Chicken Houses in South Africa are generally made of steel. Small chicken houses for small poultry farmers house from 200 chickens up to 3000 chickens – whether they are broiler chickens or layer chickens. The small chicken houses are very similar, although a layer chicken house is usually higher, and wider, so that the layer cages are not too close to the roof – and there is space to move around the battery cages.
Small poultry houses
These chicken coops are usually built on site and are a welded steel frame – large poultry houses have proper foundations and walls – but also use steel as the structure and for the roof. The large poultry house can hold up to to 40 000 birds.
Chicken houses and poultry houses for chicken farming in South Africa – Chicken Shack Agencies supplies poultry equipment to small chicken farmers around South Africa. Finding information on poultry farming is easily done by a simple web search. While there are many suppliers of cheap chicken houses – many of the companies involved are not poultry experts – while the structures may seem the same there are some major differences. A chicken house will be built and designed to carry the weight of the equipment – and there must be winched curtains on the sides. The header tank must feed the automatic bell drinkers inside the house. Many prospective buyers look for a cheap chicken house, and by default, cheap chicken farming equipment – this is not always the best option. You really want a company that specialises in chicken and poultry equipment – if you use a company that just makes steel structures how are they going to help you when you have problems on your chicken farm? While many new farmers think that chicken farming is easy – this is not true.
It is easy once you know how – and there are many subtle nuances to farm chickens successfully. “Wild chickens”, or “home chickens” are very robust – you just need to take a drive through any township or rural area to see how many free roaming chickens and hens there are – and they all seem to thrive – even with the sometimes harsh conditions they face – dogs, cars and children are all part of their life – they have no hutch or chicken run and look after themselves when it comes to food. They will live on anything they can find – from the streets and from rubbish dumps. And they not only survive – but thrive. Commercial chickens bought from a breeder farm are not in the same class – these factory chickens are weak compared to their wild brothers and sisters – they are prone to disease, are very fussy eaters, and need to be cared for like babies! If you think that chickens in a chicken house are the same as the rural chickens you are wrong. Chickens raised in a poultry house will be living on top of each other – they are bred to put on as much weight as quickly as possible (broilers anyway) – they are not hardy and will require very careful care – temperature, water, food, disease – these are the hazards that a factory farmed chicken faces. So you really have to know what you are doing when you start a chicken farm. In saying all of that – with the right training and farming principles anyone can run a chicken farm – it is not rocket science – just a case of doing the right things at the right time. Being aware of and noticing what is happening in the house. You will need all 5 senses – you nose is an especially useful tool – a chicken house that smells bad is likely to be a coop full of sick birds – or birds that will be sick soon. A well run farm will only smell of chickens – and that is not a smell that will make you wrinkle your nose or gag – it is a farm smell – granted – but not a bad smell. Picking up the birds and feeling them is another good thing – looking for bumps or lumps, or noticing missing feathers or swollen eyes will quickly let you know that you have disease or a problem in the hutch. Whether the chickens are eating properly, or gaining weight at the right time is also a good indicator. A healthy poultry house will also sound different to an chicken run with unhappy birds – the soft clucking and talkative nature of chickens will quickly change to a more threatening sound if your hens are unhappy – chickens are, believe it or not, quite intelligent. They will recognise you, and come running when you talk to them or bring them food. They will like to be petted and scratched. Although his is not possible when you have a house with thousands of chickens – the same principles apply – talk to your chickens, handle them with respect and they will make you a profit!