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Saturday, 8 March 2014

Farmers advised on poultry house construction

By Bob Aston
Disabled poultry farmers from Kagaa village in Laikipia County were on March 5, 2014 taught about poultry house construction. Speaking during the training Peter Mukono, Livestock Officer in Sipili said that in order to take good care of chicken, a house that has been designed specifically for them is vital.
Mukono said that one should select an area with shade and windbreaks to protect birds from the hot sun and strong wind. The place selected should be secure to protect birds from predators while rectangular houses should run east to west to avoid the hot afternoon sun. Grass and bushes should be cleared in a three meter radius to keep snakes and rats away.
Poultry house constructed using timber

“Most farmers do not know how to construct good chicken houses. It does not cost a lot of money to build a house as most of the materials required are locally available,” said Mukono.
Mukono said that a good poultry house should be built where there is a good water source and well insulated building, equipped with proper ventilation, heating, lighting, feeding and watering system.
Mukono said that density of birds per unit area is the most important basic principle in housing, as the space available determines the number and type of poultry that can be kept. Cramped conditions lead to diseases, cannibalism and leaving weaker birds deprived of feed or perch space. One square metre should be able to house five chicken.
A well-lit poultry house is essential. Light is important for feeding, as poultry identify food by sight. Light is also important for sexual maturity. Egg production will decrease when light intensity is low.
Ventilation in a poultry house supplies fresh air that is essential to sustain life. It also helps reduce the extremes of temperature, humidity and air contamination to tolerable limits for confined chicken.
 “A stable climate and sufficient ventilation boosts both profit and productivity as it will secure the best possible growth rate,” said Mukono.
The floor of the poultry house should be dry. Place soft bedding, such as wood shavings, on top of flooring to lessen strain on chicken’s feet. A scratching area should be provided to ease the cleanup of manure and decrease smell.
Chicken feeding in a poultry house
To avoid excessive competition and minimize eggs laid on the floor, one nest should be provided for every five hens. The dimensions should be slightly larger than the chicken. A slanted roof to deter buildup of manure should be placed over the nest boxes to ensure comfort and privacy to the birds.
Perching space of 15 to 20 cm should be allowed for each bird. The cross-section of each perch bar should be 2 to 3 cm. Their length depends upon the number of birds to be housed. The perches should be treated with waste oil or kerosene to keep away parasites.
Mukono said that poultry house should be built in such a way that they are easy to clean. This will ensure that the poultry are protected against diseases and parasites. One should use ash or acaricide to disinfect and kill parasites from the walls and cracks regularly.
“When you construct a house as instructed you will not have any problems. Make sure the house is kept clean to prevent outbreak of poultry diseases,” said Mukono.
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