Title: Poultry houses and equipment
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00026346/00001
 Material Information
Title: Poultry houses and equipment
Alternate Title: Bulletin 126 ; Florida Agricultural Extension Service
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Mehrhof, N. R.
Publisher: Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: April, 1945
Copyright Date: 1945
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026346
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aab7728 - LTQF
amt7503 - LTUF
44716629 - OCLC
002571188 - AlephBibNum


This item has the following downloads:

Binder5 ( PDF )

Full Text


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.

Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida

Bulletin 126

April, 1945

(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
A. P. SPENCER. Director




Fig. 1.-Even-span laying house with roof ventilator, open front and
rear ventilator.

Single copies free to Florida residents upon request to


H. P. ADAIR, Chairman, Jacksonville N. B. JORDAN, Quincy
THOSE. W. BRYANT. Lakeland T. T. SCOTT, Live Oak
M. L. MERSHON, Miami J. T. DIAMOND, Secretary, Tallahassee

JOHN J. TIGERT, M.A., LL.D., President of the University
H. HAROLD HUME, D.Sc., Provost for Agriculture
A. P. SPENCER, M.S., Director of Extension

Agricultural Demonstration Work, Gainesville
CLYDE BEALE, A.B.J., Assistant Editor'
JEFFERSON THOMAS, Assistant Editor'
FRANK M. DENNIS, B.S.A., Supervisor, Egg-Laying Test
RUBY NEWHALL, Administrative Manager1
W. T. NErrLES, B.S., District Agent
J. LEE SMITH, District Agent and Agronomist
E. F. DEBUSK, B.S., State Supervisor, Emergency Farm Labor
H. S. MCLENDON, B. A., Asst. State Supervisor, Emergency Farm Labor
MRS. BONNIE J. CARTER, B.S., Assistant WLA Leader
HANS O. ANDERSEN, B.S.A., Asst. State Supervisor, EFL
G. NORMAN ROSE, B.S., Asst. State Supervisor, EFL
P. L. PEADEN, M.A., Asst. State Supervisor, EFL
H. G. CLAYTON, M.S.A., Coordinator with AAA'
R. S. DENNIS, B.S.A., Assistant Coordinator with AAA'
R. W. BLACKLOCK, A.B., Boys' Club Agent
W. W. BASSETT, JR., B.S.A., Assistant Boys' Club Agent'
A. L. SHEALY, D.V.M., Animal Industrialist'
HAMLIN L. BROWN, B.S., Dairyman
N. R. MEHRHOF, M.AGR., Poultryman'
WALTER J. SHEELY, B.S., Animal Husbandman
A. W. O'STEEN, B.S.A., Poultryman
L. T. NIELAND, Farm Forester
C. V. NOBLE, PH.D., Agricultural Economist'
CHARLES M. HAMPSON, M.S., Agricultural Economist, Farm Management
D. E. TIMMONS, M.S.A., Economist in Marketing
ZACH SAVAGE, M.S., Economist'
JOSEPH C. BEDSOLE, B.S.A., Assistant in Land-Use Planning'
K. S. MCMULLEN, B.S.A., Soil Conservationist

Home Demonstration Work, Tallahassee
MARY E. KEOWN, M.S., State Agent
RUBY MCDAVID, District Agent
ETHYL HOLLOWAY, B.S., District Agent
MRS. EDITH Y. BARRUS, District Agent
ANNA MAE SIKES, M.S., Specialist in Nutrition
VIRGINIA P. MOORE, Home Improvement Agent
ISABELLE S. THURSBY, Specialist in Food Conservation
JOYCE BEVIS, M.A., Clothing Specialist

Negro Extension Work, Tallahassee
A. A. TURNER, Local District Agent
FLOY BRITT, B.S.H.E., Local District Agent

1 Part-time.
2 On leave.


METHODS OF HOUSING POULTRY ................... -........................... ............. 5
THE SITE FOR THE POULTRY HOUSE .....................-........--- --.-- ......... 6
POULTRY HOUSE ESSENTIALS ........-...--- .-----.. ....--.--------------- 7
TYPES OF HOUSES -.......~.- ---.....-..... --. --.....-- ... ....------- --. 8
TYPES OF ROOFS --..................... ------. -........------..-.---- 9
TYPES OF FLOORS ....----------............-... -- ...... --- ----------..... ------------------- 10
BUILDING SUGGESTIONS ...................--- --------------- --------.. --- --. 10
Constructing the House ...-.................-... -........----- --- ---- 10
Floors ...........-...........---- -------....-----.---...-- ---.. 11
W alls ..................... .....--- -- --- ... .... .......... .... ... .... .. .. 11
Roofs --......-..-- .......-- -- .....--------- ------- ... .....--..- -- 11
Concrete ...................--- ------...... ................ ---------- 11
Paints and Whitewash ....-........ --........----- ------------ 14
BROODER H OUSES ..........~.. ....-- ...-.. .... ...... ..... ........... 15
Brooder Stoves --...................--... ------------------------ 16
Wire Floors ....---...........----.....------- --------------.. 16
W ire Sun Porch ....--............ -.. ----...... ... ........ ..... .... .... 17
Home-made Brick Brooder Stoves .................---..---..------------- 18
Farm Brooder ...............................------- ------.... ... 19
BATTERY BROODERS ........--........--.-....-...... ... .. ....... -- --- -.... --- 20
SUMMER RANGES AND SHELTERS ....---.........------....-------- ---------- 23
LAYING HOUSES ....-....~...--..------...--------..--- --- ----..-------.- 23
Building the Laying House ........-.--------.~.~. -- --------.. --... 24
All-Purpose Portable House ---........--....-...----- ---------- ..--- 26
POULTRY EQUIPMENT ...-..-........ ----.......-- .. .....---- -- 26
Dropping Boards .-......-..............---...-- -------- -..--- 26
Dropping Pits ........--...... ----...-....-......- ----... 26
Nests ..-.............. -------.---------------...----....-. ----31
Trapnests ..............--..---...---....---------.....------ 32
Water Equipment .........--.............-- -------- --------............. 32
Feeders ..... --...........---...--- --.....----------------.. 34
Mash Hoppers ...-..-------.....- ------------------.---- 34
Chick Feeders .....--.....-........-..--------- ---------.. 35
Outdoor Hopper ....-........-...... ------ ------------------ 37
Feeding Space .....----------.............--.-----.--------. 37
Layers' Mash Hoppers ....-. ------...........--------------- 39
Oyster Shell and Grit Hopper ...-----......--.......--...-------- 39
MISCELLANEOUS EQUIPMENT .......----- ---- ....-.--..- .--........ 40
Broody Coop --......---------.. ..........---------.. 40
Fattening Crate .------.----- ------ ---............ -...-- 42
Finisher or Finishing Pen ................-------. .... -- ---.--.--- 42
Catching Crate .......... ....... --..- ..... .... .----. -- 43
Cleaning Equipment ...........----~.--....---...-.. ------- ------- 43
Incinerator .. . ... ------... ..--.........------........ 43
Manure Shed .........---............ ---- --------------................. 43
Lighting Equipment ....................---.......................................... 43

Fig. 2.-Laying house with open front, roof ventilator and rear ventilator.


- z~



One of the most important phases of poultry management is
the provision of suitable environmental conditions for baby
chicks, growing birds and adult birds. The birds should have
the right kind of houses, properly located. A good poultry
house is an economical investment.
Poultry of all ages are housed for comfort, protection, efficient
production of eggs and poultry meat and convenience of the
In Florida climatic conditions vary, and houses in southern
Florida may not be satisfactory for northern and western Flor-
ida. Poultry houses in the southern part of the State are more
open than those in northern and western Florida. For this
reason each poultry raiser must use his or her own judgment
when planning details of the poultry house. Nevertheless, there
are a few principles of construction which should be carefully
considered in the building of all poultry houses.
This bulletin is prepared to furnish poultry raisers with sug-
gestions for building poultry houses and for constructing differ-
ent types of equipment to be used in the management of birds
of various ages.


SThere are 3 general methods of housing used, according to
the method of management-the colony system, the semi-colony
system and the intensive system. These methods are employed
with baby chicks, growing birds and laying stock.
The colony system is used when a relatively small number
of chicks are to be brooded in 1 house, and also when a small
number of layers are placed in 1 house.
Colony houses are either stationary or portable, the majority
being constructed on skids so that they may be moved from
place to place. The most important advantage of this method
is that there is less danger from disease. The disadvantages
are increased costs of building, labor and management.

1Poultry Husbandman with the Agricultural Extension Service and
Professor of Agricultural Engineering, College of Agriculture, respectively.
This bulletin supersedes Bulletin 77.

Florida Cooperative Extension

The intensive system is used when a large number of chicks
or layers are to be kept in 1 house. The advantages of this
system are that building costs and labor requirements are lower.
However, the disadvantage is that there is a greater opport-
tunity for the spread of disease.
The semi-colony system is the system midway between the
colony and the intensive type.
In the State are found all 3 systems and also combinations
of the 3. The most prevalent practice seems to be the use of
the colony system for brooding baby chicks and growing pullets.
All 3 systems are used for managing the layers.

Fig. 3.-Small portable trapnest house. Note wire trap fronts, overhang,
outdoor feeders and waterer.


The poultry house should be located on well drained soil with
a southern or southeastern slope.
In the construction of the poultry house thought and con-
sideration should be given to its relationship to other buildings
and the central feed and water supply, so that unnecessary
labor will not be required. In locating poultry buildings, con-
sideration should be given to exposure, soil, drainage, shade,
protection and convenience. The future development of the
flock should be borne in mind. It would be most desirable to

Poultry Houses and Equipment

make a complete plan of the poultry farm as you expect to have
it eventually, so that all buildings are located conveniently.


In constructing poultry houses the following features should
be considered: (1) Economy, (2) convenience, (3) ventilation,
(4) protection from heat and cold, (5) protection from vermin,
(6) sanitation, (7) sunlight, (8) sufficient space for fowls and
(9) dryness.
Economy in building poultry houses is very important. How-
ever, it does not pay to use a poor grade of lumber. Use only
sound lumber. The lasting qualities must be considered in
figuring on economy. Poultrymen in the State are using both
dressed and rough lumber for construction. It is advisable, how-
ever, to use dressed lumber for the dropping boards, nests, and
perches. This will allow easier control of lice and mites and
permit the dropping boards to be kept more sanitary.
Construct houses as plain as possible. Fancy trimmings and
unnecessary furnishings do not increase efficiency and are not
Convenience in a poultry house is likewise desirable. All the
fixtures inside the house should be arranged to make the work
easy and efficient. The nests should be arranged so that the
hens can easily enter and the attendant can remove the eggs.
The perch poles should be removable.
Ventilation.-Poultry can stand and need plenty of fresh air,
but this should not be in the form of drafts. An open-front
house with ventilators at the rear provides a sufficiency of
ventilation and protection. The ventilators at the rear of the
house near the top may be hinged at either top or bottom and
open out. These ventilators are made about 8" to 10" wide and
run the full length of house, being divided into convenient lengths
if the house is long.
Also ventilators at either end of the house may be provided.
See Figures 1, 2, 16 and 17.
Upper ventilators should be placed at least from 12 to 18
inches above the perches, while floor ventilators are below the
dropping boards. Both types may be used in the same house.
Drafts directly on the birds are conducive to colds and roup.
A house that is poorly ventilated is damp, close and unhealthy
for poultry.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Protection from heat and cold is another factor for consider-
ation. The house should be constructed so that heated and im-
pure air may escape. With brooder houses, muslin curtains
should be available for protection and in some types of brooder
houses insulation is desirable.
Rats and mice should be kept out. Cement floors or wooden
floors high enough off the ground to prevent hiding places will
keep out the vermin. If rats and mice are present, covers should
be provided for the mash hoppers.
Sanitation is essential for success with poultry. Construct
the dropping boards so that they may be easily and thoroughly
cleaned. Matched lumber is desirable to prevent the droppings
from going through the cracks to the floor. Sprinkling a small
amount of sand or some other type of drying material on the
dropping boards will make them much easier to clean. At the
Poultry Laboratory, University of Florida, and at the Florida
National Egg-Laying Test sawdust is used.
Construct the water and mash hoppers so they can be kept
clean and sanitary.
Properly constructed floors will assist in keeping the house
Sunlight in the poultry house is a good disinfectant and is
essential to the health of the birds, particularly young chicks.
The house should be constructed so that plenty of sunshine will
enter. This is secured by facing it to the south or southeast.
Sufficient space should be provided in the house. It is advis-
able to allow plenty of roosting space and floor space to obtain
best results. Florida poultrymen generally supply from 2 to 4
square feet of floor space per adult bird, depending on the breed
and method of management. From 8 to 10 inches of roosting
space is ample.
Dryness in a poultry house is desirable if the health of the
fowls is to be preserved. Damp houses favor the development
of roup, pneumonia and other diseases. With an abundance of
ventilation, plenty of water drainage away from the house, and
properly constructed floors, the poultry house should be dry.

Houses used most extensively in the State are either even-
span or shed-roof types.
The houses should be fairly deep. Narrow houses are more
expensive and at the same time are undesirable because good

Poultry Houses and Equipment

ventilation is almost impossible without causing direct drafts
to blow over the birds. The depth of the house will be influenced
by the length.
The front of the house should be high enough to allow the
sunlight to penetrate into the interior, but there should be pro-
tection against driving rains that would make the house wet.
Sunshine is a good disinfectant.
In deep houses it is desirable to have light underneath the
dropping board. This can be furnished by having windows in
the rear of the house below the level of the dropping boards.

Several types of roofs are being used on poultry houses.
Careful consideration should be given to the roof, for it is one


Fig. 4.-Types of roofs for poultry houses. A, shed-roof; B, two-thirds
span; C, even-span; D, monitor; E, semi-monitor; F, A-shaped.

Florida Cooperative Extension

of the most expensive parts of the house. The type of roof will
affect the building cost. Roofs should be constructed so that
they are water-tight, of course.
Figure 4 shows the various types of roofs used. The 2 most
common types in use in Florida are the shed-roof and the even-

The essential features of a good floor are: (1) Dryness, (2)
smooth, hard surface which can be easily cleaned, (3) proof
against rats and mice, (4) economy of construction. Floors
should be so constructed that they are higher than the outside
The types of floors used are:
1. Cement or concrete-permanent, sanitary and easy to clean.
2. Wood-use tongue and groove lumber and have it off the
ground (18 to 24 inches).
3. Dirt-used in some places but not as satisfactory as either
the wood or concrete. If a dirt floor is used it is advisable to
remove 6 inches of the surface material about every 6 months
and replace with fresh dirt. Avoid using sand, as it soon be-
comes a good breeding place for fleas.
4. Wire-see page 16.

The framework consists of the foundation, the sills which are
placed upon it to support the building, the joists which support
the floor, the studs or uprights which rest upon the sills, the
plate which is on top of the studs, and the rafters which rest
on the plate.
When wooden floors are used they should be about 18" to 24"
above the ground. Concrete floors are placed directly on the
ground, with a sufficiently raised site to insure drainage. The
sills which are usually 2"x4" or 4"x4", depending on size of the
house, are placed on wooden posts, stones, concrete supports,
or directly on the concrete walls to which sills are bolted. In
portable houses the sills serve as runners and are usually of
4"x6" material. Floor joists are made of 2"x4" or 2"x6" ma-
terial, depending upon span. They are spaced from 16" to 20"
apart. Spans of 12 feet or more should have center supports.

Poultry Houses and Equipment

The studding is of 2"x4" material and is toenailed to the sill.
The plates are either 2"x4" or 4"x4" (usually made by spiking
2 2"x4"s together).
Rafters are usually of 2"x4" material where span is not more
than 12 feet or 2"x6"material where the span is over 12 feet.

Both wood and concrete are used for floors. Wooden floors
are of matched tongue and groove flooring. Concrete floors have
a tendency to be damp, especially where poor under-drainage
exists. Tar paper cemented at the joints or 4" to 6" of crushed
stone, gravel or hard cinders beneath the floor will aid in keep-
ing the floor dry. Waterproofed concrete, as explained later,
will aid.

Walls usually are constructed of siding or flooring nailed
directly to studding, and 1"x6" material is most commonly used
for siding. It is necessary to add about 20% to total square
surface in order to get the number of board feet needed. This
is necessary on account of allowance for matching of materials.
Vertical siding of 1"x10" or 1"x12" boards with 3" battens to
cover cracks is used also.

Sheet metal, shingles and prepared roofing material are the
ordinary types of coverings found on poultry house roofs in
Florida. Wooden shingles are usually laid 4" to 5" to the
weather. Where laid 41/2" to weather, 1,000 shingles will cover
approximately 125 square feet. Roofs are usually given a pitch
of from 1/4 to 1/3, that is the vertical distance from the plate to
the ridge is from 1/4 to 1/3 the total width of the house.

Concrete, due to its permanence, ease of cleaning and disin-
fecting, resistance to the gnawing of rats, and fireproofness, is
a very desirable material to use for poultry house floors.
Proportioning.-The purpose for which concrete is to be used
determines the various proportions of cement, sand, coarse ag-
gregate and water used. The fewer air spaces or voids in the
concrete, the stronger it will be. However, in much of our
poultry house construction it is not economical to make the

Florida Cooperative Extension

maximum strength concrete. Volume measure is used in desig-
nating the proportions of the material used in a mix. The first
number given in the proportion is cement, second sand and third
coarse aggregate. Hence a 1-2-4 mix would mean 1 part cement,
2 parts sand and 4 parts rock or gravel. Portland cement is sold
in bags containing 1 cubic foot and weighing 94 pounds, which
make it very convenient in proportioning. When no coarse
aggregate is used the mix is called a mortar and is used prin-
cipally for surface coating where considerable wear is likely
to occur. In poultry house construction the 1-2-4 and 1-3-5 are
the principal mixes used, the former in walls and thin floors,
the latter for floors and foundations. The 1-2 mortar is used
for top coating on floors.
Quantities of Material.-To determine the amount of various
materials needed for any piece of concrete work it is necessary
to compute the volume of concrete needed. Then from the
amounts of materials needed per unit volume of particular mix
used, the amount needed for a particular job can be computed.
Remember that the concrete is not the sum total of the quanti-
ties of the various materials used, but is less, due to the small
particles filling the air spaces between the larger particles.
Table 1 gives the amounts of ingredients that under average con-
ditions will give 1 cubic yard of concrete of the various mixes.

Proportions Cement Sand Gravel
Cement | Sand I Gravel Bags Cu. Yds. Cu. Yds.
1 1 ... 19.2 0.74
1 2 .... 13.5 1.00
1 1% 3 7.64 0.42 0.85
1 2 4 6.00 0.45 0.90
1 3 5 4.67 0.53 0.87
1 3 6 4.25 0.48 0.95

Suppose the amount of concrete needed for a particular job
would be 54 cubic feet and the mix a 1-2-4. From Table 1 we
see that it requires 6 bags of cement, 0.45 yards of sand and 0.90
yards of rock per yard. Fifty-four cubic feet being 2 cubic
yards, we would need 12 bags of cement, 0.9 cubic yards of sand
and 1.8 cubic yards of rock or gravel.

Poultry Houses and Equipment

For 1-course floors in poultry houses the 1-2-4 and 1-3-5
mixes are most generally used. The thickness of the floor is
governed by the foundation on which it is to be laid. If a good
foundation, such as clay, is to be used then a 3" floor would be
sufficient but in other cases 4" of concrete would be safer. For
2-course floors the first course is usually constructed of from
21/2" to 31/" of a 1-3-5 mix and the top 1/2" of a 1-2 mix. This
gives a smoother surface finish under ordinary conditions than
the 1-course floors.
Mixing and Placing.-The materials used in making concrete
should be thoroughly mixed before being placed in form. This
can be done by either machine or hand. In machine mixing the
materials are placed in a mixer in the proper proportions, water
is added and the materials are mixed for about 2 minutes. In
hand mixing the sand for a batch is usually placed on a mixing
board of sufficient size. The cement is then spread over the
sand and both are thoroughly mixed. After a uniform color is
obtained part of the water needed is added and the mass is
again stirred. Then rock and remaining water are added and
mixed until the mixture is uniform. It is then ready 'to be
placed in the forms, that are well made and braced.
Consistency.-The amount of water used in mixing has much
to do with the strength of concrete. An excess of water will
weaken the concrete while too little water will make it hard to
mix and place. A good rule to follow is to use just as little water
as possible to get a workable mix. The amount per bag of
cement will be governed largely by the amount of moisture in
the aggregates. The amount generally required is from 5 to
61/2 gallons per bag of cement used.
Waterproofing.-One of the essentials of a poultry house floor
is dryness. Therefore ordinary concrete will need something to
prevent moisture coming through it unless some materials such
as gravel or cinders are placed beneath it to remove the water.
A very effective as well as inexpensive method of waterproofing
the floor is to add 15% as much hydrated lime as cement to the
mix. This aids in filling up the floor spaces and thereby renders
it more waterproof. There are many commercial waterproofing
materials on the market, most of which are good and may be
used with safety.
Curing.-The ultimate strength of concrete depends to a great
extent upon the proper curing of the concrete after it is placed.
This is done by protecting it from the sun and supplying plenty

Florida Cooperative Extension

of water during the 7 days just after it has been placed. After
the concrete has been troweled to a surface finish it should be
permitted to get its permanent set, which will occur within 10
hours after placing in a temperature of at least 80 degrees F.
After that time it should be kept moist for several days. This
can be very conveniently done by covering the concrete with
sand or burlap and wetting it 3 or 4 times daily for 7 days.
Paints add greatly to both the appearance and durability of
wooden structures. Outside oil paints should be used on exterior
surfaces. Surfaces to be painted should be clean and dry before
being painted. Unpainted wood should first have a priming coat
consisting of 1/2 linseed oil and /2 stock paint. Whitewash, while
not as durable as oil paint, is much cheaper and can be used to
advantage in improving the appearance of poultry houses.
Ordinary whitewash is made by slaking quick lime and allow-
ing it to stand for 1 hour after slaking. Thin to desired con-
sistency for spreading.
Whitewash for interior work may be made as follows: (1)
Slake 38 pounds hydrated lime in 15 gallons water; (2) mix 21/
pounds of rye flour in 1/2 gallon cold water, then add 2 gallons
boiling water; (3) dissolve 21/ pounds common salt in 21/2 gal-
lons hot water. Mix solutions 2 and 3 and pour into solution 1.
Stir vigorously until thoroughly mixed.
A good outside whitewash may be made by (1) slaking 38

Fig. 5.-Four different types of colony brooder houses.

Poultry Houses and Equipment

pounds of quick lime in 12 gallons of hot water; (2) dissolving
2 pounds common salt (sodium chloride) and 1 pound of zinc
sulfate in 2 gallons of boiling water. Pour solution 1 into solu-
tion 2, then add 2 gallons of skimmed milk and mix thoroughly.


Well constructed brooder houses are essential in raising and
managing baby chicks. They should face to the south or south-
east, and be placed on well drained soil.
Brooder houses are generally of 2 types, stationary and port-
able. The average size is 10'x12' to 12'x14'.
A concrete floor is desirable for a stationary house while a
wooden floor, of tongue and groove lumber, is desirable for a
portable house. The floor should be constructed to be warm
and should be free of drafts.
Portable houses should be constructed on skids or runners
(4"x6"), and should be light in weight, strong and durable.
The walls should be tightly constructed of drop siding or
tongue and groove material. Some poultrymen are using rough
lumber and ceiling the cracks.

Fig. 6.-Tractor moving colony brooder house.

fcfkat Ix

Florida Cooperative Extension

The roof should be made waterproof, using either metal,
shingles or roofing paper.
Ventilation in the brooder house can be secured by having
an opening in front, the opening varying with the house. Win-
dows in the front will help in furnishing light and ventilation.
A ventilator in the rear of the house near the plate also is de-
sirable and can be opened or closed as desirable to suit weather
conditions and age of chicks.
A brooder house should be constructed so that it can be kept
warm during winter and cool during summer. It should be
easy to ventilate in winter and well ventilated in summer.
Enough floor space for the number of chicks to be brooded
should be provided. (See Tables 2 and 3.) About 1/2 square
foot of floor space should be provided for each chick on the
brooder floor.
Brooder Stoves.-There are several types of brooder stoves,
designated either as the canopy or drum type. Oil, wood, elec-
tricity, coal and gas are used as sources of heat. In Florida
the first 3 are the most popular.
Wire Floors.-It is more sanitary to raise chicks on wire
frames than to use litter. The frames can be constructed of

Fig. 7.-Drum-type oil-burning brooder stove.


~--- ,

Ir '; ~'

Poultry Houses and Equipment

Fig. 8.-Interior of brooder house, showing colony brooder stove.


Number of





Average Numbei
of Chicks





Number of Chicks I
Per Unit

100-400 .-.................

400-800 .............. ..

800-1,200 ............... i

1,200-1,400 ..................

r Percent






Number of Chicks Percent
Floor Area per 100 Chicks Chicks Died Died

35 sq. ft. or less ........................ 73,077 19,254 26.3

35-50 sq. ft. ............................... 25,371 4,122 16.2

50 sq. ft. or more ..................... 25,044 3,484 13.1
From California Agricultural Extension Circular 28, Brooding and Pullet Management,
by W. E. Newlon and M. W. Buster.

1"x4" material on edge. The edges are beveled so that the
surface collects very little droppings. The frames are made to

Florida Cooperative Extension

suit the size of house and small enough that they can be removed
for cleaning. Sufficient supports to prevent sagging of wire
and to allow facilities for walking in the house should be pro-
vided. The supports should be not more than 2 or 3 feet apart
either way. The frames are covered with 1/2" mesh hardware
Wire Sun Porch.-After poultry have been raised several years
on 1 location the soil becomes contaminated, and it is desirable
to keep the young chicks off the ground. Wire-floored platforms
(about 3/" to 1" mesh hardware cloth) are built in front of the
house to get the chicks out in the direct rays of the sun and so
that the droppings will pass through. The sun parlor is enclosed
by wire on all sides and top. The frame is of 1"x3" material,
sides 24" high, and sides and top are covered with 1" mesh
poultry netting. Some use a concrete platform that can be
easily washed with a hose to prevent contamination.
The sun parlor generally has floor space equal to 1z or more
of that inside the brooder house.

In Western Florida home-made brick brooders have come into
use and seem to be giving satisfaction. They are easily con-
structed. The following method has been suggested for their
erection and operation.
Bill of Material.-150 bricks, new or used, 25 pounds of lime,
1/2 sack cement, 1/3 yard sand, 5 heavy iron rods, 3 or 4 joints
of 6-inch stove pipe, 1 joint with damper, 1 piece of tin or other
metal 12"x16" for door, and 1 roof flange.
How to Build.-A mortar mixture of 1 part lime, 1 cement
and 2 sand is used. Make mortar joints 1-inch thick and break
joints with bricks. Lay bricks on flat side. After 6 rows of
bricks are up lay irons across top to support a seventh layer
of brick entirely across the top. The cap bricks should be placed
14 inch apart. A thin mortar about 3 inches thick should be
run over entire top.
Angle iron, heavy wagon tires, road scraper blades and simi-
lar materials make splendid cross bars to support the cover layer
of bricks and mortar. Arrange these bars so as to support the
ends of the cap bricks.
Enough lengths of stove pipe should be used to project the
pipe above the roof about 2 lengths, or sufficiently to secure

Poultry Houses and Equipment

proper draft. The damper should be placed in the first length
of pipe.
Secure a piece of sheet metal or an old stove door 12"x16"
in size, which will fit very closely against the face of bricks so
that operator can regulate draft. It is an added convenience to
attach a light chain or wire from the door through a pulley or
staple which may be placed in the roof. A weight attached to
the other end of this wire enables the operator to raise and lower
the door more readily when it is hot.

Fig. 9.-Home-made brick brooder stove, which is inexpensive, easily
constructed and satisfactory.

A properly placed roof flange should remove any danger of
fire starting around the roof. Cut the roof away 3 or 4 inches
from stove pipe and insulate with tin or asbestos as a special
This brooder was designed primarily for Florida general farms
and backyard poultry keepers, either where broilers and fryers
are raised on a small scale or to start pullets. This brooder will
accommodate from 50 to 75 chicks for the first 5 or 6 weeks.
For complete details of construction see Circular 70, A Simple
Farm Brooder and Finisher.
The heat may be supplied by a kerosene lamp underneath,
as illustrated in Figure 10, or electricity may be used, in which
case the bulbs or heating units are placed in the top section.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Fig. 10.-A complete farm brooder 3' x 10', including brooding and
sunporch units. Note lamp, feeder and waterers.

Brooding chicks in batteries is the latest development in
brooding. It employs a battery of wire-bottom chick trays, 1
above another. Under each tray is a metal pan which collects
the droppings. The feed and water vessels are on the outside
of the tray and this makes it impossible for the chicks to con-
taminate them with their droppings. It is recommended that
when chicks are started in battery brooders, at least 10 square
inches of floor space be allowed for each chick. (Fig. 11.)
There are many types of battery brooders on the market. The
principal ones are (1) heated compartments and (2) unheated
compartments. I$ the former type, each compartment is heated
and the heat is regulated by a thermostat. This type generally
has 2 sections, 1 warm and 1 cool. In the latter type the room
is heated and a fan is stationed in the room to circulate the air.
Battery brooding appears to be very successful for the first
few weeks. With advancements in types of brooders and meth-
ods of management, perhaps they will be used for a longer
period. They are being used for the production of broilers and
fryers. The length of time that pullets can be kept in the
batteries for best results is variable. Most poultrymen have



Fig. ll. Types of starter, g ower and finishing batteries. .

Fig. 12.-Summer shelters or range houses on bermuda sod.

found it undesirable to keep pullet chicks in batteries longer
than 3 weeks .
After chicks are removed from the battery brooder they can
be put in either colony or long-type brooders until they are ready
to go on range.

Fig. 13.-Framework of summer shelter.

Poultry Houses and Equipment


When the cockerels are marketed, cull the slow, runty pullets
and all birds not likely to develop into profitable layers. Place
the remaining pullets on a range that is clean and with a mod-
erate amount of shade and a good supply of green feed.
Provide a suitable light movable summer shelter with a good
circulation of air. Do not crowd. (See Figs. 12, 13 and 19.)
These shelters are about 8'x10' or 10'x10' with wire on all
4 sides, perches and a wire floor (1" mesh poultry netting).
Sometimes a wooden floor with screening under the perches is
Keep young chicks and growing pullets away from old birds.


Laying houses may be movable or stationary. If they are
to be portable they should be placed on runners so that they
can be moved from place to place. All laying houses should be
inexpensively but well equipped with labor-saving devices.
The floors in the laying house may be dirt, wood or concrete.
Wood or concrete floors are better.
Laying houses are generally open-front. Some have a 4-foot
opening while others have the entire front open. This will

Fig. 14.-Interior of colony house for pullets. Note arrangement of
perches, wire under perches, and openings.

Florida Cooperative Extension

allow plenty of sunshine and ventilation for the house. Venti-
lators should be placed in the rear of the house just under the
plate or below the dropping boards or both. If a gable roof is
used ventilators at peak should be constructed. (See Figs. 1
and 2.)
The sides of the house should be tightly constructed so as to
prevent any drafts on the birds. In central and northern Florida
the houses are constructed more tightly than in southern Florida.
An abundance of fresh air in poultry houses is essential.

The following suggestions are given to assist in the construc-
tion of a poultry house.

Height in Feet
Depth, Ft. Length, Ft. Front Rear
12 10 7 -7% 4%-5
14 12 7%-8 5 -5%
16 16 8 -8% 5 -5%
20 20 8%-9 5 -5_2

Overhangs or drips are suggested on shed-roof type houses.
The drip should be 2 feet to 21/2 feet at an angle of 45 degrees.
Even span houses are constructed so as to have a front and

Fig. 15.-The all-purpose house being used as a laying house.

Poultry Houses and Equipment



Fig. 16.-Plans for shed-roof laying house, 10'x12', with drip.

Florida Cooperative Extension

rear height of 7 to 8 feet and the peak 10 feet. The depth ranges
from 16 to 18 feet and the length from 32 to 48 feet.
The fronts are boarded up 21/2 to 3 feet and the remainder
screened with poultry wire.
Rear ventilators just under the plate are 6 to 12 inches wide
and hinged. Ventilators below the dropping boards are fur-
nished by means of glass windows 2'x2' which can be slid back
and forth. The opening is covered with 1-inch mesh wire.
Openings in either end of the even-span house near the peak
are sometimes found to provide better ventilation.

The all-purpose portable poultry house is in use on many
farms in the State as a brooder house, range house and laying
house. It is a 10'x12' house built on skids and can be used for
the small farm flock or as a unit on large farms. Figures 15
and 18 illustrate this type of house. For additional information
write for Circular 50, Portable All-Purpose Poultry House.

Dropping boards should be constructed of tongue-and-groove
material. The boards should be laid from front to rear to facili-
tate cleaning. The boards should be horizontal and parallel with
the floor. They should be about 21/2 to 3 feet off the ground,
and should extend 9 to 12 inches beyond the front and back
Dropping pits are now being used in many poultry houses in
place of dropping boards. Dropping pits are easily constructed
at lower cost than dropping boards. Perches are about 18 inches
from the floor at the rear and 12 inches at the front, or they
may be horizontal. The perches are seldom placed over 2 feet
above the floor. Wire is placed under the perches to keep the
chickens out of the droppings. A board or wire frame is used
at the front of the roosting section. This will keep the birds
from getting into the pit under the perches.
In general, perches over a dropping pit are lower than those
with dropping boards.
Roosts.-Removable roost poles should be provided for the
hens. They should be placed on the same level (horizontal) to
prevent the birds from crowding to the top poles. Lumber 2"x2"
or 2"x3" should be used with the sharp corners rounded. These

Poultry Houses and Equipment


1.4- t5' ANGLE



Fig. 17.-Plans for a two-thirds span laying house.


c /e s/nc


Fig. 18.-Detailed plans for the all-purpose or
"3-way" poultry house.

9x8'x 4'Jkid-


r---_LL-_-_-j__ r-----r--"-----^----.
.-.-- --. -r .. ----1 ----r____....... rr..

TII Ii 1
2--~-T_-._-- --. r---- --

'.3 I ll i -I --2= I----- --- ---
I- ] -- I I I- I I

,------LL _-----J-1j__ ---

I1 I I

_.------.----.-- ...
P.- --I -- -- JA-----'

r- -.--7-" -.--.-.-- ..- ..,
.--- -. ---1. F-.-- -
S. -.I.T~T ....

^-- ---~ T ---- r---- -TT----T-

....L ..----- ..LL..__ ,---i- _-_--_---- --J-,
, -- .~-^u-T-- _-.- ^ .. r---r^ _~--- ~ -.- -..

i II 0 ''

I / Ii II
r---- ---_--_--.-L L -.----- LL -------. LL ....
. T.... ------ _- -. n-r ....... rr ....
36 '------- ---




i -

.- ,-.o- .l -< ---

*------------ ~.,---o'o------------- >| r-------------- iz'-o --------------

Fig. 19.-Plans for desirable type summer shelter.


Florida Cooperative Extension

roosts are generally placed 6 inches above the dropping boards
and are supported either by wires from the roof or by a frame
resting on the dropping boards. In the latter case, it is well to
use hinges so as to raise the perches when cleaning the dropping
boards. (Fig. 16.) From 8 to 10 linear inches (8" for Leghorns
and 10" for New Hampshires) are allowed per bird for roosting
space. The roosts are placed 12 to 16 inches apart. Wire (11/2"
heavy mesh poultry netting) should be stretched below the
roosts to keep the hens out of the droppings in order to promote
health and cleanliness.
Roost poles should be made in sections about 5' or 6' in length
for ease in handling. Roost poles should also be provided for
the chicks. It is most desirable to get the chicks to roost as
early as possible. Roost poles for chicks are generally con-
structed of 1"x2" lumber on edge, the sharp corners rounded.
Also 1" mesh poultry netting should be fastened under the
perches. A great many poultrymen slope the chick perches.
Do not have the high part of slope more than 12" from the floor
at the back and then have it taper gradually to the floor. This
will get the chicks up off the floor, which will allow better

Fig. 20.-Interior of laying house at Florida National Egg-Laying Test.

Poultry Houses and Equipment

Nests should be easily accessible to both hens and caretaker,
economically constructed and easily cleaned. Nests should be
roomy, movable, easily cleaned, cool, well ventilated, dark and
conveniently located. A dark nest is preferable; there will be
less scratching in nest, less egg breakage and less egg eating.
Nests can be located on the end walls or in front. For Leghorns
and other light breeds nests 12"x12" and for Rhode Island Reds
and other dual-purpose breeds nests 12"x14" or 14"x14" are
sufficient. The nests should be 12 to 15 inches high and the
front edge board 4 to 6 inches high to retain nesting material.
Plenty of nests should be available for the birds. One nest for
every 4 to 6 hens
is sufficient.
Nest bottoms are
of either wood or
wire. When single
tiers of nests are
used 1/'" mesh hard-
ware cloth (fine
wire) or netting
may be used for the
bottom. This per-
mits more circula-
tion of air and al-
lows droppings and
trash to be scratched
through the wire
netting. This helps
to keep the nest
A sloping roof
over the nests will Fig. 21.-A type of trapnest. Note jump
board and open-type trapdoor. These nests are
keep the hens from well ventilated.
roosting on top.
Hinged jump boards in front may be closed to keep hens out
of nest at night.
All-metal nests are used quite extensively. They are easier
to clean and less apt to become infested with mites.
If a group of nests is built together they should be movable
for convenience in cleaning.
Some poultrymen are using orange boxes and egg crates as

Florida Cooperative Extension

Trapnests are the only sure way of telling what the hens
will do. They differ from the regular nests in that they are
provided with trapdoors. There are several styles of trapnests
manufactured by commercial companies, or trapnest fronts may
be purchased and attached to the nests. There should be 1 trap-
nest for each 4 birds. Trapnests are necessary pieces of equip-
ment on poultry breeding farms.

Fig. 22.-A group of 6 metal trapnests.
The water fountain is a fixture to which careful consideration
should be given. It should be constructed so that it can be
easily cleaned and disinfected, is easily accessible for the poultry,
and is protected from contamination. Water vessels should be
placed on stands near the mash hopper.
Plenty of drinking vessels should be available for the chicks.
A 1-quart jar for about 30 chicks is satisfactory. In using such
a jar, it must be filled at least twice daily. Some find a /2-gallon
fountain for 50 chicks very satisfactory. (See Fig. 23.)
Galvanized pails are used quite extensively as water vessels
for layers. It is suggested that a 12 to 16-quart pail be used,
allowing 2 or 3 pails for each 100 to 125 birds.
One hundred hens will drink from 4 to 6 gallons of water
per day.
Stand for Water Pails.-When pails are used to supply water

Poultry Houses and Equipment

Fig. 23.-Two types of water vessels for growing birds.

Fig. 24.-Water or milk pan protector.

for the layers, a stand should be provided to keep the pail off the
floor. It can be easily constructed as follows: Use 2"x4" for
the legs, making them 18" high. The slats which form the top

Florida Cooperative Extension

are 1"x2" strips about 1/2" apart which permit dirt and drop-
pings to work down between them, thus helping to keep the
stand clean and dry. The pail is set down about 4". If a pan
is used it is well to have a protector over it to keep the birds
from walking through.
Water or Milk Pan Protector.-A simple, yet very important,
part of the water equipment is a protector. It can be made in
many different ways as indicated in Fig. 24.
Sometimes it has been found desirable to have a water barrel
mounted on skids, especially for birds on range. A small tap is
placed at bottom of barrel with a pipe leading from it so that
it will drip into a pan which has a protector.
Screened Platform for Drinking Vessels.-Such a platform
will make it possible to keep the floor or ground dry. One can

Fig. 25.-Water pan on wire platform with cover,
used on range for pullets. Dry well underneath
wire stand.
tains are used rather extensively. This allows
supply of fresh running water.

be easily con-
structed. Use 2"
x4" for frames
and cover with
1/2" mesh hard-
ware cloth.
Make frame any
desired size.
If screened
platform is used
in the yard, first
make a dry well
and put frame
over the well.
(Fig. 25.)
On the larger
poultry farms
automatic foun-
for a continuous

Feeders should be built so that they are easy to fill and to
clean and do not waste feed. They should be arranged so that
the birds cannot roost on them and should be high enough so
that litter cannot be scratched into them.
Mash hoppers are essential in all phases of poultry manage-

Poultry Houses and Equipment

ment. They should be constructed so as to be clean, sanitary
and non-wasting. There are many different types.
Chick Feeders.-Chick feeders should be sanitary and non-
wasting. There are a number of different types which are easily
constructed. One of these is the reel type, which has a reel
placed above it so that chicks cannot perch on top and conse-
quently the feed and feeder are kept cleaner. Plans for a feeder
4" wide, 30" long and 11/2" deep are shown in Fig. 26. The reel
is 1 inch square, and is supported by a heavy wire at each
end of the feeder.

REEL I'-)*
& 1140. 8 WIR


Fig. 26.-Plans for the construction of a reel-type chick feeder. A similar
feeder, only larger, can be used for pullets or layers.

Fig. 27.-Two types of indoor feeders.

36 Florida Cooperative Extension

A similar feeder 6" wide, 4' long and 31/4" high is used for
pullets. The reel for it is 11/ inches square, and is supported
by extra heavy wire.

Fig. 28.-A good type of
outdoor hopper for use on
the range.

Fig. 29.-A good outdoor feeder.

~XF/ i ,'K

Poultry Houses and Equipment

Another type of chick feeder that is used and is easily con-
structed is made by taking a board 6" wide and 4' long as the
bottom and using 23/4" boards for sides. Then take a strip of
1/2" hardware cloth 3'10"x51/2" and set in trough. The wire
is placed on top of mash and will prevent the mash from being
scratched out.
Outdoor Hopper.-This type of hopper is used for growing
birds on range. It is so constructed that rain will be kept out.
(Figs. 28 and 29.)
Feeding Space.-Ample room should be allowed so chicks can


Fig. 30.-Plans

for a satisfactory mash hopper.

Florida Cooperative Extension

feed freely. It is recommended that 1 square foot of mash
hopper space be allowed for 50 chicks for first 4 weeks, then 1
square foot of space for 25 chicks.
A 3' feeder will take care of 100 chicks for first 3 weeks.
More feeders are needed after this time.

Fig. 31.-Open non-wasting mash hopper.


Poultry Houses and Equipment

As a general rule, about 1 inch of feeding space per chick is
desirable. For growing birds allow about 2 to 3 inches of feed-
ing space and for laying birds at least 2 to 3 inches.



2-1"x6"x4' 3-1"x3'%"x3Y"
1-1"x12"x4' 4-plaster lath
2-1"x12"x8y/2" 2-2%" No. 10 screws
2-1"xl"x18" V2 lb. 6d. box nails

Layers' Mash Hoppers.-Sufficient mash hoppers should be
available for the birds. Approximately 16 to 20 linear feet of
dry mash hopper space should be provided for each 100 adult
birds. See Figures 30 and 31 for construction of 2 different
types of mash hoppers. Hoppers 4 to 5 feet in length are easy
to handle.
An oyster shell and grit hopper should be provided. Figure 32
shows a suitable type of hopper which will hold large amounts
of grit and oyster shell. This material should be kept before
the laying and growing stock all of the time.
Another type of hopper for grit, shell and charcoal can be
easily constructed as follows:

Fig. 32.-Oyster shell and grit hopper

1 pc. l"x12"x14'-backs, ends, partitions and fronts
1 pc. ll"x8"x6'-top and front of trough
1 pr. 2" butt hinges.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Construct a box 4' long, 6" wide and 5" deep and divide into
2 or 3 sections and nail to side of house 1' from floor. A lip
may be used to check waste.

A broody coop is used to break up hens that want to set. This
can be arranged
on top of the
roosts at 1 end
of the roosting
space, using the
regular dropping
board to care for
the droppings and
_____utilizing the end,
SD VI. back and roof of
the house for 3
of the sides of
Sthe broody coop.
i The other side-
V3 the front and
i the bottom should
be slats about
iJ 11/2" apart made
._--_-_ of lath or lattice,
/i or thin strips, or
-. covered with
RONT VIW heavy poultry
Fig. 33.-Suggestions for a broody coop. netting. This per-

Fig. 34.-Type of hook for catching chickens.

Poultry Houses and Equipment 41

mits constant circulation of air, lots of light, and forces the
broody bird to roost on the slats and provides no place for her
to make her nest. Provide feeding and drinking vessels for

Fig. 35.-Home-made fattening crate for broilers and fryers.


Fig. 36.-Complete finisher, 3' x 10'. Note feeder, waterer, cover, and
2 vertical panels which facilitate catching chickens. These are constructed
to slide up and down between the slats.

Florida Cooperative Extension

t` ~` ~~ak~a~li

..- .


Fig. 37.-Catching crate (below).
Note sliding door on lift and hinged
door in top. Shipping crate used
to haul poultry is shown above.

Fig. 38.-The fire gun, carefully

broody hens. See Figure 33.
Catching Hook.-A catching
hook is a necessary and useful
piece of equipment for the poul-
try farm. See Figure 34.
Fattening Crate.-Birds
should be in good flesh before
they are put on the market or
are used at home. A fattening
crate is very useful and can be
constructed very easily. Figure
35 will give some suggestions in
the construction of a fattening
The finisher illustrated in Fig-
ure 36 may be used to finish
broilers and fryers and fatten
hens or roosters. It will accom-
modate 30 to 35 broilers. The
framework of this pen is made
of 1"x4" (or 1"x6") material
and the floor is covered with 1"

used, is satisfactory for disinfecting.

Poultry Houses and Equipment

hardware cloth or 1" heavy poultry netting. The top, sides and
ends are covered with wooden slats 11/" apart. The framework
also may be covered with 2" poultry netting. See Circular 70
for details.
Catching Crate.-A catching crate is used often during the
year in the management of a flock of birds. Figure 37 illustrates
a type that is very
satisfactory. There
is a sliding door at
each end and a hinged
door at the top.
The other crate illus-
trated is very con-
venient in transport-
ing birds from 1 pen
to another; in bring-
ing pullets in off the
range; or in hauling
birds to market.
Hurdles or wire
frames also are con-
venient pieces of
equipment to have to
help in catching i r
chickens. They can .
be made in frames W .t -
about 2' to 3' high '
and 5' or 6' long. Fig. 39.-Type of manure shed that has been
Cleaning Equip- found very satisfactory.
ment.-Tools and
equipment for cleaning purposes would include shovels, brooms,
scrapers, rakes, spray pump, wheelbarrow or cart, and other
needed items.
Incinerator.-An incinerator should be a part of the equip-
ment on a poultry farm, so that dead birds can be burned. A
very satisfactory incinerator may be made from an oil drum.
Manure Shed.-A manure shed can be easily constructed to
take care of the droppings and litter which cannot be disposed
of when cleaning is done.
Lighting Equipment.-Artificial lights are used in laying
houses to stimulate fall production of hens, to bring late or slow-

44 Florida Cooperative Extension

maturing pullets into production, and to delay the molt or hasten
birds through the molt.
Forty-watt bulbs are used in a pen that will accommodate 50
to 100 birds. The light should be placed in the center of the
pen over the feeders and water stands. Broad, shallow reflectors
will throw more of the light toward the floor and on the birds.
Some automatic device should be used to turn on the lights in
the early morning.
For all-night lights, 10- to 15-watt bulbs or kerosene lanterns
are used.

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs