts on fans: Worn and misaligned belts can have a significant impact on CFM, wind speed and cooling effect.
  • Cleaning fans and shutters: Dust and other debris that settles on fans and shutters can have a direct impact on their efficiency - reducing it by up to 30 percent
  • Checking vent and tunnel doors for the proper seal: Tunnel ventilation systems are designed to take advantage of wind coming through in a specific direction. Air coming in through other unsealed inlets can lead to reduced wind velocity and limited efficacy of an evaporative cooling system.


Modern poultry barns have come a long way and are designed to be extremely efficient. By maintaining your buildings, barns and ventilation equipment properly, your poultry operation will remain as efficient as it can be for the next 5, 10 or 15 years.

Let our expertise help you make the right ventilation decisions for your barns. Find a Cumberland dealer near you

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