We are about half-way through the 2012 Hurricane season that officially began on June 21, 2012. As you know, we had two Tropical Storms prior to June 1, Alberto and Beryl. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting 15 named storms this year, including Alberto and Beryl. Dr. William Gray and his staff are predicting 13 named storms, 50 named stormed days, five hurricanes, 18 hurricane days, two major hurricanes and four major hurricane days.
Our area of the state has been fortunate the last several years, but poultry farmers must not become complacent and not be prepared for a major storm. Please make your farm as prepared as possible.
All poultry producers need to be prepared in case a hurricane strikes our area. You as poultry producers can minimize damage due to hurricanes on your farms by taking a few simple precautions.
One of the easiest things to do is make sure equipment and other items around the poultry houses are battened down. Flying debris can be as big a problem as anything. Your poultry houses and birds could be secure, but if you don’t have everything tied down, something could rip through the curtains. This could result in birds piling up, excessive damage to curtains and equipment, and harm to you if you are in the path of the debris, either outside or inside the poultry house.
Many producers are unsure how to set the curtains in times of high winds. The following recommendations may help you in adjusting your curtains. If your poultry house is empty, lower the curtains all the way down to reduce pressure and hopefully save your building. With birds in the house, the curtain on the windward side of the house should be raised all the way up and the leeward side should be lowered 6-12 inches. In most cases in our area, the wind will come from the south and east.
One of the most important pieces of equipment that a poultry producer may have during a hurricane is a generator. Many newer farms are required to have a large self-contained generator that comes on automatically if the power fails. If you do not own a generator you may be able to rent one, just do not wait until it is too late to locate one. A minimum 25-kilowatt generator is recommended. This will enable you to start your water pump and then turn on feed lines, fans, etc. as needed. DO NOT try to start everything at one time. If you have smaller generators, including PTO driven generators, start them now to make sure they work properly.
It is much better to be prepared than to have to go through what we did following Hurricane Floyd.
The Cooperative Extension Center in each county has additional information to aid you if a disaster occurs. Please feel free to call the Center in your county if you desire additional information.
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