Gas Heaters for chicken structures – also called brooders, as well as chicken heaters – brooders are the most effective technique to warm a chicken house in Southern Africa. Electrical power is now too expensive and is not really reliable. Should you suffer a loss of electrical power in your hen house you will end up losing your flock.
Without heat your day old chickens will die. Day old chickens need heat – even on a hot day your baby chickens will need to be in an environment that has a temperature of about 34 degrees C. Even if your chicks do not die from the drop in temperature, your growth and weights will suffer down the line. The answer is a gas brooder, and the best on the market is the Gasolec brooder – available in 2 sizes, these are by far the best way to heat a poultry house.
Gas heaters give instant heat where you need it and when you need it.. The chicks can move in and out of the warm spot as they need to. There is no need to heat the whole house – just where the chicks are. The other ways to keep your chickens warm both rely on electricity – radiant heaters and coal powered heaters called heatcos – heatcos need a fan to distribute heat – and because hot air rises – you will need to heat the whole house.
Make no mistake – as electricity prices rise in South Africa the cost of heating a poultry house is going to become a huge factor in the cost of raising broiler chickens. Broiler houses are totally dependent on heat to survive in the first few weeks, and in cold areas even older chickens need heat. Heating a chicken house with a gas heater or gas brooder is going to become the only form of heating that chicken farmers use in the future. Heating a chicken house with a gas heater or gas brooder is the best form, and the cheapest way of heating. Gasolec is the best heater on the market today. In very cold places heaters are also used with adult chickens – such as broilers and layers – the radiant nature of the heater means the chickens can self regulate – IE; move closer to or further away from the heat source – chickens in layer cages can obviously not do this so care needs to be taken when using any kind of heater alongside layer cages. In fact, care should be taken with any kind of chicken farming.
The G12 Gasolec gas brooder is a large heater – mostly used in large poultry houses. The smaller version for small poultry houses is the M8 gas brooder. Both of these heaters are imported. This is such a good design that a South African company is copying it – unfortunately the quality is just not the same – and when it comes to heating a chicken house you should take no chances – even if you can save a few Rands. Gasolec brooders have a thermostat – you can regulate the temperature automatically – as the house temperature rises the gas heater will move to a low setting and as the temperature drops it will kick in again. Supplied with a dust filter to ensure no blocking of the jets (poultry houses are very dusty) the gas brooder is hung from the roof of the poultry house.
As soon as the day old chickens are of sufficient age to do without the need of the gas brooder it must be wiped clean and then stored somewhere till the time the coming phase (which includes the propane container). The gas bottle must never be kept in the hen house, but rather outside the house – or else the poultry could perch on it and create a real mess. The dust particles filters on the Gasolec heating unit ought to be wiped clean out after the cycle period. Take care with your thermocouple — this is the small copper tube – in the event that this is twisted your heating unit can stop performing. Don’t soak the heating unit with a pressure sprayer — wipe it down by hand using any soft cloth as well as some antiseptic.