Poultry housing is one of the most important components to consider before starting poultry farming. It is a long term investment thus should be prioritized. Chickens are not as simple to rear as many may think. They are the most susceptible creature to diseases and most of the poultry diseases are associated with the condition of where they sleep and what they eat. All these factors take place under one roof called the poultry house. Therefore, much care should be taken into consideration when designing your poultry house.
Housing helps in better management practices e.g. feeding, disease and pest control, breeding etc. Remember, a good poultry house is a major contributing factor to the success of your poultry agribusiness.
Today I want to take you through the steps of choosing the ideal poultry house for your farm and pictorial modern poultry house designs;
- Whether small scale or medium scale,
- Whether local breed (kienyeji) chicken, broilers or layers,
- Any climate in any country.
Why poultry house?
Benefits of the poultry housing for the chicken.
These are benefits for chickens which they could have not received if surviving in the natural environment. They are;
- Shelter from the extreme weather conditions
- Protection from predators
- Prevention from theft
- Organization of individual laying nests
- Heat/ insulation
- Provides chicken with social comfort and leisure etc.
Therefore the poultry house should be designed and constructed to meet the above functions. Depending on your technical know-how and competencies, you can choose to build a poultry house by yourself or hire the experts. Regardless of how you build it, the root of getting the poultry house right, is to prioritize the behavioral pattern of your birds.
The following are some typical natural behaviors and habits of poultry which your chicken house should accommodate for the best rearing results;
- Dust bathing/sun bathing
- Tolerance of high temperature
Poultry housing selection tips:
The following are the natural chicken behaviors and their benefits which should be accounted for when selecting poultry housing for chicken.
Chicken enjoy pecking around the dirt in search of worms and other feeds. This is their nature and you cannot prevent them from this behavior. It is realized that poultry eat 20% of their feeds from foraging. This would equate to significant savings to your poultry farm. Remember that up to 70% of all poultry farm costs/overheads come from feed costs. Therefore to achieve this, you should allow your poultry to forage on pasture. This will significantly save on your cost of commercial feeds.
The housing should be equipped with the nesting boxes. Laying hens do prefer by nature to lay eggs in more secluded or discrete locations. Nesting boxes also provides a dedicated place for egg collection which is easily accessed by the farm staff.
3: Dust bathing;
The site location for the chicken house should have space allocation for the chicken to dust bathe. According to the poultry experts, dust bathing acts as a natural insecticide and helps to keep parasites at bay. So it is very important for their health.
A good house design should allow the installation of perches. Perches are important for chicken to roost on at night and during day time. It helps to reduce boredom which can lead to vices like cannibalism. It also reduces the risk of external parasites.
Other factors determining the design of your poultry house are:-
i) Scale of the poultry farm
The scale of your business will greatly affect your choice of poultry house.
The larger the operation scale, the larger the housing and the greater the scope of potential risk and vice versa.
ii) Climate and poultry housing.
The climate of your area will play a large part in your poultry housing decision making.
Climate will dictate the levels of:
- Humidity and
iii) Commercial goals of your poultry farm
The choice of your poultry house will significantly be determined by the level of your production.
iv) Type of rearing style,
The poultry house should meet the requirements of the rearing styles that one wishes to adopt in the farm, whether it will be free range/ pastured poultry houses, deep litter poultry houses, caged poultry housing etc.
Basics of poultry house design
Before breaking the ground for your poultry house installation, the following are some basic considerations;
- Choose the ideal site for your poultry house.
- Exposure to the prevailing airflow patterns.
- Exposure to solar heat transfer into the house. Poultry need some heat in their house.
- A foot bath should be placed at the entrance
- The rest of the wall should have wire mesh of a small gauge to prevent wild birds and rodents from entering.
- A good poultry house should be well ventilated which serves the following functions:
- For removal of excess heat and moisture
- For effective gaseous exchange
- For removal of harmful gasses
- Reducing dust from the air
- Ventilation can be managed by opening and closing side curtains. Curtains are often made from gunny bags stitched together.
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