Here is a list of poultry house equipment:- 1. Perches or Roosts 2. Nest Boxes 3. Feed Hoppers 4. Watering Devices 5. Grit and Shell Containers 6. Green Feed Racks 7. Runs 8. Laying Batteries.
1. Perches or Roosts:
Perches or roosts are necessary in the poultry houses. Apart from catering to natural instinct or disease of the chickens to get above the ground at night, perches help materially to keep the birds feet and plumage clean.
It is advisable to encourage birds to roost on perches from early age of 6-8 weeks, while they are still in their cold brooding stage. This can be done by providing suitable perches at one end of the brooder room. The perch space varies with the size of the breed, 7-9 inches of it for the general purpose breeds are essential.
A large number of birds can be accommodated on a perch if they are young, because of their smaller size, than the mature birds. More perch space is advisable in the hot season.
The perches should be enough for the birds to rest comfortably. Wooden perches, 2 inches square, round at the top and flat at the bottom can be used. These make roosting more comfortable and prevent sore feet. Wooden perches are mostly used but can be replaced by two inches thick split bamboos or other poles wherever available.
All perches should be of equal level and placed at a distance of at least one foot from each other. The most convenient height at which the roosts should be fixed is 18 inches. Chick roosts generally encourage early roosting. Wire netting prevents the chicks from crowding underneath the roosts and keeps them away from the droppings.
2. Nest Boxes:
Each pen of laying birds should be provided with nest boxes for laying eggs. Hens seem to prefer nests that are not brightly lighted. Nests units of 4, 5 or 6 are placed under the poultry house or the scratch-shed in a cool, dark corner of the enclosure. In a colony house a series of such trap nests is most advantageously kept along the wall preferably on a raised platform.
3. Feed Hoppers:
Troughs, pots and pans used for feeding should be of suitable size depending on the age and size of the birds. Vessels used for feeding should be so protected (by running wires cross ways) as to prevent the birds from scratching out the feed.
The feeding of dry mash to chickens is now recognised as a desirable practice. The laying hens should ready access to mash. There should be arrangement for keeping adequate supply of mash in such a way that it remains clean and is accessible to birds at all times with the minimum waste.
A self-feeder is one in which fresh supply of grains or other dry-food automatically falls from a hopper into the trough as the bird feeds. All feeders should be big enough for two or three birds to feed easily at a time. Feeders for baby chickens can be made from a large tin can with a lid.
The can is cut along the side, a quarter of an inch from the bottom and then half way up the I corners. The loose piece is bent inwards. “Very cheap and useful hoops can be made by a village carpenter using thick bamboo wherever they are available. Poultry keeping is very popular in heavy rainfall areas which abound in bamboos, provision of simple feeders made by bamboo offers greater scope for popularising correct methods of feeding the birds.
It is more economical to use hoppers both sides of which may be used by birds in feeding. It is safe to estimate that one leaner foot of hopper space will be required for every 6 or 8 birds. This would mean that a flock of 100 birds would require a total length of 8-10 of a two sided hopper.
4. Watering Devices:
Chickens require and consume large quantities of water, which should be made available to them at all times.
The ideal watering device is one which is large enough for a whole day supply, keeps the water clean and cool, does not corrode on account of chemical action, does not rust or break easily, does not topple over readily and is easy to empty, clean and refill, does not allow the birds to get into and spoil the water and is relatively inexpensive.
A wide variety of watering utensils satisfying the above needs can be obtained. These may be in the form of fountain or covered containers. In a fountain, the level of water in the feeder dish is kept always at the same level. This is done by arranging for a constant supply of freshwater to flow automatically from a container, as the level in the dish goes down.
5. Grit and Shell Containers:
Shells and grits are provided to the poultry separately as ‘ these are not included in the feed mixtures. Ordinary wall hoppers made either of wood or metal serve the purpose.
6. Green Feed Racks:
A green feed wall rack is desirable, as throwing such feed in the litter is insanitary. The racks are made of slats or wire mesh and hung at some height to provide exercise to the birds as they strive for the feed.
Confined birds need as large a run as can be afforded. If more than one breed is kept, it will be necessary to enclose each breed within a fence in order to prevent mixing. An ideal run can be had by putting up a wire mesh fence, 1/2″ mesh being necessary for the chicks and 1.5″-2″ mesh for the adult birds.
A six-foot wide roll of wire mesh or two rolls of 3 feet wide mesh joined together at the centre by a winding wire and mounted on wooden poles, makes ideal fencing. It is advisable to fix the lower edge of the wire mesh at least 6 inches under the surface of the ground in a trench to provide protection against predatory animals.
The chicken run should be covered by wire mesh also on the top to prevent crows, hawks and kites from carrying away the young chicks. In the absence of wire mesh the use of split bamboos or sarkanda is recommended for the runs. They are not very durable but serve the purpose.
8. Laying Batteries:
The system of using batteries for laying hens is a comparatively recent and is one of the developments of battery brooding. Each hen is housed in an individual all metal cage or compartment about 12-16 inches wide, 18 inches long and 18 inches high.
The wire floor gently slopes forwards so that the eggs, when laid, rolls underneath the feed trough and gets out of the reach of the hen. The cages are contiguous and may be single rows (single deck) or built in tiers to accommodate any number of layers.
This system is almost unknown in India at present. It is, however well adapted to localities in or near large cities where the land in adequate extent is either unobtainable or unsuitable for setting up the usual plant.
The system also admits of utilising marshy or damp areas highly unsuitable for poultry rearing by the usual methods. Cities like Mumbai and Kolkata where similar wet conditions prevail during a good part of the year can take to poultry farming intensively by keeping the birds in battery cages.