Poultry Housing Indicators & Designs
Poultry Housing Indicators & Designs
Success with raising poultry, whether for eggs or meat, feathers or breeding stock, all of it depends on keeping the birds healthy and vigorous – and one important element in that equation is housing. Good breeding and the best feeding are vitally important but even those factors won’t get you maximum return unless the birds enjoy the best possible, disease-free, environment. And that points to housing. Location, and aspect (including design) of the poultry house will determine most of the environmental conditions you need because your birds will be spending a great deal of their lives indoors. Poor egg laying, low fertility, low percentage hatching, slow growth and many bothersome diseases can all be attributed to poor housing badly located.
In figure 1 it shows examples of mistakes in construction. House no. 1 has windows too low and needs ventilation above them, certain designs of which might soak up some sun. The front of no. 2 falls away and will likely be an annoyance, plus it lacks proper ventilation. In no. 3 the glass surface is too great and will make it too hot in summer and too cold in winter. You might make this work by having some of those windows curtained with muslin or burlap. or tight screening. No. 4 lacks ventilation and won’t bring in enough sunshine. The slope of the roof might make it too warm in summer and that high north wall would make the roosts too cold.
Consideration needs to begin with location. Pick a well-drained site, away from granaries, corn cribs and barns as these will likely attract rats and vermin. A sunny location with some protection from wind is ideal. You want your birds to have dry warm feet, so build with drainage in mind. And make sure the floor is dry. Cement with litter over the top is fine. If you have a board floor make sure it is elevated to avoid the wicking of moisture.
You need good ventilation but without drafts. The open front or curtain front houses are preferred for this purpose. The open windows should be covered, first, with poultry netting and then a cloth cover of some sort. Make these window/covers so they may be opened during nice weather and closed for inclement weather. A bird for its size consumes more fresh air than any other living creature. Without sweat glands, it perspires through its breathing. A dry cold does less damage to the birds than a moisten laden freezing temperature.
Your birds require plenty of sunshine. Every opportunity needs to be taken to flood the housing with sunlight. Windows should be placed on the southside and as high as possible so that the angle of the sun is taken full advantage of. (See fig. 3)
For roosts use 2×2 or 2×4 material with upper edges slightly rounded. If you hinge them along the top they can be raised to make cleaning of the floor easier. (See No. 4 and 5).
Nests should be removeable. Make sure they are high enough to allow birds to walk beneath them and scratch for feed. Best size is 12 inches wide and 15 inches high (12 inches deep). See fig. 6 and 7.
Poultry houses should be cleaned and disinfected once a week under normal conditions, daily if diseased.
- For 10 birds = 10 square feet per bird.
- For 20 birds = 8 sf per bird.
- For 30 = 6 sf per bird.
- For 40 birds = 5 sf per bird.
- For 100 birds = 4 sf per bird.
The Ohio house (figure 12) is 30’ x 20’, 6’ high in front, 4.5’ in back and 10’ high at peak. It is big enough for 175 to 200 hens.
The Purdue house (Figure 14) is 12’ deep x 10’ wide, 6.5’ in front and 5’ high in back. It is suitable for 25 hens.
The Missouri house (Figure 18) is for 100 to 150 hens and is 20’ square. The ridge is 11’ and the sides are 5’.
The Oregon house is for 500 hens and measures 16’ x 100’, 7’ high at front, 5’ high at rear and 10’ at peak. It provides 3 sf per bird and requires that if feature a full open front.
The Storr’s Laying contest house (Fig. 23) is 12 feet square, 6 feet at the eaves and 8’4” at ridge. It is divided into two sections and makes a good house for a back lot raiser as well as a first class house for two mated pens. Ten birds are kept in each compartment.