Broiler chicken houses come in various sizes – depending on how many broilers you wish to raise. Broiler chickens are chickens that are grown for eating. Layer hens are raised for egg production. A layer house is generally higher and wider than a broiler house – so as to accommodate the layer cages. When you buy your day old chicks you will need to decide whether you are doing free range chickens, organic chickens or intensive chicken farming – for intensive chicken farming the chicks are often de-beaked – for organic and free range you may not use chicks that have been debeaked.
How big should the chicken house be?
To work out how big you house should be you need to decide how many chickens you want to place per square meter – 12 broilers per square meter is safe – 15 broilers per square meter is acceptable and 20 chickens per square meter is pushing your luck.
Lets say you have decided on 15 broiler chickens per square meter for you chicken house. You now decide you want to raise a 1000 broilers. Divide 1000 broilers by 15 chickens per square meter – 1000 / 15 = 70 (rounded up) – 70 square meter chicken house is required.
Next you look at the space you have available to erect a broiler house. Lets say your plot is 20 meters long and 10 meters wide. You will need a long narrow house. A good size would be a 12m x 6m house – 12 x 6 = 72 square meters. You will need to take into account space for the concrete floor (not critical but really helpful). The floor, or apron, should be at least 1/2 a meter wider than the structure – 1m is better if you can afford it. The concrete mix should be strong enough, so that when you scrub the floor every 6 weeks at the end of the cycle, the concrete does not wear. A wider section at the front of the house is also advised – this is where your foot bath will go – and will give you space when cleaning and feeding.
Poultry houses and broiler houses come in almost any size – a few standard widths are 6m and 3m – lengths are 6m, 12m, 15m, 21m, and 30m. Playing around with the length and breadth you can easily find a suitable size broiler chicken house. If you plan to start a commercial chicken farm then you will use a steel structure with bricks – this could be an open environment chicken house or a closed environment broiler house. Small steel structures do not need building plans or engineers certificates – but large poultry structures do. How many chickens you place will determined the size of your broiler house – the other way to work out how many broilers you will need is to work from a budget – how big a chicken house can you afford. If you buy wisely the house will be able to be extended – so rather start with a wider steel structure and add on as you need. Remember that the broilers will cycle every 6 – 8 weeks – you will need 2 weeks to clean and allow the house to stand empty after cleaning. You will need to put new shavings in and also clean, scrub and sanitise all the poultry equipment in the chicken coop before you place new day old chickens. If you plan to supply chickens for slaughter every week you will need 6 chicken houses – one for every week and then 2 for the 2 weeks that the hen houses need to stand empty. If you are planning a large chicken house – you will need to break down the chain feeding systems (troughs and couplers, motors) and the nipple drinking system – this take time! Do not think you can shorten the standing and cleaning time – your day olds will die if the coop is not properly cleaned and dried. The only way to shorten the process is to sell lighter birds – this means that they will only be in the house for 4 or 5 weeks – depending on the finished weight you plan to sell. This is driven by the needs of your customer – what weight chicken do they want to buy? Generally super markets want medium size birds – some of the chicken take always want small, and others want large – do your market research first – don’t wait until your hens are ready for sale and then try and find a customer – you may need to send them to an abattoir first – depending on the arrangement you have with the client. Another place to sell chicken meat is by a contract – you approach the larger chicken suppliers like Rainbow and get a contract – beware of this though – they are very strict about how your poultry farm, and what poultry equipment you can use.