In broiler and brooder houses, growing chicks require changing
environmental conditions, and heat and moisture dissipation
rates increase as the chicks grow older. Supplemental heat, usually
from brooders, is used until the sensible heat produced by
the birds is adequate to maintain an acceptable air temperature.
At early stages of growth, moisture dissipation per bird is low.
Consequently, low ventilation rates are recommended to prevent
excessive heat loss. Litter is allowed to accumulate over 3 to 5
flock placements. Lack of low-cost litter material may justify the
use of concrete floors. After each flock, caked litter is removed
and fresh litter is added.
Housing for poultry may be open, curtain-sided or totally
enclosed. Mechanical ventilation depends on the type of housing
used. For open-sided housing, ventilation is generally natural airflow
in warm weather, supplemented with stirring fans, and by
fans with closed curtains in cold weather or during the brooding
period. Mechanical ventilation is used in totally enclosed housing.
Newer houses have smaller curtains and well-insulated construction
to accommodate both natural and mechanical ventilation
Recommendations for broiler houses:
• Room temperature: 15 to 27°C
• Temperature under brooder hover: 30 to 33°C, reducing 3 K per
week until room temperature is reached
• Relative humidity: 50 to 80%
• Ventilation rate: Sufficient to maintain house within 1 to 2 K of
outside air conditions during summer. Generally, rates are about
0.1 L/s per kilogram live mass during winter and 1 to 2 L/s per
kilogram for summer conditions.
• Space: 0.06 to 0.1 m2 per bird (for the first 21 days of brooding,
only 50% of floor space is used)
• Light: Minimum of 10 lx to 28 days of age; 1 to 20 lx for growout
(in enclosed housing).
Recommendations for breeder houses with birds on litter and
• Temperature: 10 to 30°C maximum; consider evaporative cooling
if higher temperatures are expected.
• Relative humidity: 50 to 75%
• Ventilation rate: Same as for broilers on live mass basis.
• Space: 0.2 to 0.3 m2 per bird
Recommendations for laying houses with birds in cages:
• Temperature, relative humidity, and ventilation rate: Same as for
• Space: 0.032 to 0.042 m2 per hen minimum
• Light: Controlled day length using light-controlled housing is
generally practiced (January through June).
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