How to Determine Floor Space Requirement for Broilers
So, what is the floor space requirement for broilers? Trust me when I say that a lot farmers get it wrong from answering this simple question. Honestly, it’s not that simple. Sometimes, you find a space requirement somewhere but when you try to adapt it to your farm space, it doesn’t work. Things can get complicated easily, especially since the area calculation is done mostly in square meter (sq. m) or square feet (sq. ft). If you go online to look for the floor space requirement for your broilers, some of the results you will get will be in sq. m and others in sq. ft.
Recently, I was planning a commercial broiler farm, and I had to talk to an architect about the site plan. I gave him my figures in sq. ft, and he immediately asked me why I didn’t do the calculations in sq. m since Nigeria uses the metric system. Well, trust me, I told him it was his problem and that he should convert as he deems fit. Why should I bother myself about those conversions I stopped doing since high school?
Back to business. Even when you get the figures online, you can be lost in just a matter of seconds because of the difference in units. But I am about to end all your worries.
Why You Need to Know the Floor Space Required for Broilers
This begins with stocking density. You don’t want to overstock your farm, as the outcome is often disastrous. Some of the disadvantages of overstocking include:
- Diseases thrive well when you overstock.
- It is hard to manage your litter. Moisture build faster than it evaporates
- Diseases spread faster
- Slow growth
- Poor ventilation
- Fast ammonia build up
- Unwanted and uncontrolled odour
- Dirty chickens
- Poor market value of chickens.
While overstocking is what most people talk about, it is also possible that you are under-stocking your farm. This happens when you are raising a smaller number of birds than the capacity of the house. The following are some of the disadvantages of under-stocking:
- Poor growth. Birds run around and waste their energy exercising
- Poor turn over.
- Resource wastage.
- Cold-related problems
- Difficulty in catching the chickens
These two extremes are no good place to be, hence the need to understand the floor space requirement for broilers before. And you should know this before you start at all.
When to Determine the Floor Space Requirement for Broilers
If you are yet to build a structure for your broilers and you have a target number of birds in mind. This is a good time to find out the space required to rear your 50, 100, 200, 500, 10,000 broilers, depending on your capacity.
Also, if you have a structure already and you want to know how many birds you should order, this is another good time. You need to know the holding capacity of that structure. But first, you will have to determine the area of your structure. This you can get by measuring the length and breadth of the structure and multiplying the values. For example, if length is 20 meters and breadth is 7 meters. The area if Length X breadth which is 20 X 7 = 140 sq. meters. Follow the same process if you are measuring in feet. And just so you know, 1 Foot is 12 inches. 1 Meter is 100 cm. And 1 Meter is approximately 3.3 feet.
What is the Floor Space Requirement for Broilers?
What I am about to tell you might shock you but I want you to take it as a tip from my years of experience. So, what’s that tip/truth? THERE IS NO FIXED FLOOR SPACE REQUIREMENT FOR BROILERS! Shocking, right? Truth is, there are factors that determine the floor space requirement. There is no hard rule to this. So, what are those factors that determine the floor space required to raise broilers?
Factors Affecting Floor Space Requirement
The target market weight of chickens
If you want to sell off your chickens at 6 weeks, you will be needing less space per bird compared to the farmer that wants to raise his chickens for 9 weeks or more. You can also stock so high at the beginning and sell off some of your chickens at 4 weeks to create space for the rest to grow out. So, while I will be giving you the space requirement that I have been using, you need to also apply wisdom to use it. Let’s continue!
The prevalent climate.
Atmospheric temperature is one thing you want to understand and make preparation for, if you intend to succeed as a broiler farmer. Someone in the cold region of Jos or even in the colder nations cannot apply the same floor space as someone in the hot tropical regions.
Structure of the house
Does your broiler house allow free flow of air? What’s the nature of your roof design? You cannot compare a broiler house with closed roof with one with gap for hot air escape on the roof. All these must be factored in when deciding which space requirement you should apply on your farm. I can remember that the first time I raised broiler chickens for December sale, I had to use an uncompleted building. The only passage for air were the windows and doors. Heat stress was a challenge as it cannot be compared with someone with a standard broiler house with only two coaches on block. Let me not share the story of how I managed to raise the broilers to 3.5 KG plus that year. But keeping them cool was a tough battle.
How Cool is Can You Keep Their Water?
Did you know that your ability to serve cool water throughout the day can compensate for some heat, thereby allowing you to stock a little higher than your neighbor whose water tank is kissing the sun.
ALSO READ: 25 Broiler Chicken Tips for Beginners Only
Recommended Floor Space Requirement for Broilers
Now we are here! A lot of people have their recommended floor space requirement, and they can be right if it works for them. But the challenge is that it may not work for you. However, I will not leave you without telling you what will work for you.
Did you know that some people use as little as 8/10 sq. ft to raise their chickens? but that can only be in the temperate regions with predominant cold climate. Some of these people also have completely sealed broiler house with automatic temperature control. Don’t try this at home!
Depending on the factors stated above, I recommend anything between 2 sq. ft to 2.4 sq. ft per chicken. Note that the latter should be use during hot seasons to ease heat stress from the harsh weather. A floor space of 2 sq. ft per bird can be suitable during the cooler periods. But again, you have to give attention to the factors that affect space requirements.
Note that the measurement is for raising mature broilers. You don’t have to allow your broiler chickens to use the whole space from chick stage. You need to follow a gradual expansion plan. Generally, the floor space required for the first 19 days is much smaller – about half the space required from 19 days to six / eight weeks as the case may be.
I hope this information helps you to determine the size of broiler house to build, or the number of birds to raise in your existing structure. Feel free to share this article with others.
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