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 in 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%. During cost seasons, they would suffer from the cold. Likewise, they would suffer from adverse heat during hot seasons.
During this period, poultry was not considered a major category of livestock. Attention to this popular livestock category began in the mid-1920s, which saw the development of specialized chicken housing, improvement in productivity. The mortality rate also dropped.
The need for poultry and chicken housing.
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.
- Ensure proper feeding. The farmer is able to give enough feed to the chickens if they are housed.
- 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.
- Maximize production.
Types of poultry housing.
The type of poultry housing depends on the stage in life and also their purpose.
- 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 – Used to house layers from 18 weeks to 72 weeks.
- Broiler house - Used to house broilers up to 6 weeks of age
- Breeder house - Used o house make and female birds in the proper ratio. The purpose of this is mating.
The above categories can be environmentally controlled (EC) so as to provide the optimal conditions for growth and production.
We will be updating this article to include:-
- Optimal conditions for broilers
- Optimal conditions for layers
- Optimal conditions for free-range and pastured chicken
- Choosing the location for the poultry house and the layout of the poultry farm
- Poultry housing systems
- Floor space requirements
- Sample poultry house designs
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