It's cold outside, with temperatures dipping into the 20's. The forecast calls for even colder weather. High technology is allowing the poultry industry to better cope with the rising costs that come with lower temperatures.
This is the first winter for poultry grower Perry Parker since he invested thousands of dollars in state of the art poultry houses. "A house like this will cost you $145,000 to build now," said Parker as he briskly walked to what's called tunnel houses. They're capable of holding over 26,000 birds at a time. They have solid walls and thick insulation. Year round, computer technology keeps the flock in total comfort.
Parker opens a door to a room adjacent to the house."This is the control room. Everything is controlled from here, the humidity, the temperature everything. The average house temperature is 75.7.
But just like heating and cooling your home can be expensive, so is heating a poultry house. "It's costing about $120 a day to heat these houses," shared Parker.
The expense is even more for growers with conventional houses where heaters run continuously.
Parker is confident he made the right choice. "In the long run it should pay for itself." Which is good because poultry companies want growers to make the investment. Parker explained, "The houses that aren't up to standard don't even get a contract. The standard houses get a 1 year contract. These houses get 7 year contracts."
In extreme temperatures an entire flock can die if something goes wrong. Computer technology avoids that.
Parker is still fascinated of the system's capabilities. "It will call me at the house. If I'm not there it will call my cell phone."
The same holds true for a generator system. Parker calls it the second best thing on the farm. "When the electric goes off, 3 seconds later this generator will start."