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Best Practices for Poultry Confinement Generator and Electrical System Maintenance

Poultry confinement buildings are highly controlled environments. Ventilation systems, cooling and heating systems, lighting, feed and water systems, environmental controls, alarms, and much more rely on continuous power to maintain the optimal conditions that ensure the well-being and productivity of the flocks.

Poultry confinement building generator with a thermometer next to it indicating high temperatures

With so many components relying on the electrical system, it is paramount to have a backup generator that can withstand a full and continuous load if the power goes out. During the hot summer months, poultry confinement building generators are under increased strain, making routine maintenance essential. Neglecting maintenance can lead to reduced efficiency, increased fuel consumption, and, ultimately, catastrophic failures when they are needed the most.

In June, we saw an influx of claims as a result of preventable, generator failures. To avoid electrical system failures during high temperatures, poultry farmers must adopt a regular maintenance schedule. Follow these tips broken down by category by the NPTC for best practices:


  1. Alarms are your first line of defense when something goes wrong in the poultry house. Sirens and power failure system calls should be tested regularly to ensure they are operating properly.

  2. Ensure that all batteries are fresh and functioning.

Main Farm Disconnect

  1. The main farm disconnect should be inspected by a licensed electrician to make sure there are no signs of wear and tear externally or internally. Thermal images of electrical equipment under a full load can be particularly useful in spotting potential failures.

  2. Spare fuses and breakers should be kept in the generator shed. These items are often back-ordered, so it is important to have extra parts on hand if damage occurs.

  3. Verify the tightness of all main supply wire connections.

  4. Ensure that no water is entering the main disconnect box.


  1. The backup generator should be run under a full and continuous load for several hours each time birds are not present to ensure it is functioning properly.

  2. A licensed generator servicing professional should fully service the generator at least once per year.

  3. Generators should be exercised under load weekly for 30 minutes or more. A log should be kept demonstrating the dates and times of the generator exercise.

  4. Batteries should be inspected, tested, and cleaned at least once every year.

  5. Generator failures due to clogged fuel are an extremely common problem that can be avoided with regular maintenance and backups. Fuel, oil, and air filters should be changed each year, regardless of their condition. Spare fuel filters should always be kept on hand.

  6. Radiators should be inspected and cleaned regularly to prevent clogging. For best practices, inspect the fan side of the radiator to spot a problem.

  7. Inspect the fuel tank and condition regularly. Ensure there is a sufficient amount of backup fuel on hand in the event of a power outage.

  8. Intake exhaust louvers on the generator shed should always be free of debris and any obstructions to airflow. The NPTC recommends replacing the louvers with an opening covered with poultry netting or hardware cloth.

Transfer Switch

  1. Transfer switches should be tested under load when there are no birds in the poultry confinement buildings.

  2. Ensure that all farm personnel who might use the transfer switch know how to do so safely. NPTC Pro Tip: Label all switches and electrical boxes to help with this process.

  3. All wire connections and grounds should be inspected by a licensed electrician. If repairs need to be made, do not wait to do so as parts can take time to source.

  4. Cover all unused holes in the exterior box with metal to prevent bugs and pests from entering.

  5. The NPTC also recommends adding a manual override starter switch to your generator if it does not already have one. Contact your local generator service professional to add this switch.

Main Panel

  1. Keep spare breakers of each size and type on hand for replacement on the main panel.

  2. Cover all holes on the main panel with metal.

  3. Inspect all main wire connections for tightness and damage.

  4. Regularly clean the main panel to avoid dust and debris buildup.

Generator failures in poultry confinement buildings during high heat can lead to devastating consequences, both economically and in terms of animal welfare. By investing in proactive maintenance practices, poultry farmers can protect their businesses, maintain their flocks, and ensure their operations thrive even during the hottest months of the year.

Follow the NPTC and Agribusiness Risk Underwriters for more tips on maintaining and optimizing poultry confinement structures.

ARU was founded to create a stable and reliable insurance market for poultry confinement through our two insurance products: Poultry Express and Poultry Plus.

Poultry Express and Poultry Plus logos

Poultry Express is ARU's insurance product for poultry houses of any age. It provides the foundational coverages farmers need such as generator mechanical breakdown and loss of income at a low cost.

Poultry Plus is a comprehensive poultry insurance solution for the entire farm including:

  • Poultry Houses

  • Generators

  • Mobile Equipment

  • Barns/sheds

  • Dwellings

  • Liability

  • Loss of Income

  • Poultry Specialty Endorsement (Covers Avian Influenza)

Schedule a call today to learn more about our insurance coverages and see if your accounts qualify!


Poultry Express and Poultry Plus are available in the following states: TX, WA, MT, LA, OK, KS, NE, IA, MO, AR, MS, AL, TN, KY, IN, FL, GA, SC, NC, VA, WV, PA, MD

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