Key considerations in construction of good poultry houses

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  • Available capital determines the size and type of house a farmer can afford
  • Level of information/ technical expertise available to the farmers determines the type and quality of poultry units. Good access to quality advise leads to construction of good but affordable housing units. Poor technical advice may lead to construction of unsuitable housing units.
  • Land size available or accessible for the poultry enterprise determines how many birds can be reared. To rear more birds with limited land, more intensive housing systems are recommended. The size of land guides the number of housing units and the spacing between the birds. Provision must be made for manure and or waste disposal.
  • Objective of the poultry enterprise determines the type of housing. Subsistence or hobby farming is characterized by smaller and at times poor or complex housing units. Commercial establishments construct with long term commercial and safety viability.
  • Biosecurity requirements is a key consideration to guide the orientation and siting of the poultry houses. The house construction must provide for isolation of the poultry unit from possible sources of disease introduction to the farms while allowing for cleaning and disinfection of the units.
  • Types of birds to kept determines the spacing requirements and type of housing to be established. Laying birds reared intensively require less space than semi free range to free range birds. Broilers require less space than layers, indigenous and dual-purpose breeds.
  • Objective of the enterprise. If birds are to be reared as a commercial enterprise then housing construction must provide for optimum comfort to ensure health, productivity and longevity.
  • Targeted total flock size in the farm determines the siting and size of different housing units. The siting must allow for movement control and flock separation. If the targeted maximum flock population is anticipated, suitable guidance can be provided on the minimum number of housing units in the farm.
  • Rearing method determines the type and design of housing units.
  • Level of mechanization determines the house design, construction and management. Drinker and or feeding automation calls for establishment of structures to support the bins and water storage and distribution units. Automation of manure disposal and egg collection will influence the design of battery cages
  • The environmental condition. Warm environments dictate provision of elaborate space for natural air flow to cool down the houses, remove waste gases and remove dust. Colder environments call for houses to be constructed to minimize draughts, allow for adequate ventilation and provision of warmth.
  • Site Selection. Good site for a poultry house construction must be well drained, not in direct line to surface run-off, easily accessible by road to deliver supplies and services and collect farm products. A good site should be away from other farms and human settlements but with reliable water and power supply. The site should allow for ease of expansion of the poultry enterprise.
  • Orientation of poultry houses should have shorter sides facing East – West to protect the birds from rains, winds and direct sunlight.
  • Construction material is determined by how much capital the farmer has and availability of raw materials in the area. In areas with a lot of timber, farmers tend to construct timber houses. In areas close to quarries, preference is for stone walled houses. Grass/straw thatched houses are common in coastal areas.
  • Site Security: The poultry rearing area should be fenced off to ward off vermins, predators and unwanted human interactions.
  • Farm isolation: The farm should be away from human settlement but accessible to allow for at least 3 visits per day. The farm should be close enough to enable the manager or owner to detect and respond to emergencies. The attendant must be able to hear any abnormal noises from poultry units and detect abnormal activities in or around the poultry units.
  • Layer and broiler house layout are similar except that layers require double spacing to broilers and layer houses have provisions for laying boxes.
  • Construction quality for the walls, roof and floor should be good to protect the birds from environmental stressors like rain, wind, sunlight, run-off, vermins, predators and thieves.
  • Layer and broiler house equipment depends on housing system thus the construction should allow for provision of suitable type of equipment.
  • Ventilation systems depends on the environmental conditions and poultry rearing and housing systems. In tropical climate, open sided poultry units are recommended to utilize the air flow to maintain good conditions within the poultry units. The walls are normally open on long sides to varying levels but protected by adequate roof overlap to prevent negative effects of rainfall, winds and sunlight.