Suitable poultry housing is very important for successful poultry farming. Poultry can be raised in both free range and indoor production systems. In indoor production system it is very crucial to manage the environment. Poultry needs accurate management and environment for better production and welfare. Whether the poultry raised in indoor or outdoor system, make sure the well management of ventilation, lighting, temperature, litter condition etc. For a small scale poultry production, portable houses are best and this is an organic method. But for sustainable commercial poultry production planned poultry housing is very essential to keep the poultry healthy and productive. And this will increase the farming production income.
A good poultry house must have to be weather proof. This system will keep the poultry from the elements like cold, rain, wind, hot sun etc. The poultry house should have the facilities of providing warmth, particularly during brooding period. The house should be well ventilated. Must have to have the facilities of protecting the poultry from predators. Different types of innovative poultry housing design are used in poultry farming
. It may be just simple house, mobile or portable house and fixed houses with permanent foundation.
An adult chicken contain about 105-107 F temperature in their body. The chickens can maintain their body temperature and grow very well in a thermoneutral zone of 65-75 F. If the temperature is under or higher than this zone then it must be controlled in some way. Chickens reduce their food consumption in hot weather. They have no sweat glands. As a result the growth of poultry will be less in hot weather. They begin panting at or above 85 F temperature. Drink water frequently to keep them free from dehydration. It is very difficult to combining between high temperature and high humidity, because in those conditions panting does not make the body of chicken cool. In some countries high heat is very harmful than cold weather. Heat must be controlled strictly for broiler poultry farming as they are very fast growing and can’t tolerate high temperature. The farmer should keep sufficient cool drinking water in the house during summer season.
During winter season use heaters for heating the poultry house. Most of the farmers do not use heaters to heat the house and depend on the body warmth of poultry for heating. The poultry consume more feed in winter season, because they need more energy to keep their body warm and keep them free from cold. Most farmer provide the poultry more food instead of heating the house. Because feeding more feed cost’s less than heating the house. However electric heaters or gas brooders can be used for the purpose of heating the poultry house. Keep a thermometer in every poultry house to measure the daily temperature and always follow the weather forecasts.
Well ventilation plays a very vital role to control the indoor environment of poultry house. It removes moisture, heat, gas etc. and brings fresh air inside the poultry house. Ventilation can be designed in both natural and artificial (mechanical) methods. Most farmers use natural ventilation for poultry production. In natural ventilation system wide windows, side curtains can be opened to ensure the entrance of fresh air to make the house cold during summer season (hot weather). A pair of vent in the roof of poultry house help to remove the hot air. A roof of at least six feet height from the floor is suitable for this purpose. Controlling natural ventilation is more difficult than artificial method. In winter season ventilation system should make to remove moister and gas like ammonia from the house and preserve heat. Most farmer close the windows and side curtains during winter season because warm air holds more moisture than cold air. However, the farmer should bring small amount of air inside the house with high moisture once or twice a day. In artificial ventilation system we can fully control the movement of air in the poultry house. But this system is not suitable for free range chicken housing.
Light is a vary important element for poultry and they become very sensitive to light. Light helps poultry to be productive, finding food and simulating them for reproduction. Besides light, the poultry also need dark period for keeping good health and producing melatonin hormone which is very important for immune function. Almost all types of poultry birds require 8 hours darkness and 16 hours presence of light. Almost all farmer use only the natural light for lighting the poultry house. Darkness is helpful for some fast growing broiler and helps them to reducing leg disorders and build their body frame. However, baby chicken requires 24 hours light daily to finding food and water pot. Some commercial broiler poultry producer uses long light period to encourage the bird consuming more feed. This results very fast growing of broilers. Broiler poultry do not eat food and drink water in the dark. If the poultry birds are kept in darkness for some moment then they will be more active in light than continuous light and eat more food. This is a good practice and it keep the poultry healthy. In accordance with natural light the farmer needs to use artificial light. In general small scale poultry rearing, farmer use 14-16 hours of light for layer poultry where artificial light is needed for 4-6 hours daily depending on the season. But the lighting time should not be more than the longest day of the year. Maintain the light period for layer poultry farming very carefully, otherwise they will lay eggs very soon or stop laying eggs. Use incandescent or fluorescent bulb for the purpose of artificial light. Fluorescent bulbs are very expensive than incandescent bulb. But fluorescent bulbs are very energy efficient and long lasting. However, use bulb according to your choice and demand. In the case of incandescent bulb use a 60 watt bulb for 200 square feet area and use a wide reflector always to maximize the light. Clean the bulbs regularly. The farmer should use a controller, because if he forget to switch on the light manually, then it can hamper the egg and meat production of poultry. Always use waterproof sockets in the poultry house. Lighting the poultry house in morning is very effective instead of lighting in evening. Adjust the lighting period according to the weather condition and season. Where there is no electricity or load shedding is very high use batteries, heriken or solar panel for lighting the poultry house.
For successful poultry farming and desired production litter management is very important. Usually the litter is used for covering the floor of poultry house which may be made of concrete, wooden or earthen. It absorbs the moister of closet and dilutes the manure. It also works as the bed for the poultry bird. Rice hulls and soft wood shavings are the common materials used by the farmers around the world. Besides this some farmer use some other materials for the purpose of making titter like recycled newspaper, sand, dried wood fiber, chopped pine straw, peanut hulls etc. Small scale poultry farmer also use some other material like hay and straw in poultry litter. Always try to use those materials which are healthy for poultry and compost well. A good litter contain about 20-30% moisture and depth about 2-4 inch. Ventilate the pulse very well and it will help to remove moisture from the litter. High moisture in litter is very harmful for poultry health. Wet litter causes some problem like sores, and blister on poultry and produce ammonia gas which hampers the respiratory system of poultry. Use aluminum sulfate or hydrated lime to reduce ammonia gas from the litter. So, don’t use the re-used litter and if any disease occurred in the poultry farm. After selling the poultry remove the used litter from poultry house by machine or hand. This litter can be used as a good manure in the agricultural land for crop cultivation. In some area poultry manure and litter is very valuable and an extra source of earning cash. Dry poultry manure contain 3.84% nitrogen, 2.01% phosphorus and 1.42% potassium. In a word poultry manure is very suitable to make soil fertile and it can be used in organic farming.