STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) - A newly developed heating system uses
attic space inside broiler houses to reduce power usage, improve
energy efficiency and keep poultry warmer, a Mississippi State
University researcher says.
Jody Purswell, an agricultural engineer with U.S. Department of
Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service at MSU's Poultry
Research Unit, says the new technology that he developed was
installed in a broiler house in Mississippi.
"Initial testing demonstrated that the attic inlet system
significantly reduced furnace and brooder usage," Purswell said.
"We found that it can reduce gas heat costs by 20 percent to 25
percent. It is basically getting extra energy for free."
Purswell said the attic temperature of broiler houses stays
about six degrees to 14 degrees warmer than the outside
By installing attic inlets, the heat is pulled out of the attic
and circulated throughout the poultry house, keeping the birds warm
without using more gas.
David Hudson, a poultry grower in Laurel, said he and Purswell
installed the vents in two of his broiler houses.
"The system really helps with keeping the young birds warmer,
especially during their first three weeks," he said. "It has
gotten colder earlier this year, so I've already started using the
attic inlets to keep the new chicks warm."
Hudson monitors the attic inlet system carefully.
"There is no doubt that I am using less gas to heat the
houses," he said. "And there's definitely better air quality in
those two houses. It makes a big difference."
Purswell's preliminary research also showed that the use of
preheated air from the attic can reduce moisture in poultry houses.
"Excessive moisture in the house increases ammonia
production," Purswell said. "We want to look at how the system
can be used to inexpensively heat houses between flocks to help dry
the litter and reduce the amount of ammonia present when new chicks
The research for this new technology has been under way for two
Purswell plans to work with growers like Hudson to make
comparisons between the poultry houses with the system and those
without. Purswell and his team will install gas meters in poultry
houses to better measure usage.