Some of the people who received 20% of their savings from NSSF asked Seeds of Gold how they can successfully invest their money in poultry farming.
While seeking advice, Moses Omongole from Jinja district says he wants to invest his money in raising chickens, preferably layers and broilers as they mature faster.
The article below will help Omongole and others on how to build a chicken coop before stocking the birds.
One of the major requirements for farmers who want to get into poultry and chicken farming is the need to house the birds. The poultry farmer must decide what type of housing to build for his chickens, depending on the scale and objectives of the poultry project.
In the early 1900s there was no specified chicken coop as we see today. They were housed in barns with other animals or in a separate house. In Africa they slept in the kitchen area and were left foraging during the day.
The birds were not protected against the undesirable elements, hence the mortality rate reaching 40%. During the cold seasons, they would suffer from the cold. Likewise, they would suffer from unfavorable heat during hot seasons.
The need for keeping poultry and chickens
Annet Kabasindi, a livestock agronomist, says poultry, like any other living creature, needs shelter. “Whether the chickens are free-range, on pasture, or caged, the poultry keeper will need to house the poultry in a way that protects the birds from inclement weather, including heat, rain, and wind,” she says.
Kabasindi says farmers should ensure adequate feed for the birds. “The breeder is able to feed the chickens enough if they are housed,” she says.
Provide a safe place to lay eggs
Implement effective poultry disease control measures. The breeder is able to administer the vaccines and apply the biosecurity measures if the chickens are housed.
Protect the herd from predators and pests. Protection against animals that eat chicken or that can transmit diseases to the flock. Watch the chickens better. This includes measuring progress.
According to Kabasindi, the type of chicken coop depends on the stage of life and also on their purpose.
They include a brooder (used to keep laying chicks from 0 to about 8 weeks old), a grower house (used to house laying chicks from 9 to 18 weeks old), a brooder (used to house laying hens from 0 to 18 weeks old ). at 18 weeks of age), henhouse (layers 18 to 72 weeks old) and henhouse (for males and females in the correct ratio. The purpose is mating).
The design of the open poultry house should follow certain factors in order to ensure optimum productivity of the poultry farm.
The length of the house should be in the east-west direction in order to avoid direct sunshine on the poultry
The total size of the house will depend on the number of birds you want to keep. If using the deep litter system, broilers will need one square foot while layers will need two square feet. For example, if you plan to keep 5,000 broilers in a single barn, the barn plan for the 5,000 chickens should cover 5,000 square feet. If you plan to keep 2,000 layers, the barn plan for 2,000 layers should cover 4,000 square feet.
There is no limit to the length of the chicken coop. This is determined by the number of chickens and the size of the plot
The recommended height for a chicken coop is six to seven feet (eaves) and 10 to 12 feet in the center. If you keep the bird in cages, the height is determined by the levels of the cages.
The width of a chicken coop in tropical regions should not exceed between 25 feet, in order to allow sufficient ventilation in the middle. If the width is more than 25 feet, there won’t be enough ventilation when it’s hot. If you intend to be wider than 25 feet, ridge venting with proper overhang in the middle is required.
Foundation of a chicken coop
It is important to have a well-made foundation in order to prevent water from entering the coop. The foundation should be concrete extending 1 to 1.5 feet below ground and 1 to 1.5 feet above ground.
The floor of a chicken coop should be concrete and free of any moisture. It should extend 1.5 feet outside the wall to deter vermin like rats and snakes
Doors should open to the outside of the barn. The preferred door size is six feet by 2.5 feet. At the entrance there should be a footbath.
The side walls of an open chicken coop should be 1 foot to 1.5 feet. The side wall will protect the chicken from extreme direct wind and rain.
The roof of a chicken coop can be made of any economical roofing material. It can be of any design that allows good air circulation and good water drainage when it rains. The roof overhang should be at least 3.5 feet to prevent rainwater from entering the house.
Lighting in a chicken coop.
Lighting should be placed seven to eight feet, hanging from the roof. Incandescent bulbs should be spaced 10 feet apart while fluorescent lights should be spaced 15 feet apart.
Based on factors such as type of climate, type of poultry farming, available labor, availability of land and cost of land, different poultry housing systems have been developed. They aim to achieve the desired levels of productivity in poultry.
The free-range system is one of the oldest poultry farming systems. It is making a comeback as the demand for organic poultry meat and eggs increases.
Under the free-range system, poultry are free to roam the land, in search of their own food. Water and shade are provided on the beach. At night, the birds can be housed in mobile chicken tractors or temporary structures erected on the range.
Open fields can be used in rotation after crop harvest, where birds are allowed to feed on the field without crops. Under the outdoor system, the recommended number of birds is 250 per hectare.
Under the semi-intensive system, the poultry farmer provides housing with adjoining pens where the birds can feed during the day.
The tracks have plants where the birds feed on the plants and feed on worms and other insects.
Birds receive additional water and feed. Tracks can be used in rotation to allow for plant growth. The recommended stocking density in the semi-intensive system is 750 birds per hectare.
Under the intensive poultry system, the birds are confined to their houses, cages, floor or slats. The intensive system is the most economical system in modern poultry farming because it supports the rearing of large numbers of birds.
The intensive poultry system is divided into several categories, depending on the type of housing. They are: deep litter system, slatted floor system, slatted floor combined with a litter system and a cage system. Deep litter and cage systems are the most common.
The deep litter coop system, as the name suggests, involves keeping the birds on the floor, with litter on the floor. The starting depth of litter is three to five inches, with litter added whenever the bird’s droppings seem to exceed the amount of litter.
The bedding material can be wood chips, rice husks, peanut shells, chopped rice straw, shredded sugarcane, or any other organic material that absorbs moisture well. This method is labor-saving since the bird droppings are never cleaned up. The litter should be agitated periodically. The most important activity in the deep litter system is keeping the litter dry.
Slatted floor system, also known as slotted floor system or mesh floor system, is an intensive poultry house system where the floor is made of slats/slots or wire mesh or metal rods. There are also plastic slats, manufactured in modular form, where they can be joined to cover any desired area.
The floor is raised three feet above the ground allowing droppings to fall through the hole in the slats or wire mesh. The slats are 2.5 cm to 5 cm wide pieces of wood, spaced 2.5 cm apart, crossing the width of the house. The stocking density for the slatted floor system is 5-8 birds per square meter.