The materials which are used should be:
- durable (lasting)
- easy to handle and easy to repair if damaged
- readily available and as cheap as possible
Building and repairs should preferably be carried out by the poultry farm itself in order to reduce costs.
- The width of the house should generally not exceed 9 metres when only natural ventilation is used. The length depends on the number of chickens that is going to be kept and the available building space.
The height of the poultry house should not be less than 2 metres anywhere in order to make the house easily accessible everywhere (without stooping). Moreover it provides more volume to the house resulting in a better air quality.
- The floor should be made of concrete (this is the ideal floor for a chicken house because it is easy to clean) or be filled with 50 cm (sharp) sand. Wire netting should be placed under and around a floor made of sand in order to keep rats and other predators out.
- In hot climates at least 3 sides should be open (wire netting!) in order to have enough fresh air (ventilation) for the chickens.
By means of boards or mats the sides may be temporarily and partially closed when there are young chickens inside.
- The roof should protect the chickens against direct sunlight and rain and for that reason it should extend the walls for about 50 cm beyond the wall. The roof may be ridged or slope to one side. If the roof is ridged, this ridge should be open to permit heat to escape (the natural ventilation is im-proved by the stack effect).
- The chickens should be protected against too much heat during the day. For that purpose a heat insulating layer may be installed under the roof. However, this is relatively expensive and gener-ally not very effective.
Materials which insulate rather well are cotton fibre board, PVC and certain plant materials such as palm leaves.
The canopy of tall trees can also cast shade on the roof.
- Besides space for the birds, every (relatively large) chicken house should have
- an entrance room, where people can change footwear and clothing and wash their hands before they go to the birds. Disinfection must take place here;
- a feedstore with enough space for the feed that is needed for the birds for one or two weeks; dryness should be ensured as feed spoils rapidly in moist conditions.
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