A proper poultry house is very important to the success of a poultry business. Poultry can be raised in free- range and indoor production systems. In the case of an indoor production system, the management environment is very important. Poultry needs precise management and the environment to achieve better production and welfare.
Regardless of whether poultry is raised indoors or outdoors, ensure good management, ventilation, lighting, temperature, and litter conditions.
For small- scale poultry production, mobile houses are the best, which is an organic method. But for sustainable commercial poultry production, properly planned and designed poultry houses are very important to maintain poultry health and productivity, as they will increase agricultural production and income.
Factors to Consider for a Good Chicken House
Here, I will describe in detail the factors when building a good chicken house for your poultry.
A good poultry house system must be weather resistant. The weather resistant chicken coop system will protect the birds from harsh weather conditions such as cold, rain, wind and scorching sun. The poultry house system must have facilities to provide heat, especially during the rearing period and winter.
There should be facilities to protect poultry from harmful predators. The different types of innovative poultry houses are designed for poultry operations. It can be just a simple home, a mobile or portable home, or a fixed home with a permanent foundation.
An adult chicken has a body temperature of about 105° to 107° Fahrenheit. They can maintain their body temperature and grow well in the thermoneutral zone between 65° and 75° Fahrenheit. If the temperature is lower or higher than in this area, the temperature must be controlled anyway.
Chickens reduce their feed consumption rate in hot climates. They do not have sweat glands. Therefore, in hot weather conditions, the growth of poultry will be reduced. They started panting at 85 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Drink water frequently to avoid dehydration.
High temperatures and high humidity are difficult to combine, because in this case, panting will not cool the chicken’ s body. In some countries, hot weather is more harmful than cold weather. The hot weather in poultry and broilers must be strictly controlled because they grow very fast and can not tolerate high temperatures. In summer, you must keep enough fresh drinking water in your house. In winter, heaters are used to heat the poultry house system.
Most farmers do not use heaters to heat the chicken coops, but rely on the body temperature of the poultry.
Poultry consume more feed in winter because they need more energy to keep their bodies warm and protected from the cold. Most farmers provide more food for poultry instead of heating their houses.
Because the cost of providing more feed is lower than the cost of heating the house. However, you can use electric heaters or gas chicks to heat the poultry breeding area.
Put a thermometer in each chicken house to measure the daily temperature and keep an eye on the weather forecast.
Good ventilation in the poultry house system plays a very important role in controlling the indoor environment. Eliminate moisture, heat, gas, etc. and bring fresh air into the chicken house.
You can design ventilation systems using natural and artificial methods. The majority of farmers use natural ventilation for poultry production. In the natural ventilation system, large windows and side curtains can be opened in hot weather to ensure fresh air intake and keep the house cool.
The chicken coop helps to expel the hot air. A ceiling at least six feet above the ground is adequate for this purpose.
Controlling natural ventilation is more difficult than artificial methods. In winter, establish a proper ventilation system to keep the chickens warm and remove moisture and gases such as ammonia from the house.
Most farmers close windows and side curtains in winter because warm air contains more moisture than cold air. However, you should let a small amount of air into a high- humidity house once or twice a day. With an artificial ventilation system, you can fully control the air flow in the poultry house system. But this system is not suitable for free- range chicken houses.
Lighting is also a very important element in poultry farming. Poultry become very sensitive to light. Light helps poultry to increase productivity, find food and simulates them for reproduction.
In addition to light, poultry also need a period of darkness to maintain their health and produce melatonin which is very important for immune function. Almost all types of poultry require 8 hours of darkness and 16 hours of light. Almost all poultry producers use only natural light to illuminate their chicken coops.
Darkness is suitable for some fast- growing broiler breeds, helps reduce leg diseases and strengthens their body structure. However, poultry chicks need 24 hours of light every day after hatching to find food and water in the pot. Some commercial broiler producers use long- term lighting to encourage chickens to consume more food.
This causes the broilers to grow very quickly. Broilers and poultry do not eat or drink water in the dark. If poultry are left in the dark for a period of time, they will be more active in light than during continuous light and will eat more food. This is good practice because it keeps poultry healthy. Depending on the natural light, you should use artificial light.
In small- scale poultry farming, you can use 14- 16 hours of light for laying hens depending on the season, 4- 6 hours of artificial light per day.
But the lighting time should not exceed the longest day of the year. Be very careful to keep the layers’ breeding time light, otherwise they will lay or stop laying eggs soon.
You can use the automatic controller to maintain the normal lighting time. Because if you forget to turn on the light manually, it may interfere with egg production and meat production of poultry.
Waterproof plugs are always used in poultry house systems. It is more effective to keep the lights in the chicken house for a period of time in the morning than at night.
Adjust the lighting time according to weather conditions and seasons. Use batteries or solar systems to illuminate the chicken coop in places where there is no electricity or a lot of load shedding.
Litter management is very important for successful poultry farming and obtaining the required yield. Sand is commonly used to cover the floor of a poultry house system, which can be made of concrete, wood, or clay.
Sand absorbs moisture from the closet and dilutes the feces. It can also be used as a litter for poultry. Rice husk and cork shavings are commonly used by farmers all over the world.
In addition to this, you can also use some other materials to make garbage, such as recycled newspapers, sand, dry wood fibers, chopped pine grass, peanut shells, etc.
Small- scale poultry farmers also use other materials, such as hay and straw, as bedding for poultry. No matter what you use, always try to use materials that are good for the health of poultry and compost.
The sand contains approximately 20% to 30% moisture and a depth of approximately 2 to 4 inches. Ventilate the pulse well, which will help remove moisture from the sand.
High humidity in litter is very harmful to the health of poultry. Wet litter can cause ulcers and blisters in poultry, and produces ammonia, making it difficult for poultry to breathe.
Use aluminum sulfate or hydrated lime to reduce ammonia in garbage. After the material is properly dried, you can use the sand repeatedly.
But if the disease affects the poultry farm, do not use used litter. After selling the poultry, remove the used garbage from the house with a machine or by hand.
This bed can be used as a good compost for growing crops on farmland. In some areas, poultry manure and litter are very valuable and are an additional source of cash income.
Dry poultry manure contains 3. 84% nitrogen, 2. 01% phosphorus and 1. 42% potassium. In short, poultry manure is very suitable for fertilizing the soil and can be used in organic farming systems.
These are common considerations when creating a suitable poultry house system for your poultry. When building a house for your birds, follow everything very carefully.