High airspeeds in tunnel ventilated houses provide a wind chill affect and evaporative cooling pads can drop air temperatures 12 F to 15 F. Coupled together, these innovations can keep broilers alive even on days with record high temperatures. Poultry housing has improved to the point where extreme heat loss only happens in houses where there is a power failure and backup systems fail as well.

All growers should test their generators on a routine basis to make sure that they work and that they will turn on automatically when needed. The fuel source for the generator should be checked as well to make sure there is enough fuel to run the generator for several hours. At least one farm participating in its utility’s load management program ran out of fuel when the generator was needed during a power outage.


Many older poultry houses have been upgraded to be tunnel ventilated. This upgrade increases the farm's electrical use. Growers should double check to make sure that the power company’s transformer will handle the increased electrical load, that breaker panels are sized to handle the load and are not overheating, that wiring (including underground wiring) is properly sized to handle the increased load.

During a heat wave is not a good time to find out if your farm’s electrical system can handle the load of all the fans running 24/7. Undersized breakers, transformers and wiring may work for years, but then fail when placed under high loads continuously. Double check you electrical supply and systems, even if renovations took place years ago. During times of extreme heat, it only takes a few minutes to lose a flock.