Floor content more natural and humaneIts main advantages include:
- the possibility of free movement of birds in the chicken coop, as a result of the chickens feel more comfortable, the probability of many diseases decreases,
- lack of money and time for cell arrangement and ventilation,
- free, unrestricted access to birds at any time.
It is the simplicity of organizing floor keeping that attracts most poultry farmers who want to keep chickens at home. At the same time, it has some drawbacks:
- for floor keeping chickens requires more space than for the cell,
- if there are many birds, because of the large area of the room, the content without cells also entails additional costs for lighting and heating,
- with outdoor content, the consumption of feed for chickens is greater, since it is lost in the litter,
- the birds are in close contact with each other, resulting in an increased likelihood of infection in the hen house,
- manure accumulates in the litter, the bird can eat it, and also breathes ammonia, which is released from it, all this increases the risk of infectious and respiratory diseases,
- with outdoor maintenance, bird care takes more time and effort than with a cellular one.
This is especially true for beginner poultry farmers who want to try laying out hens for the first time. This method of maintenance is chosen by the majority of farmers in whose farms there are layers.
Rules for organizing floor content
Since chickens are unpretentious, the simplest wooden shed will be suitable for the floor keeping of this bird. The main thing is that it is spacious enough, and all the livestock could comfortably accommodate it. Also, before buying chickens, it is necessary to make some simple beautification of the future chicken coop.
The room should be litter, perches, nests, feeders and drinkers. In addition, you need to take care of lighting and heating, if you intend to keep the birds in the winter.
There are several options for arranging the floor in the hen house:
- deep litter
- mesh floor,
- slatted floor.
The main option for keeping poultry in a small farm is deep bedding. It will create comfortable conditions for the birds, including due to the fact that it provides reliable thermal insulation. The litter is made of moisture-absorbing and friable materials, for its manufacture you can use:
- fodder hay waste
It is better if the litter is not less than 15 cm thick. It must be laid on a hard dry floor. The upper layer will periodically harden, in which case it should be loosened using a rake. It is often not recommended to change litter, some poultry farmers do it only once a year.
The crust on its upper layer is formed from harmless microorganisms, which emit a lot of heat, thus helping the chickens to warm up in winter.
It is important that the birds are not too crowded. In the case of floor keeping, the rate is up to 4 chickens per 1 square meter. m The total length of the perches should be such that the entire livestock can accommodate them - close to each other, but not too closely, and the height - 60 cm and higher. In order for the birds to take their places on the high perches, it is necessary to provide intermediate hexes or shelves.
In summer, chickens are fed 3-4 times a day. The layer rations may include:
- vegetables and roots,
- milk products,
- other animal feed,
- bone meal,
- vitamin and mineral supplements.
Each poultry farmer decides for himself what it is more convenient and more profitable for him to feed the bird. Some do it only with waste from the table, but it’s better to approach the issue more thoroughly and create a balanced diet for the chickens.
All experienced farmers have their own feeding programs for layers that have been worked out over the years of birds. Feed in them are selected in such a way as to ensure maximum egg production at minimum cost.
Here is an example of a daily ration for chickens with outdoor content:
- in the early morning - mash made of flour,
- twice during the day - mash of root vegetables, potatoes and greens,
- in the evening - whole grain.
To increase egg production, you can carry out yeast feed. To do this, add flour to the flour at the rate of 30 g per 1 kg, then dilute the mixture in warm water. Having sustained such dressing for 6-9 hours, it should be given to the bird along with the usual mash - 15-20 g per head.
Alopecia or feather loss in chickens indicates improper feeding or health problems. What can be the cause of alopecia, read our article.
After how many days do chicks hatch in an incubator? The answer is here.
Good sanitation is an important condition, without which it is impossible to achieve high egg production. To maintain cleanliness in a chicken coop, you must:
- timely remove litter
- wipe the walls and vents from dust,
- periodically wash the house and bird equipment using disinfectant solutions,
- disinfect the soil in the pen where the birds walk.
In case of floor maintenance, it is necessary to constantly monitor the state of the deep litter. Litter is cleaned as necessary, the frequency of cleaning depends on the size of the livestock and the time of year. In summer, when the bird spends much time on the air, it should be done less often.
If not litter is used, but the netting floor, and the birds do not come into contact with their manure, it is enough to clean it 1-2 times a year.
Walls and exhaust openings can be cleaned with a damp cloth once a week.
A chicken coop, including troughs, drinkers, nests, is washed using a disinfectant composition — suitable for this caustic soda solution. Formaldehyde, crealin or soda ash can also be used. Disinfecting solution should also be periodically watered in a pen, after such a procedure it is better to sprinkle it with lime and fluff.
Choosing a way of keeping birds, you need to proceed from the estimated size of the livestock, the maximum size of the room under the chicken coop, which you can afford, and your own experience. For most farms, outdoor poultry housing will be the best choice, since it does not require large expenditures, and at the same time it is possible to equip a simple chicken coop without cages for almost everyone. In such a hen house, chickens will feel comfortable and with proper feeding will bring you many eggs.
The first thing you need to do before starting work is to calculate the required space of the building. To do this, you need to know exactly the number of chickens that will live in the henhouse. The more birds, the more space they need. It is believed that the minimum area for 2-3 hens - not less than 1 sq. M. But do not forget that the bird (as a laying and meat) need a comfortable space, which is about 3 square meters. Try to make calculations from this indicator.
After you have calculated the required area of the building, sketch his plan on paper. On the Internet you can find a lot of ready-made schemes, among which you will surely choose the most suitable for your summer cottage. It remains only to fit the footage to your area.
When drawing up a plan for a chicken coop, be sure to consider the presence of a cage intended for walking birds. Its area must be calculated on the basis of a calculation of at least 1 sq. M. for one chicken. The more space, the better:
- Laying hens should move more to "keep their shape." It helps them to maintain and increase the wear. A chicken of an egg breed should not gain much weight, otherwise it will simply cease to be carried.
- Chicken meat breeds are arranged by nature so that high mobility allows them to build muscle mass. This is what is required of them, since they carry few eggs, but they are valuable in their meat.
When choosing a place for a stationary chicken coop, give preference to elevation. If there is none on your site, create it artificially: fill the hill with soil, broken brick, gravel or rubble. From above cover the hill with a thick layer of clay mixed with broken glass (this will save your pets from the invasion of rodents). Cover the clay with sand, soil or turf, at least 15 cm.
Foundation and floor - the basis of the structure
You chose the right place, arranged it, created a building plan. Now you can proceed directly to the construction.
Do I need to fill the foundation for the chicken coop? It depends on your personal choice. And the choice should be based on the features of the landscape, climate and the building itself. Sometimes you can do without the foundation, but if you decide to make a solid construction, then the best options would be a strip and column foundation. They will cost you much cheaper than, for example, slab, and besides, they are easier to perform. If you have the opportunity to do without pouring the foundation, then be sure to use it: these will save you from the extra waste of time, money and effort.
Drawing of the planning of the chicken coop
The easiest option is the skeleton coop. For its construction, you will need several adjusted to the size of the plate, in which it is easy to cut openings for doors and windows. Installation of the foundation you do not need, you only need to make a fence of iron sheets around the perimeter of the structure Dig them into the ground to a depth of 30 to 50 cm so that rodents do not get inside.
In order to arrange the floor in the hen house, you do not need special materials. The main thing is that its surface was clean, and pollution could be easily removed from it. Use any floor boards, and lay a layer of sawdust or straw up to 10 cm thick on top. In winter, in the period of cold weather, increase the thickness of the litter layer. It is very important for laying hens, especially if you are planning to brood chickens.