Safeguarding Your Structures: Lightning and Surge Protection on Poultry Farms

An electrician's advice on protecting your poultry farm from lightning damage.
lightning and surge protection on your poultry farm

If you take one thing away from this video, let it be to call a licensed electrician!


Interview with an Expert Electrician: Charlie Porterfield

Allen spoke with Charlie Porterfield from Thunderbolt Electric to find out what poultry farmers should know about protecting their farms from damage caused by lightning. While no one can stop lightning, you can take some precautions to minimize its damage if and when it hits your farm.

Charlie says that while the effects of a direct hit from lightning can be devastating, they're not extremely common. However, the effects of a strike upon a power line down the road can also cause instantaneous surges on your farm should it be connected to that line. 

For poultry houses, Charlie's biggest recommendations are lightning arrestors and surge protectors.

Lightning Arrestors

A lightning arrestor absorbs the high spike from lightning and dissipates it through the ground. In the case of our office building, the grounding wire goes through an encasement in the slab and connects to a 20 foot rebar. The purpose of a grounding rod is to work as an electricity conductor to steer danger away from your property by moving incoming electricity to the ground.

Grounding is so important because if you have surge protectors and lightning arrestors but no proper grounding, they will be ineffective. There is nowhere to send the negative charge to if it's not grounding.

Surge Protectors

As a farmer, all you have to do with your surge protector is make sure it's installed properly. Again, we recommend calling a professional! Then, you can just focus on general maintenance. More than anything, just make sure all the connections stay tight. Charlie says that as an electrician, loose connections are one of the biggest reasons he gets service calls on a day-to-day basis.

Be sure to maintain your connections on a yearly basis. Wires expand and contract due to heating and cooling throughout the seasons, which is what loosens connections. Tighten up any human-tightened connections. This maintenance is important because loose connections create a lot of heat. A connection that is too hot can cause a burn and big cost in your farm!

Contact Us

Have any questions or ideas for future Poultry Biosecurity videos? Contact Allen Reynolds at or 800-608-3755.

About the Author

Allen Reynolds

Allen Reynolds

Poultry Sales Manager

This was written by Allen Reynolds, Southland Organics’ Poultry Sales Manager. Allen spent years working on poultry farms, from installing equipment to dumping chicks. He has been helping poultry farmers overcome obstacles since 2014, focusing on poultry farm strength in the antibiotic-free environment since 2017. He has traveled thousands of miles and worked closely with hundreds of farmers during his time with Southland Organics. Allen is known by even more farmers from the YouTube channel Poultry Biosecurity, where he regularly appears in videos that educate farmers on topics like bird health and farm business.

Learn more about Allen Reynolds

Isabella (Izy) Dobbins

Marketing Manager

This was edited by Isabella (Izy) Dobbins, Southland Organics' Marketing Manager. Izy has devoted her education and career to communicating science-related topics. With an enthusiasm for sharing accurate and honest content relating to science and agriculture, she ensures Southland Organics' publications are as informative as they are interesting. Izy graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor's degree in advertising, minors in both Spanish and environmental health science and a Certificate in Sustainability. She has been working at Southland Organics since 2021.

Learn more about Izy Dobbins

Izy Dobbins
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