Commercial chicken farming requires a high-level of expertise, understanding and commitment to be successful.
Whilst it’s important to emphasize the need for excellent flock management at all times, something that comes with experience and aptitude, adopting the correct housing techniques and equipment will set a firm foundation for success of your poultry venture.
The following is a guiding checklist for poultry house construction:
“A poultry house should provide the birds with a comfortable environment and protect them from the extremities of the prevailing weather (rain, wind and sunshine).
“It should have adequate space for the flock to be kept in the house. The ideal stocking density is:
1. Layers: one square metre for 6 birds.
2. Broilers: One square metre for 11 birds.
“It should be open-sided to allow natural ventilation with an east-west orientation to minimise the amount of sunlight entering the house directly. Its not good for sun rays to strike directly into the poultry house.
“It should be rectangular in shape and have a wall not higher than three feet on the longer side. The widith should be at least 7-9 metres, but for the length you are only limited by your land. Avoid building poultry houses in a square form.
“The wall can be made from stones, iron sheets, timber, silver boards or bricks
“The rest of the side of the wall should have a chicken wire mesh. The wire mesh on the sides of the house should be of a small gauge to prevent entry of wild birds, dogs and rodents. This normal chicken mesh is not long lasting…..within a few months it rusts and gets off the house. its better to use a plastic quoted mesh.
“The roof of the house should have a reflecting surface and pitched with overlaps to ensure that the house is comfortable and well ventilated. There should be enough gap between the birds and the roof to avoid heat stress. The pin of the house should be 8 metres from the ground, and the sides should be 5 metres.
“Concrete floors are the best finishing as they are easier to clean and disinfect. Do not put “nil” after putting concrete on the floor.
“There should be a foot-bath at the entrance of the house for those entering the poultry house to disinfect their foot wear. You know farm boys have a tendency of jumping the foot bath, but if it is wide enough they cannot jump it.
“To reduce the risk of rodents gaining entrance into the poultry house, clear all the vegetation in a radius of 3-5 metres around the pen.
“The feed store should also be separate from the house to reduce risk of attracting rodents.
“It should be constructed in isolated areas to minimise the risk of contamination.
“your poultry house plan must have a tank raised inside the poultry house. Exposing water to sunshine in bad, as it gets warm and birds may reject it, or may facilitate heat stress during the dry seasons.
“The house should be fenced to exclude stray animals and visitors.
“The doors should always be locked.
“On poultry farms, an all-in all-out system is the best management practice as it prevents the build up of disease causing organisms and disease outbreaks. Its always good to have one age group in each house, but not putting different ages in one house!
In case where farmers want to keep flocks of different ages, then each flock must be housed in its own.
Ventilation is the circulation of fresh air through the flock house and exhaustion of stale air out of the flock units and its achieved by air passing from one side of the house and exhausting through the opposite side.
Ventilation of poultry houses serves several functions including:
1.Removing excess heat and moisture.
2.Providing oxygen while removing harmful gases.
3.Reducing dust hence improving the air quality.
You must always allow optimal ventilation to avoid chicks getting suffocated.