Poultry Housing – Types, Equipment, and Construction
The poultry farming business has occupied a leading role in the agriculture industry worldwide in recent years. A comfortable or good housing area directly affects the optimum growth and production in commercial poultry farming either you are doing layer poultry farming or Broiler poultry farming. The poultry farming business is one of the profitable business it gives maximum profit when we do extra care in the construction of the house. A better poultry housing construction maximizes the performance of the flock and ensuring better health. A high production poultry breed needs comfortable housing. The house should face the south to assure maximum sunlight, a consideration which is important during short winter days. In this article we also discuss the below points;
- Poultry house construction
- Types of poultry housing management system
- Management in the poultry house
- Why should poultry provide housing
- Types of poultry houses
- Poultry housing design
- Principles of poultry housing
A Step by Step Guide to Types of Poultry Housing, Equipment, and Construction
Poultry house design plays a vital role in the determination of the internal climatic conditions of the house for optimum health of the birds. So, the type of poultry housing system employed by the proposed poultry farm is a function of the prevailing climatic conditions of the area where the farm is located. The type of poultry housing system to be used is the main determinant factor in the type of management to be adopted in the poultry farm business.
There are several reasons why poultry should have a well-constructed house;
- The well-constructed poultry house protect from floods, rain, and the sun
- To protect them from predators like dogs, cats, snakes, birds of prey, rats, and thieves
- To prevent mice, rats, and birds from eating their feed and transmitting disease
- To give hens a safe room to lay their eggs
Importance of Poultry Housing
The need for Poultry Housing;
- Protection from other climatic extremes like direct sun, wind, rain, and even against theft and attack from natural enemies of the birds like a fox, dog, cat, kite, and snake, etc. The birds also should be protected against external parasites like ticks, lice, and mice, etc.
- Comfort – To be comfortable, a house should provide adequate accommodation, be reasonably cool in the hot weather, free from drafts, and sufficiently warm during the cool weather. Above all, provide an adequate supply of sunshine and fresh air; and remain dry always.
- Convenience – The house must be located at a convenient place, and the equipment so arranged as to allow cleaning and other necessary operation as required.
- Provision of accessible food and clean water.
- Providing conditions so that good stockman ship can be practiced.
Certain Features for Poultry Housing
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The poultry house needs certain features for the better farming of poultry. They are;
- The poultry houses are to be located in non-residential areas.
- The poultry house must be constructed in such a way that it maintains good environmental conditions.
- The farm must be elevated from the ground. Due to this, water may not get into the poultry farm during the rainy season.
- The poultry farm is to be located in a place where transport facilities are available. Water, electricity, feed, and equipment are to be within the reach of the poultry farm.
- The poultry farm is to be located near the consumer areas.
- Also, poultry housing requires proper temperature and light. At 30°C, the chicken can lay eggs well and electric bulbs should be arranged at a height of 7ft in poultry farms to provide warmness. These lights are to be switched on during the first 7 weeks. Relative humidity of 50 to 60% is ideal for poultry.
- The poultry sheds are to be ventilated properly. Proper ventilation in poultry house helps in providing sufficient oxygen for birds and removes harmful gases. Also, it removes moisture in the house and helps in keeping optimum temperatures. The farmhouse is to be constructed in such a way that it has an open front, adjustable windows covered frames, and ventilation at ridge level.
- The poultry house flooring is to be constructed either with cement or Napa slabs. Its roof is to be constructed with Palmyra leaves or cement sheets.
Poultry Housing Equipment
Depending on the size and type of poultry house, various types of equipment are to be used in poultry farms. Important poultry house equipment includes Perches, Feed hoppers, Fogger, Heaters, Watering devices, De beakers, Chick guards, Laying nests, and Brooding hovers, etc.
Types of Poultry Houses According to Age
The brooder house, grower house, or layer house must be separated for the better growth of the bird.
Brooder House (0-8 weeks)
The house used in broiler poultry farming is also called as Brooder House. Normally, a brooder house is necessary for both broiler poultry farming and layer poultry farming. In a brooder house, the chick lives from the age of 0 to 8 weeks in which special care is required for better growth of the chicks.
Grower House (9-20 weeks)
Grower house is mostly for the hens which are raised mainly for Egg-Purpose. In grower houses normally 9 to 20 weeks of age are reared to grow for the egg.
Layer House (21-72 weeks)
Generally, 21 to 72 weeks of age hens manage under the layer house. In layer, house hens can be rear form 2 types;
Deep litter system or floor system – Deep litter is used for broiler poultry farming. The floor system is used by small scale flock owner as well as by large scale flock owner, who raised about 50000 birds in a single house for meat.
Cage System – It is one of the common methods for commercial layer farming on a large scale farm. The advantage of a cage system is that you can maintain the record easily and culling the poor layers.
Housing Systems of Poultry
There are four systems of housing normally found to follow among the poultry keepers. The poultry housing system can be roughly categorized into three types. The selection of any approach mainly depends upon capital investment and land availability.
1. Free-range or extensive system
2. Semi-intensive system
3. Intensive system
- Battery or cage system
- Deep litter system
1. Free-range system
In this system, the bird lives outside the whole day and find their feed such as plants, leaves, Ants, insects, and other living organisms. Birds allowed house at night by their owner.
2. Semi-intensive system
It is adopted where the amount of free space available is limited. The semi-intensive production system is also known as backyard production, the poultry bird live outside for the whole day for foraging, and a handful of grain provided by the owner at night. This method is mostly used on a small scale for 300 to 400 birds only.
3. Intensive system
In this system, all the comfort is provided to the birds in the poultry house. To get the maximum production the good quality feed is always remaining available in front of the poultry birds. This is the most common system used worldwide on a commercially large scale to fulfillment the consumption of chicken meat and Eggs. The two methods of the intensive system are the battery (cage system) and deep litter methods.
A) Battery (cage system) – It is useful to those with a small quantity of floor space at their disposal. Many farmers are growing chicks by using a Battery system. In the cage system, the birds are grown in cages made of iron mesh. For growing about 25 fowls a cage measuring is 36 x 48 inches is used. Feeding, watering, and facilities are given to the chicken introduced in these cages.
B) Deep litter system – In this system, the poultry birds are kept in large pens up to about 250 birds each. This is the conventional housing system of poultry system practiced since long back. The floor in the poultry house is a tube covered with a layer of sawdust, paddy husk, or straw. This layer is 4 inches in thickness in the summer season, while in other seasons 7 inches thick layer is used on the floor.
Classification of Poultry Housing Systems
Site Selection of Poultry House
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- Site selection is a very important point to be considered before establishing a commercial poultry house.
- The poultry housing or shelter should be constructed 2 to 3 kilometers far from the residential area.
- The sitting of houses should take advantage of topographical features which will favor air movement.
- Records of local wind speeds and direction must be studied to ensure the best orientation to take advantage of the prevailing wind. That means the house should face away from the direction of the prevailing winds and storms to avoid rain and wind drought.
- Poultry sites should be planned to avoid obstructions of air movement by other buildings.
- Avoid sites prone to waterlogging; houses should be on the ground high enough to provide drainage and should be protected against the danger of floods, i.e. they must be located on well-drained sites.
- Also, a steady source of water and electricity should be considered.
- The Poultry house must be placed at a well-drained area or elevated at some height. So that water should not come inside the house. There must be 24×7 availability of water and electricity.
- Ventilation is one of the important parts of poultry housing. So, the house must be well ventilated for the cross-flow of fresh air in the house and provide oxygen to birds for the better growth and health aspects
- Easy availability of laborers at minimum wages.
Poultry House Construction
Roof – Cement- asbestos sheeting very satisfactory and durable is expensive, yet, it is still recommended if the farmer has the capital. Conjugated iron and zinc sheets are useful, but the cost is lower than cement asbestos. You can ceil the house with zinc sheets.
Doors – The door of the poultry house should be on the south, and made of an angle iron frame covered with ½ inch mesh Wire netting. The size of the room must be always large enough to allow a man to conveniently pass through.
Windows – About 1-meter block work is recommended as the normal height and the remaining upper part of the wall would be walls to the pillar post. To make the roof overhang at least 18 to 36 inches out from the wall to cut down radiation through the window opening.
Important Considerations for Poultry House Design
Good construction of poultry house protects the birds from the weather, predators, injury, and theft. Poultry requires a dry and draft-free house. Build the coop on high, well-drained areas. If you are building a new facility, consider laying a concrete floor, and start the wall with 1 or 2 concrete blocks.
Easy Access to Feed and Water
Feeders and waters must be placed conveniently throughout the pen for birds’ access. In poultry houses, small birds need 1 linear inch/bird of feeder and water space and large birds require 2 to 3 linear inches/bird.
Source of Light
If you wish to produce eggs from your flock year-round, you should have a source for electric light. Small poultry houses do well with one light above the feeding and watering area.
Ventilation in a poultry house supplies fresh air that is necessary to sustain life. Providing proper ventilation is very important in poultry house construction. In commercial operations, minimum ventilation is practiced in colder climates, but not generally in tropical ones. With older birds and in warmer temperatures, the incoming air is directed down towards the birds, and also helps to keep them cool. Then, evaporative cooling pads can be placed in the air inlets to keep birds cool in hot weather.
Tunnel ventilation is an effective ventilation system for large houses in hot weather. These ventilation systems are popular in hot climates. Exhaust fans are located at one end of the poultry house or in the middle of the shed, and the air is drawn through the length of the house, removing heat, moisture, and dust.
Table 1) Floor Space Requirement per Bird
|Age in Weeks
|Floor Space per Birds in Cm2
Table 2) Feeder Space Requirement per Bird
|Floor Space per Birds(Cm2)
Table 3) Amount of Water required Watering Space for Chicken
|Age in Weeks
|Water space per chick(linear cm)
|Amount of water per 1000 birds in liters
|16 and above
Characteristics of a Good Poultry Housing System
Controlled Access – Ease of movement will help in feeding, providing water, and effective cleaning of the house. Also, the movement of objects and birds from the house would be easier.
Comfortable Bedding – Good poultry housing system must have comfortable bedding for the poultry birds. It should be safe for the eggs. If bedding is poor, eggs can easily get cracked and you incur losses.
Convenient To Clean – Poultry housing design is easy and convenient to clean to minimize the death of birds.
Easy Egg Collection – The way eggs are collected to prevent cracks and damages should be considered when building poultry housing. Then, eggs must be collected in good condition and so cracked eggs are a loss to the business.
Good Lighting and Heating System – Good lighting and heating system is an important consideration in the poultry housing system. You want to provide adequate warmth for the birds for good health. In poultry housing, good lighting and heating system is also very important.
Proper Ventilation – Proper ventilation prevents the spread of flu and contagious diseases. Good ventilation is key to the success of the poultry house.
Divisions for Different Ages and Species of Birds – A good poultry housing system must be designed such that birds of different ages or species and separated. Older birds may kill chicks by stepping on them or pecking them. Also, other types of birds when mixed with other different types may result in fighting. They should be kept and confined to different rooms/pens.
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