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Housing Systems of Poultry

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There are four systems of housing generally found to follow among the poultry keepers. The type of housing adopted depends to a large extent on the amount of ground and the capital available.

  1. Free-range or extensive system

  2. Semi-intensive system

  3. Folding unit system

  4. Intensive system

A. Battery system 
B. Deep litter system

Free range system: This method is oldest of all 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, provided they are protected from predatory animals and infectious diseases including parasitic infestation. At present due to advantages of intensive methods the system is almost absolute.

Semi-intensive system: This system is adopted where the amount of free spare available is limited, 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.

Folding unit System: This system of housing is an innovation of recent years. In portable folding unit’s 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 effect of scratching and manuring on the land is another side effect.

The disadvantages are that food and water must be carded out to the birds and eggs brought back and there is some extra labor involved in the regular moving of the fold units. The most convenient folding unit to handle is that which is made for 25 hens. A Floor space of 1 square fool should be allowed for each bird in the house, and 3 square feet in the run, so that a total floor space to 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 Ibis fun. The part nearest the house is covered in and the remaining 10' open with wire netting sides and lop.

Intensive system:

In this system the birds are confined to the house entirely, with no access to land outside, and it is usually adopted where land is limited and expensive.

This has only been made possible by admitting the direct rays of the sun on the floor of the house so that par to the windows are removable, or either fold or slide down like windows of railway train to permit the ultraviolet rays to reach the birds. Under the intensive system, Battery (cage system) and deep litter methods are most common.

A. Battery system: This appliance is the inventor's latest contribution to the commercial egg farmer. 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. Nowadays in large cities hardly a poultry lover can spare open lands for rearing birds. For all such people this system will prove worthy of keeping birds al minimum space.

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 galvanized 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 through disinfection can be carried out as often as required. Provided the batteries of cages are set up in the 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 remarkably successful in [lie tropical countries. It may be that as it requires a minimum expenditure of energy from the bird, which spends its entire item in the shade, it lessens the load of excess body heat. The performance of each bird can be noted and culling easily carried out. Pullets, which are more often used than birds of over one year, should be placed in the cages at least one month before they are expected to lay.

The feeding of birds in cages has to be carefully considered, as the birds are entirely dependent on the mash for maintenance and production. To supply vitamins A and D, cod liver oil, yeast, dried milk powder are useful/ and fish meal or other animal protein, and balanced minerals and some form of grit must be made available.

As in each cage there will be only pullets so one can never expect fertilized eggs, hence the vegetative eggs will be there, which can be preserved for a longer time than fertilized eggs at ordinary room temperature but can never be used for hatching purposes.

B. 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.

Advantages of Deep Litter System:

Safety of Birds: Birds on rage of even in a netted yard can be taken by wild animals, flying birds, etc. When enclosed in deep litter intensive pen which has strong wire netting or expanded metal, the birds and eggs are safe.

Litter as a source of food supply: It may come as surprise to learn that built-up deep litter also supplies some of the food requirements of the birds. They obtain "Animal Protein Factor" from deep litter and some work indicates that this could learn that birds obtain sufficient of this to enable to suitable feed ration to be prepared with only a vegetable protein such as groundnut meal included in the feed. The level of vitamins such as riboflavin increases up to nearly three-fold. According to experiments conducted. The combination of this and the Animal Protein Factor is necessary to good hatchability of eggs and early growth of chickens.

Disease control: Well managed deep litter kept in dry condition with no wet spots around water has a sterilizing action. The level of coccidiosis and worm infestation is much lower watered kept on good deep litter than with birds (or chickens) in bare yards and bare floor sheds particularly where water spillage is allowed.

Labour saving: This is one of the really big features of deep litter usage. Cleaning out poultry pens daily or weekly means quite a lot of work. With correct conditions observed with well managed litter there is no need to clean a pen out for a whole year; the only attention is the regular stirring and adding of some material is needed.

The valuable fertilizer: This is a valuable economic factor with deep litter. According to McArdle and Panda, 35 laying birds can produce in one year about 1 tonne of deep litter fertilizer. The level of nitrogen in fresh manure is about 1%, but on well built-up deep litter it may be around 3 per cent nitrogen (nearly 20% protein). It also contains about. 2 per cent phosphorus and 2 per cent potash, its value is about 3 times that of cattle manure.

Hot weather safeguard: This is an important feature in a hot climate. The litter maintains its own constant temperature, so birds burrow into it when the air temperature is high and thereby cool themselves. Conversely, they can warm themselves in the same way when the weather is very cool. Accordingly, it is a valuable insulating agent.

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Poultry Housing

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Poultry is housed for comfort protection, efficient production and convenience of the poultry man.

Essentials of Good Housing:

Comfort: The best egg production is secured from birds that are comfortable and happy. To be comfortable a house must provide adequate accommodation; be reasonably cool in summer, free-from draft and sufficiently warm during the winter provides adequate supply of fresh air and sunshine; and remain always dry. Given these the hen responds excellently.

Protection: Includes safeguards against theft and attack from natural enemies of the birds such as the fox, dog, cat kite, crow, snake, etc. The birds also should be protected against external parasites like ticks, lice and mites.

Convenience: The house should be located at a convenient place, and the equipment so arranged as to allow cleaning and other necessary operations as required.

Location of Poultry House:

In planning a poultry house, the location should be taken into consideration. In selecting site for poultry houses the following factors should be considered.

  1. Relation to other building: The poultry house should not be close to the home as to create unsanitary conditions. On the other hand it should not be too far away either because this will require more time in going to and for in caring for the birds. In general at least three trips should be made daily to the poultry house in feeding, watering, gathering the eggs, etc.

  2. Exposure: The poultry house should face south or east in moist localities. A southern exposure permits more sunlight in the house than any of the other possible exposures. An eastern exposure is almost as good as a southern one. Birds prefer morning sunlight to that of the afternoon. The birds are more active in the morning and will spend more time in the sunlight.

  3. Soil and drainage: If possible the poultry house should be placed on a sloping hillside rather than a hilltop or in the bottom of a valley. A sloping hillside provides good drainage and affords some protection. The type of soil is important if the birds are to be given a range. A fertile well drained soil is desired. This will be a sandy loam rather than a heavy clay soil. A fertile soil will grow good vegetation which is one of the main reasons for providing range. If the poultry house is located on flat poorly drained soil, the yards should be tiled otherwise the birds should be kept in total confinement.

  4. Shade and Protection: Shade and protection of the poultry house are just as desirable as for the home. Trees serve as a windbreak in the winter and for shade in the summer. They should be tall, with no low limbs. Low shrubbery is no good as in their presence the soil becomes contaminated under the shrubbery, remains damp/ and sunlight cannot reach it to destroy the di ease germs. One thing we should remember that plenty of sun shines should be available at the site.

Housing requirements:

Floor space: The smaller the house the more square feet are required for each hen. Bigger pens have more actual usable floor space per bird than smaller pens. The recommend at as suggested might be useful regarding floor, feeders and watering space.

For economic production of laying hens it is always better to keep them in small unit of 15 to 25 birds. This number can go up to a maximum limit of 250 birds. In commercial poultry farms units of 125 or so are advisable. Where there is a long house, partitioning at every 20 feet should be made to eliminate drafts, etc.

Ventilation: Ventilation in the poultry house is necessary to provide the birds with fresh air and to carry off moisture. Since the fowl is a small animal with a rapid metabolism its air requirements per unit of body is high in comparison with that of other animals. A hen weighing 2 kg and on full feed, produces about 52 liters of CO2 every 24 hours. Since CO2 content of expired air is about 3.5 per cent, total air breathed amounts to 0.5 liter per kg live weight per minute. A house that is a tall enough for the attendant to more around comfortably will supply far more air space than will be required by the bird’s that can be accommodated in the given floor space.

Temperature: Hens need a moderate temperature of 50°F to 70°F. Birds need warmer temperature at night, when they are inactive, than during the day.  The use of insulation with straw pack or other materials, not only keeps the house. Warmer during the winter months but cooler during the summer months Cross ventilation also aids in keeping the house comfortable during hot weather.

Dryness: Absolute dry conditions inside a poultry house is always ideal condition dampness causes discomfort to the birds and also gives rise to the diseases like colds, pneumonic etc. Dampness in poultry house caused by:  (1) moisture rising through the floor; (2) leaky roofs or walls; (3) rain or snow entering through the windows; (4) leaky water containers; (5) exhalation of birds.

Light: Daylight in the house is desirable for the comfort of the birds. They seem more contented on bright sunny days than in dark, cloudy weather. Sunlight in the poultry house is desirable not only because of the destruction of disease germs and for supplying vitamin-D but also because it brightens the house and makes the birds happy. Birds do fairly well when kept under artificial lights.

Sanitations: The worst enemies of the birds, i.e., lice, ticks, fleas and mites are abundant in poultry houses. They not only transmit diseases but also retard growth and laying capacity. The design of the house should be such which admits easy cleaning and spraying. There should be minimum cracks and crevices. Angle irons for the frame and cement asbestos or metal sheets for the roof and walls are ideal construction materials, as they permit effective disinfection of the house. When wood is to be used, every piece should be treated with coaltar, cresol, or similar strong insecticides before being fitted.

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New Castle Disease

It is one of the most dreaded diseases of poultry as it can cause very heavy mortality at a very high speed.

The disease is caused by a virus of paramyxo group and classified into many serotypes based on the virulence.

Chicken is the natural host but vast majority of birds are susceptible to infection including ducks and turkey .


• Depression, prostration, loss of appetite

• Greenish/yellowish diarrhea

• Nervous signs like in coordination, twitching of neck

• Mortality heavy in acute outbrea

Post Mortem Lesions

•  Pin pointed haemorrhages at the tip of proventricular glands

• Hemorrhagic/ diphtheritic ulcers on the intestine and caecal tonsil


Typical lesions are diagnostic. Laboratory diagnosis with hemagglutination and Inhibition tests can be employed.


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Integration Farming

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Integration is a means of providing backward and forward linkage for poultry farming. It is a win win situation wherein the integrating company is able to scale up its production and the farmer gets a good profit and service at doorsteps.

The birds required to be distributed for the backyard poultry scheme is being reared in layer integration farms and broiler required for meat plants are reared in broiler integration farmers. 

The farmers having shed to rear 2000 Sq. Ft and above are eligible will be supplied chicks and feed and will rear the birds under strict protocol of vaccination and health care and the birds reared in case of layer birds will be procured at 35 – 4- days and issued to the selected beneficiaries of the local body through the Veterinary institutions of the Panchayat or for various schemes.
Due to Integration farming the production and production cost has come down. Lesser production cost, higher productivity were the fruits of dual efforts of the Integrating Company and the farmers. 

How much the farmer gets
Rearing charges of Rs. 3/- per live Kg bodyweight for broiler farmers and for layer farmers Rs.3/- per bird for layers is given by Integrating firm (KSPDC).
The farmer manages the farm and meets the expenses of initial shed building cost, cost of equipments such as feeder and waterer. The recurring expense of water and electricity are also met by the farmer. The chicks, feed, medicines are delivered at door steps by the integrating company. Selling of manure is an additional income for farmer. 
Broiler birds are taken back at 40 days of age and layer birds at 35 – 40 days. Integration provides employment to rural and urban youth.

How to apply:
The eligible beneficiaries should give an application to the managing director of KSPDC. After preliminary screening, the senior manager technical will inspect the premises and if favorable sanction will be given after executing an agreement.


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How to Start a Poultry Farm

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Get Financing for your Poultry Farm to Start Quickly

Setting up a poultry farm requires a lot of money, as poultry farming requires an expanse of land a hectare or more wide. You would also have to procure a large herd of chickens that are more than hundreds in number in order to generate the proper returns in income. Fortunately, you can avail yourself of loans that are offered to those that are starting or even those that are already in the business.

The loans can be used to cover these aspects of the business:

  • Start-up costs for the farm
  • Construction expenses
  • Animal feeds
  • Operational expenses that need to be paid urgently.

It is also easy to apply for these loans, as there are lenders that can be found online aside from the local loan providers in your area. The terms and conditions of these loans can also be customized for your needs and your circumstances. You can also choose from secured and unsecured poultry loans. Some lenders will also offer you advice from experts on the poultry business, aside from the monetary aid that you will be getting.

Getting Your Poultry Farm Compliant With Regulations

Another important preparation is to comply with regulations. If you plan on engaging in free range farming, then you have to make sure that the operations of your farm and the treatment of your chickens comply with regulations that are formulated for businesses like yours. Check with your local government agencies regulating laws and regulations promulgated for poultry farms.

Adequate Medical Coverage for Your Chickens

Chickens are just like your children and other animals. To ensure continuous production of chicken and eggs, your chickens should be regularly checked by veterinarians to ensure their health. Sick chickens will negatively affect your production, so it is important to have adequate medical coverage for your poultry animals.

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