Poultry house construction guidelines | Monitor

2022-04-24 07:37:32 By : Ms. Shirley Chau

Based on factors such as type of climate, type of poultry farming, available labour, and availability of land and cost of land, different poultry housing systems have been developed. They aim at achieving desired productivity levels in poultry.

Some of the people who have received 20 percent of their savings from NSSF have been asking Seeds of Gold how they can successfully invest their money in poultry farming.

While seeking guidance, Moses Omongole from Jinja District says he wants to invest his money into chicken rearing preferably layers and broiler since they mature faster. 

The article below will help Omongole and others on how to construct a chicken house before stocking the birds.

One of the major requirements for farmers who want to venture into poultry and chicken farming is the need to house the birds. The poultry farmer must decide what kind of housing to construct for their chickens, depending on scale and objectives of the poultry project.

In the early 1900s, there was not specified poultry housing like we see today. They were housed in barns with other animals or in a separate house. In Africa, they slept in the kitchen area and were left to forage during the day.

The birds were not protected from adverse elements, hence mortality rate was as high as 40 percent. During cold seasons, they would suffer from the cold. Likewise, they would suffer from adverse heat during hot seasons.

The need for poultry and chicken housing

Annet Kabasindi a livestock agronomist says poultry like any other living creature needs some kind of shelter. “Whether the chickens are free-range, pastured or caged, the poultry farmer will need to house poultry so as to protect the birds against adverse weather, this includes adverse heat, rain, and wind,” she says.

Kabasindi says farmers should ensure proper feeding for the birds. “The farmer is able to give enough feed to the chickens if they are housed,” she says.

Provide a safe place to lay eggs

Carry out effective poultry disease control measures. The farmer is able to administer vaccinations and carry out bio-security measures if the chickens are housed.

Protect the flock from predators and pests. Protection from animals that eat chicken or can spread diseases to the flock. Supervise the chickens in a better way. This includes measuring progress.

According to Kabasindi, the type of poultry housing depends on the stage in life and also their purpose.

They include, a brooder (this is used to keep layer chicks for 0 to about 8 weeks of age), grower house (used to house layer chicks from 9 to 18 weeks of age), brooder grower house (used to house layers from 0 to 18 weeks of age), layer house (layers from 18 weeks to 72 weeks) and breeder house (for male and female birds in the proper ratio. The purpose of this is mating).

The design of the open-sided poultry house should follow certain factors so as to ensure optimum productivity from the poultry farm.

The length of the house should be in the east-west direction in order to prevent direct sunshine over the poultry

The full size of the house will depend on the number of birds you want to keep. If using the deep litter system, broilers will require one square foot while layers require two square feet. For example, if you intend to keep 5,000 broilers in one house, the poultry house plan for the 5,000 chicken should cover 5,000 square feet. If you intend to keep 2,000 layers, the poultry house plan for the 2,000 layers should cover 4000 square feet.

There is no limit to the length of the poultry house. This is determined by the number of chicken and the size of the land

The recommended height of a poultry house is six to seven feet (eaves) and 10 to 12 feet at the centre. If keeping the bird in cages, the height is determined by the tiers of the cages.

The width of a poultry house in tropical areas should not exceed between 25 feet, in order to allow for enough ventilation at the middle. If the width is wider than 25 feet, there will not be ample aeration when it is hot. If you intend to have a width of more than 25 feet, ridge ventilation with a proper overhang is required in the middle.

Foundation of a poultry house

It is important to have a well-done foundation in order to prevent water from getting into the poultry house. The foundation should be concrete extending 1 to 1.5 feet underground and 1 to 1.5 feet above the ground.

The floor of a poultry house should be made of concrete and free from any dampness. It should extend 1.5 feet outside the wall so as to deter vermin like rats and snakes

Doors of a poultry house

The doors should open to the outside of the poultry house. The preferred door size is six feet by 2.5 feet.  At the entry, there should be a foot bath.

The sidewalls of an open-sided poultry house should be 1 foot to 1.5 feet. The sidewall will protect the chicken from extreme direct wind and rain.

The roof of a poultry house can be made of any cost-friendly roofing material. It can be of any design that allows good airflow and water drainage when it rains. The overhang of the roof should be at least 3.5 feet so as to prevent rainwater from getting into the house.

Lighting in a poultry house.

The lighting should be placed at seven to eight feet, hanging on the roof. Incascendent bulbs should have a spacing of 10 feet while fluorescent lights should have a spacing of 15 feet.

Based on factors such as type of climate, type of poultry farming, available labour, and availability of land and cost of land, different poultry housing systems have been developed. They aim at achieving desired productivity levels in poultry.

The free-range system is one of the oldest systems in poultry keeping. It is making a comeback as the demand for poultry organic meat and eggs grows.

Under the free-range system, poultry is free to move around the land, foraging for its own food. Water and shade are provided in the range. At night the birds can be housed in movable chicken tractors or temporary structures erected on the range.

Free-range fields can be used on a rotational basis after harvesting crops, where the birds are allowed to forage on the field without crops. Under the free-range system, the recommended number of birds is 250 per hectare.

Under the semi-intensive system, the poultry farmer provides housing with attached fenced runs where the birds can forage during the day.

The runs have plants where the birds feed on the plants and scavenge for worms and other insects.

The birds are provided water and supplemental feed. The runs can be used on a rotational basis to allow for the growth of plants. The recommended stocking density in the semi-intensive system is 750 birds per hectare.

Under the intensivesystem of poultry keeping, the birds are confined in their houses, cages, floor or slats. The intensive system is the most economical system of modern poultry farming because it supports the rearing of a high number of birds.

The intensive system of poultry keeping is divided into several categories, depending on the type of housing. These are: deep litter system, slatted floor system, slat floor combined with litter system and cage system. Deep litter and cage systems are the most common.

The deep litter poultry housing system, as the name suggests involves keeping the birds on the floor, with litter on the floor. The starting depth of the litter is three inches to five inches, with litter being added on top every time the bird’s droppings seem to exceed the amount of litter.

The litter material can be wood shavings, rice husks, peanut hulls, chopped rice straw, shredded sugarcane or any other organic materials that are good at absorbing moisture. This method saves on labour since the bird droppings are never cleaned out. The litter needs periodic stirring. The most important activity in the deep litter system is keeping the litter dry.

The slatted floor system, also known as the slotted floor system or the wire floor system is an intensive system of poultry housing where the floor is made of slats/slots or wire mesh or metal rods. There are also plastic slats, made in modular form, where they can be joined to cover any desired area.

The floor is raised three feet above the ground, allowing for droppings to fall through the hole in the slats or wire mesh. Slats are wooden pieces 2.5cm to 5cm wide, placed 2.5 cm apart, running through the width of the house. The stocking density for the slatted floor system is 5 to 8 birds per square metre.

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