What is the minimum number of quarters recommended for a poultry housing unit?
The number of quarters recommended for a poultry house depends on the type of poultry enterprise you intend to carry out, whether commercial layers, broilers or just local chicken. Many poultry farmers have in many occasions constructed poultry structures only to come running asking for advice on recommended designs and specifications. And many have ended up modifying the structures or bringing them down and constructing new ones altogether, which is costly and often demoralizing.
To avoid this, it is important to obtain the approved poultry designs and specifications for poultry before engaging in construction of poultry houses. As earlier stated, these structures depend on the commercial poultry enterprise that you intend to implement. The popular poultry enterprises currently in Kenya are commercial layers, broilers and local chicken and I want to confine myself to these.
Normally a one quartered house will suffice but the size will depend on the number of birds. A 7.8m x 3.9m can accommodate 200 birds and the length of the house can be extended by 3.9m for every 100 birds. A larger operation will require a bigger house with a store for keeping inputs, offices and other amenities. See space requirements for chicken.
Broilers will require single quarters for groups up to 500 birds because they are disposed off into the market once they attain the required size. This is a one step operation and the number of quarters will depend on the number of operations in the enterprise.
As for this group consideration must be given to the different stages of producing local chicken. The stages are right from the laying of eggs, hatching, brooding, rearing and marketing. It is recommended that each stage have at least one quarter because each stage has specific requirements for optimal performance. The minimum number of quarters is therefore five for a smooth operation in any such enterprise. Local chicken producers undergo losses due to poor performance because they combine all the stages in a single quarter.
In any of the enterprise, allowance must be made for the quarters to have enough intervals from disposal to introduction of new birds so as to avoid the buildup of disease causing germs.