The economic climate and recent media reports suggest that gas and electricity prices are set to rise even further this autumn. Costs have already doubled over the past 18 months.

A key area of energy use in poultry farming is heating and ventilation, so the best way to reduce costs is to cut energy waste and improve energy efficiency.

One such waste is via draughts from fan shafts. This prompted a husband-and-wife team to design a cover that fits over the bottom of a circular chimney in any existing poultry unit.

Poultry Air was formed in 2000 by Keith and Dee Kendall. The couple travelled the country for over a year to learn about the poultry industry and research new product ideas.

Development

Having learned about poultry from their travels, the cover was developed as one of a range of new ideas.

Mr Kendall created the bell-mouth cover in three different sizes. “It will work on 90% of all chimney types, as long as it is fitted properly,” he says.

Its main purpose is to provide adequate insulation and save energy being wasted because of draughts in the poultry sheds. But it also has the advantage of preventing dust and muck going up the chimney, so reducing dust emissions from sheds into the surrounding area, he says.

Along with the bell-mouth covers, the company has developed a 4×4 cover designed to fit over 54in (1.4m) gable-end fans.

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“This elasticated cover fits around the edges of the fan boxes with four eyelets in the top and bottom, enabling you to pull it tightly and make a snug fit around the edges of the fan boxes. It then remains secure,” says Mrs Kendall.

Its aim is to block out the wind and prevent draughts breezing through the fans and into the poultry units, says Mr Kendall.

Although the cover was designed for insulation, it also masks the noise of the fan rotating, which can frighten birds, he says.

The 4×4 covers were intended to be fitted on the outside of the shed and cover the fans, but some producers have used them successfully over the fans on the inside of buildings, says Mrs Kendall.

Both of the covers offer considerable saving on heating and energy bills, she adds.

The bell-mouth and 4 x 4 covers are made of hard-wearing vinyl polyester, which can be cleaned by pressure washing.

As well as producing the insulating covers, Poultry Air specialises in glass-fibre products and there are heat saving benefits to be gained from the company’s glass-fibre chimneys.

The design is based on a venturi tube and is curved to push vapour quickly into the atmosphere.

The chimney offers 30% more air movement due to the venturi tube and saves on running costs by improving air performance, he says. It would enable a producer to use fewer fans in the sheds, also saving on electricity.

The firm makes a variety of glass-fibre hoods to cover air inlets on the sides of the sheds. These offer good protection from direct wind into the poultry units.

Case Study – Jimmy Bennie, Grampian Country Chickens, Scotland

Jimmy Bennie of Stirlingshire has been using Poultry Air’s bell-mouth chimney covers for the past six years and has seen huge benefits from them.

“Our poultry buildings are about 40 years old and we tend to get a lot of high winds in this part of Scotland, particularly in the winter. As a result, it can be difficult to heat the sheds and keep the birds warm, but the covers stop the wind sucking the air out of the poultry units.

“The strong winds are the sole purpose why we bought them,” he says. “It reduces the gaps between the fan and the chimney and successfully blocks out any draughts.”

The cover fits over the entrance of the fan at the bottom of the chimney and covers the bell mouth. It looks rather like a shower cap and is easy to fit, he says.

The bell-mouth cover can be cleaned easily by power washing it with a hose and if it is looked after well, it will last for a considerable length of time.

“The covers do a great job during the winter, but we use them all year round. They are cheap and provide a simple solution to sealing up the gaps,” says Mr Bennie.

Energy costs

  • Gas and electricity prices rising
  • Good insulation helps keep buildings warm in winter
  • Chimney and inlet covers can cut draughts
  • Covers also help cut dust emissions