Poultry housing and chicken houses in South Africa are traditionally built from brick and mortar with a steel roof. Small broiler houses and layer houses are made from steel. Steel structures are relatively inexpensive to erect and it is easy to fit poultry curtains and other poultry equipment. There are several manufacturers of small chicken houses – many of the manufacturers are not experts in the poultry field, and with a result, many of the small steel structures are unsuitable for poultry.
There are certain requirements for both layer houses and broiler houses. These are not the same and require a certain knowledge of poultry farming to build correctly. A layer house is higher than a broiler house and the curtain openings are larger. The width of the layer house must be such that you can fit layer cages into the chicken house and have enough room to push an egg trolley in between the layer cages.
The chicken house must be strong enough to handle a water tank on the roof and in South Africa, strong enough for high winds. The house must face in the right direction – otherwise the sun will shine directly on the chickens – in a broiler house the chickens have a chance to move out of the sun, whilst in a layer house with layer cages the birds are trapped in direct sunlight. Not good for egg production.
When doing the layout of your chicken farm there are certain things to bear in mind. Wind direction, sun direction, access roads, fencing around the farm and around the chicken house, pposition of store rooms and feed storage units, position of mortality pit and wind direction amongst many other factors. Whilst each of these may seem a small issue on it’s own, the combination of all of the will be the difference between a successful poultry operation and a chicken farm that just makes ends meet.