Poultry housing systems
Generally four systems of poultry housing followed among the poultry keepers. The type of housing adopted depends to a large extent on the amount of ground and the capital available.
Types of poultry housing:
It is the oldest one and has been used for centuries by general farmers, where there is no shortage of land. This system allows great but not unlimited, space to the birds on land where they can find an appreciable amount of food in the form of herbage, seeds and insects. Birds are protected from predatory animals and infectious diseases including parasitic infestation. At present due to advantages of intensive methods the system is almost obsolete.
Where the amount of free space available is limited this system is adopted, but it is necessary to allow the birds 20-30 square yards per bird of outside run. Wherever possible this space should be divided giving a run on either side of the house of 10-15 square yards per bird, thus enabling the birds to move onto fresh ground.
This system of housing is an innovation of recent years. In portable folding units birds being confined to one small run, the position is changed each day, giving them fresh ground and the birds find a considerable proportion of food from the herbage are healthier and harder. For the farmer the beneficial effects of scratching and manuring on the land is another side effect.
The most convenient folding unit to handle is that which is made for 25 hens. A floor space of 1 square foot should be allowed for each bird in the house, and 3 square feet in the run, so that a total floor space to the whole unit is 4 square feet per bird, as with the intensive system.
A suitable measurement for a folding house to take 25 birds is 5 feet wide and 20 feet long, the house being 5 x 5, one-third of the run. The part nearest the house is covered in and the remaining 10 open with wire netting sides and top.
This system is usually adopted where land is limited and expensive. In this system the birds are confined to the house entirely, with no access to land outside. This has only been made possible by admitting the direct rays of the sun on to the floor of the house so that part of the windows are removable, or either fold or slide down to permit the ultraviolet rays to reach the birds. Under the intensive system, Battery (cage system) and Deep litter methods are most common.
This is the most intensive type of poultry production and is useful to those with only a small quantity of floor space at their disposal. In the battery system each hen is confined to a cage just large enough to permit very limited movement and allow her to stand and sit comfortably. The usual floor space is 14 x 16 inches and the height, 17 inches. The floor is of standard strong galvanised wire set at a slope from back to the front, so that the eggs as they are laid, roll out of the cage to a receiving gutter. Underneath is a tray for droppings. Both food and water receptacles are outside the cage.
Many small cages can be assembled together, if necessary it may be multistoried. The whole structure should be of metal so that no parasites will be harbored and thorough disinfection can be carried out as often as required. Provided the batteries of cages are set up in a place which is well ventilated, and lighted, is not too hot and is vermin proof and that the food meets all nutritional needs, this system has proved to be
Deep litter system:
In this system the poultry birds are kept in large pens up to 250 birds each, on floor covered with litters like straw, saw dust or leaves up to depth of 8-12 inches. Deep litter resembles to dry compost. In other words, we can define deep litter, as the accumulation of the material used for litter with poultry manure until it reaches a depth of 8 to 12 inches. The build-up has to be carried out correctly to give desired results, which takes very little attention.
Suitable dry organic materials like straw (needs to be cut into 2 or 3 inch lengths), saw dust, leaves, dry grasses, groundnut shells, broken up maize stalks and cobs, bark of trees in sufficient quantity to give a depth of about 6 inches in the pen should be used.
The droppings of the birds gradually combine with the materials used to build up the litter. In about 2 months, it has usually become deep litter, and by 6 months it has become built-up deep litter. At about 12 months of old stage it is fully built up. Extra litter materials can be added to maintain sufficient depth.
The deep litter pen should be started when the weather is dry, and is likely to remain so for about 2 months for the operation of the bacterial action, which alters the composition of the litters. Start new litter with each years pullets and continue with it for their laying period.
Advantages of Deep Litter System:
Basic Rules for deep litter system: