Poultry house design
The need for comfortable poultry house can not be overemphasized when it comes to raising chicken. A good poultry house must be able to do the following:
- Protect the flock from rodents like rat
- Provide shield from rain
- Protect the birds from flood
- Protect the birds from direct sun set
- It must have enough space and must be easy to clean.
Having established this basic facts, Let us go back to the books.
I can clearly remember my secondary school days, when we were taught about the three system of keeping animals, the intensive, semi-intensive and the extensive system.
Obviously, in commercial poultry farming our attention is on the intensive system of farming, where the birds are kept within four walls. There are two major system of keeping this birds (both broiler and layers), the cage system and the deep litter system.
In the cage system, the birds are usually grouped in threes or fours depending on the size and design of the cage. This system is better suited for large production, it ensures better environmental control, reduces transfer of disease amidst flock and ensures better feed conversion ratio.
The dip litter system is an housing system where there is repeated spreading of bedding, which allows the bird enjoy minimal comfort in her natural environment.? At intervals the bedding is changed or fresh once are added to it depending on farmers decision and style.
Diverse materials can be used in the construction of poultry housing, varying from woven palm, bamboo sticks,? wood, roofing sheets and even aluminium all depending on available cost and expected life cycle of the pen.
But cost of construction must be as minimal as possible.
I will briefly address the following key issues, which are to be given adequate consideration when constructing your poultry house.
- Litter Management
I have severally been asked this question : How many birds can i stock in my space? What should be the dimension of my floor to house 1000 layers?, a lot of such question daily. Take this as a quick guide, allocate 1sq meter of space to each broiler and 2sq meter of space to the wonderful mother layer.
That means you can multiply the number of birds by the required square meter to determine required space.
The floor must be constructed in such away as to?
Ventilation and Good environment?
Free flow of fresh air brings about steady growth and improves production, constant smell of ammonia, litter dampness, cobweb? are indication of poorly ventilated environment.
In tropical regions, where the average daily temperature is very high, we strongly advice that the building must not be positioned in such a way as to allow the sun to set directly into the building, the shorter side of the building should be positioned in the direction at which sun sets and the longer side away from sun set (east – west). While the reverse in regions with very low daily temperature to help in quick circulation of heat in the pen
Lighting in Poultry Houses
The availability of good lighting system influence a lot of things, from feed consumption to growth rate, egg production and even skeletal development.
There are basically two sources of light, day light and artificial lighting, availability of good lighting helps to improve overall performance of the birds both layers and broilers.
Using good litter management techniques with effective bio-security will reduce harmful effect of microorganism and improve health of the flock, thereby increasing production.
In construction of our farm, either the deep-litter or cage system, we must put removal of waste from pen to temporal site where they are disposed by virtue of sales, use or been burnt into consideration.?