Basics of Poultry Housing (Part I)

Poultry housing is perhaps the most basic thing a poultry farmer needs to master. Its purpose is to provide chickens with a healthy and comfortable environment that’s clean, dry and secure.

Let us share with you the nitty-gritties of poultry housing courtesy of a post from the website of farmer’s weekly. We divided the post into two parts.

Positioning Poultry House

In order to control temperature effectively a naturally ventilated house must be built in a north/south direction.

That is, the longer sides must face north and south, the shorter, brick sides east and west.

As the sun rises, the house is heated evenly and chickens do not compete for heat as a uniform environment is created.

The long sides must also have an opening that runs the length of the house. This helps with the exchange of gasses.

Carbon dioxide for one, emitted from wet chicken litter, has to escape the house as it moves upward.

If it stays trapped it can lead to the growth of harmful pathogens and influence the productivity of layers and growth rate of broilers.

The opening must face north because in South Africa strong winds usually do not come from a northerly direction, and this precaution will also help limit the possibility of a strong wind lifting the roof of off the chicken house.

Chickens do not like wind anyway. Any disruption to their comfort will affect their feed intake and, as a result, their weight gain or egg production.

The opening must be covered in mesh to prevent the entry of wild birds, which can transmit diseases to chickens.


Egg or broiler producers must consider what the size their operation is going to be before they build a house.

A too-large house will need more input costs and require additional equipment and electricity to heat it during cold periods. Rather begin small and build additional houses as production increases.

Each house must be large enough to allow 8m² to 12m² per chicken. If no space is available for movement uneven sized chickens will be raised and they will be more difficult to market.

A chicken house must be built high enough for labourers to walk upright when they’re inside.

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