How big should my chicken house be?


How big should my chicken house be?

The size of your chicken house is determined by 3 things.

How much money you have to spend

The bigger the chicken house or layer house the more money it will cost. The fancier the poultry equipment you use – the more it will cost. Poultry equipment like poultry heaters and fans can quickly add up. Automatic feeding and drinking systems like nipple drinking systems and chain feeding systems are expensive to set up, but will save you money in the long run.

How many chickens you want to farm with

In broiler farming you can place up to 15 chickens per square meter. That is for intensive poultry farming. When doing free range farming or Organic farming this figure drops drastically.

When you are doing egg production – the more hens you wish to farm with the more layer cages you will need – generally you can place 5 – 7 hens per cage – depending on the size of the layer cages.

If you want to free range farm or do organic chicken farming you will need much, much more space.

How big your land is

The smaller you chicken farm, the smaller your chicken house or poultry houses will be. If you have more than one chicken house, or you are chicken farming with layers and broilers, you will need to space your houses out accordingly – if they are too close together they will affect each other and the chances of disease increase rapidly. The size of chicken houses and how many chickens is only something you can decide, based on budget and space – starting small, and building you poultry farm up, is an important consideration. Overcrowding the structures is a sure way to fail, although you will need to find the right balance – too few chickens and you will not show a profit. If you are planning on free range farming or organic farming you will need a lot more space than intensive farming. Both of these methods are regulated, and the number of birds you can place per meter, inside and outside the house, is strictly regulated. You will also need space to rotate the land, as chickens will turn the land into a dusty patch very quickly. Plan carefully, it will save you time and money later, and choose your poultry equipment supplier equally carefully, much of the equipment like nipple drinkers and chain feeders are specific to that company, and you will be buying poultry spares and parts for many years to come – make the wrong choice and you may end up spending more on your spares than you should. A solid poultry business plan, like in any business that wants to be successful is a must. Find a business plan template and change it to suit your conditions – finding people who will buy your broiler chickens or eggs, how far are you from feed suppliers and your customers, and cash flow will all play a part in your success – know all of these things before you dive in head long. Broiler chickens and chicken eggs are not something you can store on the shelf – when they are ready they must be sold – or you will lose your money.

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Chicken Houses and poultry equipment

With your own chicken house you can start your own chicken or poultry business! You do not need a huge poultry house to start a broiler or layer business – A small production unit will allow you to grow small numbers of broiler chickens. If you want to do 2500 chickens you will need a 30m x 6m chicken house - if you only want to do 500 chickens you can start with a 3m x 12m chicken house – want to do even less? You could just do some back yard chicken farming with a small hen house or chicken coop.

Tube feeders and bell drinkers hanging in a chicken house

Feeders and drinkers - 12m x 3m chicken house

You could put a 3m x 6m poultry house up at home and you will be able to fit 250 broiler chickens. Whatever size you decide on you will need poultry equipment like bell drinkers, tube feeders, chicken heaters or brooders and fans. A well designed chicken house will come with all the chicken equipment that you need. You will first decide what size house, and then you will need to throw a cement slab – it should be 1m bigger all the way around the poultry house.

A tube feeder allows you to place chicken food in the house that will last a while – as the chickens eat so more food is available – the same with a 4l font or bell drinker. Bell drinkers will need a header tank and a manifold system to supply water to the bell drinker in the chicken house – a 4 litre font will not need anything fancy and is placed on the floor of the poultry house – you will fill the chicken font as needed. All poultry houses over 500 chickens should have a curtaining system. If you want a professional small broiler house you can buy them from Chicken Shack Agencies – they install and erect small production units anywhere in the South Africa. Of course if you want a home chicken coop or hen house we can also help you. Why so few South Africans don’t keep chickens at home is a mystery. Keeping a few laying hens in the garden is an excellent way to supplement your diet – and your eggs will be free range, or even organic. Back yard chickens are easy – they look after themselves and if they are ranging free you only need to by a little layer mash to supplement their diet, and then your eggs are for free. Broiler chickens are a little different – easy to raise and look after – just a bit more hassle when it comes to slaughter time – if you are squeamish you will have to find an abattoir – although most South Africans have no problem with slaughtering at home – you may have a problem with your neighbors, or the by laws in your area.

If you plan to put up a big chicken house or poultry house you will need to check your zoning – residential areas will not allow large scale poultry farming – but a small chicken coop, or hen house should be no problem. Chicken farming on a large scale is a science, and should not be entered into lightly - it will take time and commitment, as if things go wrong on a poultry farm, they go wrong quickly and usually in a big way – it is easy to lose your flock in one go to some poultry disease.

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