Poultry House Design- The First Business Planning

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Poultry House Design

The designs of the poultry house for hens or broilers in some countries do not always base on engineering and scientific foundation, but on some incorrect information, and practices, or lack of accurate information. For these reasons and others, there is a high mortality rate.The economical growth of chickens starts from the correct and adequate design of the building of poultry houses for the appropriate breed and the environment of the location.

There is a common question of farmers and poultry producers are how to build a poultry house? how to construct a poultry shed? how to construct a layers house? Requirements for chicken house construction etc.

See Also- broiler bird Requirements

Types of Poultry House

In absence of scientific and engineering aspects and rules in poultry housing design led to different sizes and many non-standard types of sheds. In many situations, it is not adequate for a large production or using standard mechanization (feeding, drinking systems) for poultry production. Selecting the correct dimensions for the poultry house helps in the use of standard mechanization and adequate design of the ventilation system. Not using scientific rules in poultry building design could create production problems, high production cost, lower returns, and wastage of different types of energy.
There are three types of poultry houses are

1. Open-side Poultry house

2. Front and Backsides

3.Controlled Environment house


Most of the poultry houses in the world are conventional or open-sided; that is, they rely on the free flow of air through the house for ventilation. Certain requirements must be met if such a ventilated house is to provide an adequate environment.

Open side poultry house

Care in following these rules during the course of construction will avoid pitfalls later.

See Also- water Requirements For Broiler

Width of Poultry House

Width of house. The width of the open-sided poultry house should be about 30 ft (9.8 m) and no more than 40 ft (12.2 m) wide. Houses that are wider will not provide ample ventilation during hot weather. Wide houses also require additional interior supports that may interfere with equipment or manure removal. This width recommendation is basic for growing birds, broilers, and laying hens.

Hight of Poultry House

Height of house. Most open-sided houses have a stud that is 8 ft (2.4 m) long. The stud represents the distance from the foundation to the roofline. In areas where the temperature is exceptionally high throughout the year, the stud length should be increased to 10 ft (3 m). High-rise houses, with manure storage areas below the cages or slats, should be as high as 14 ft (4.3 m) or more at the eaves.


Length of house

Poultry houses may be almost any convenient length. The terrain on which they are to be built often determines the length; rolling land means more grading before construction can start. Because automatic feeding equipment will limit the length of the poultry house, the equipment manufacturer should be consulted about the optimum length of the feeding system. Many times the feed hopper is placed in the center of longhouses to provide better use of automatic feeders.


The shape of the roof

Practically all poultry houses built today have a gable roof, the pitch varying from one-quarter to one-third. A good overhang should be provided to protect the inside from driving rains and to afford interior shade.

Roof exhausts

Houses should be equipped with a covered exhaust area at the peak of the roof to allow excess heat to escape. Various systems are available to close the exhaust during the colder months in order to conserve heat.


Even with the conventional poultry house, it is well to provide some type of insulation. The roof may be insulated, using special products for this purpose, or an attic, or partial attic, may be installed. Attics should be ventilated with suction cupolas, or by vents.

Building materials and construction.

Open-sided and environmentally controlled houses use a variety of building materials. The choice is dependent on the structural strength required, the insulative characteristics of the material, material availability, and material cost. Galvanized steel or aluminum are most commonly used for roofing and siding. Framing is usually done with wood or steel and some houses constructed recently have used the tilt-up concrete wall method of construction.
Cages and other equipment can be supported either from the roof trusses or from the ground. However, most of the newer multiple-deck cage units are supported from the ground because of their weight.

See also- The most diseases of chicks


A solid and adequate foundation should support the building. Concrete, concrete blocks, bricks, or other permanent and termite-proof material should be used. The evenness of the foundation is important, for it will determine the evenness of the completed structure.


With certain disease-control programs, concrete or similar floor is mandatory. It is also necessary when the soil is very dense and can absorb and transfer moisture from the lower subsoil, but in certain areas, where the soil is sandy, and where commercial broilers or commercial layers, or breeders are kept, a concrete slab is not used when birds are placed on the floor. Cage houses usually have concrete walks to facilitate the movement of hand egg collection carts and mobile feed carts. The area beneath the cages may or may not be paved depending on the manure removal program and method.


Doors at the end of the house should be large enough for a truck, tractor, or manure-handling equipment to pass through. Such equipment will be used when the house is cleaned.


Houses must be oriented in a direction to take advantage of prevailing airflow patterns. Orientation must also be considered relative to solar heat transfer into the building from exposed roofs or sidewalls. Pullet-rearing areas should always be located upwind from adult birds.


With this type of house, most of the side areas are open. The height of the opening will be determined by climatic conditions, and by the type of bird being housed, as follows:

Broilers and young chicks

From one-half to two-thirds of each side is left open, the exact amount is determined by summer and winter temperatures. When both heat and cold are to be dealt with, the size of the opening should be medium. Where heat is continuous, the opening should be larger; sometimes almost all of the side is left open.

Growing birds and layers

The opening size is greater for older birds. They should be provided with more air because bird density is greater and more ventilation is necessary.

Front and backside house

Cage houses

Houses equipped with cages necessitate the greatest amount of air movement. The bird density is the greatest of any type of flock. The sides should be almost completely open.

Curtains during cold weather

Young chicks and older birds should be given some protection during periods of cold weather and extreme winds. Curtains made of some durable and plastic-like material usually provide this protection. They are installed down the length of the building and hung so that the entire curtain may be rolled up or down by cables and a winch located at one end of the building or by thermostatically controlled automatic winches. This construction makes it easy to regulate the size of the opening according to weather conditions—an almost indispensable provision.


A controlled-environment house is one in which inside conditions are maintained as near as possible to the bird’s optimum requirements. Doing so usually necessitates a completely enclosed insulated house with no windows. Air is removed from the house by exhaust fans and fresh air is brought in through intake openings. Artificial light, rather than natural daylight, is used to illuminate the interior.

Control poultry house

Where high outside temperatures are involved, some method of controlling the temperature inside of the house is provided. The houses are not heated except for brooders. The heat from the birds is used to keep inside temperature within the range required for maximum feed efficiencies.

Much of the structural makeup of the environmentally controlled poultry house is similar to that of the house with open sides. It should have a good foundation and a gable roof. Insulation is a must; both the sides and the top should be given protection. The overhang of the roof need not be as great because the sides are completely covered. But ventilating a completely enclosed house is difficult. Details must be worked out so that air movement is adequate and evenly distributed during both hot and cold weather, a complicated procedure.

Poultry Housing Design
By Dr. Dhia Alchalabi, Ph.D., AET

See Also – Diseases of broiler and Treatment

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