Heaters for chickens

Chicken farming pictures...

Gas Heaters for chicken structures – also called brooders, as well as chicken heaters – brooders are the most effective technique to warm a chicken house in Southern Africa. Electrical power is now too expensive and is not really reliable. Should you suffer a loss of electrical power in your hen house you will end up losing your flock.

Without heat your day old chickens will die. Day old chickens need heat – even on a hot day your baby chickens will need to be in an environment that has a temperature of about 34 degrees C. Even if your chicks do not die from the drop in temperature, your growth and weights will suffer down the line. The answer is a gas brooder, and the best on the market is the Gasolec brooder – available in 2 sizes, these are by far the best way to heat a poultry house.

Gas heaters give instant heat where you need it and when you need it.. The chicks can move in and out of the warm spot as they need to. There is no need to heat the whole house – just where the chicks are. The other ways to keep your chickens warm both rely on electricity – radiant heaters and coal powered heaters called heatcos – heatcos need a fan to distribute heat – and because hot air rises – you will need to heat the whole house.

Make no mistake – as electricity prices rise in South Africa the cost of heating a poultry house is going to become a huge factor in the cost of raising broiler chickens. Broiler houses are totally dependent on heat to survive in the first few weeks, and in cold areas even older chickens need heat. Heating a chicken house with a gas heater or gas brooder is going to become the only form of heating that chicken farmers use in the future. Heating a chicken house with a gas heater or gas brooder is the best form, and the cheapest way of heating. Gasolec is the best heater on the market today. In very cold places heaters are also used with adult chickens – such as broilers and layers – the radiant nature of the heater means the chickens can self regulate – IE; move closer to or further away from the heat source – chickens in layer cages can obviously not do this so care needs to be taken when using any kind of heater alongside layer cages. In fact, care should be taken with any kind of chicken farming.

The G12 Gasolec gas brooder is a large heater – mostly used in large poultry houses. The smaller version for small poultry houses is the M8 gas brooder. Both of these heaters are imported. This is such a good design that a South African company is copying it – unfortunately the quality is just not the same – and when it comes to heating a chicken house you should take no chances – even if you can save a few Rands. Gasolec brooders have a thermostat – you can regulate the temperature automatically – as the house temperature rises the gas heater will move to a low setting and as the temperature drops it will kick in again. Supplied with a dust filter to ensure no blocking of the jets (poultry houses are very dusty) the gas brooder is hung from the roof of the poultry house.

As soon as the day old chickens are of sufficient age to do without the need of the gas brooder it must be wiped clean and then stored somewhere till the time the coming phase (which includes the propane container). The gas bottle must never be kept in the hen house, but rather outside the house – or else the poultry could perch on it and create a real mess. The dust particles filters on the Gasolec heating unit ought to be wiped clean out after the cycle period. Take care with your thermocouple — this is the small copper tube – in the event that this is twisted your heating unit can stop performing. Don’t soak the heating unit with a pressure sprayer — wipe it down by hand using any soft cloth as well as some antiseptic.

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Egg growing and layer cage conditions to change in USA

Egg producers, humane society propose federal legislation for layers

Law would be first federal legislation addressing treatment of animals on farms
Release Date: 07 July 2011

The United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States have partnered to work toward the enactment of federal legislation that would set national standards for hens involved in U.S. egg production. The proposed standards, if enacted, would be the first federal law addressing the treatment of animals on farms.

The proposed legislation would:

  • require conventional cages (currently used by more than 90% of the egg industry) to be replaced, through an ample phase-in period, with new, enriched housing systems that provide each hen nearly double the amount of space they’re currently allotted. Egg producers will invest an additional $4 billion over the next decade and a half to effect this industry-wide make-over;
  • require that all egg-laying hens be provided, through the new enriched housing system, with environments that will allow hens to express natural behaviors, such as perches, nesting boxes and scratching areas;
  • mandate labeling on all egg cartons nationwide to inform consumers of the method used to produce the eggs, such as “eggs from caged hens,” “eggs from hens in enriched cages,” “eggs from cage-free hens” andeggs from free-range hens;”
  • prohibit feed- or water-withholding molting to extend the laying cycle, a practice already prohibited by the United Egg Producers Certified program adhered to by a majority of egg farmers;
  • require standards approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association for euthanasia for egg laying hens;
  • prohibit excessive ammonia levels in hen houses;
  • prohibit the sale of eggs and egg products nationwide that don’t meet these requirements.

The two groups will jointly ask Congress for federal legislation which would require egg producers to increase space per bird in a tiered phase-in, with the amount of space birds are given increasing, in intervals, over the next 15 to 18 years. Currently, the majority of birds are each provided 67 square inches of space, with roughly 50 million receiving 48 square inches. The proposed phase-in would culminate with hens nationwide being provided a minimum of 124–144 square inches of space, along with the other improvements noted.

If passed by Congress, the legislation would supersede state laws including those that have already been passed in Arizona, California (Proposition 2), Michigan and Ohio. The agreement to pass comprehensive federal legislation for standards of egg production puts a hold on planned ballot measures related to egg-laying hens in both Washington and Oregon. Home growers will face the same regulations – even those with small chicken coops. South Africans currently do pretty much as they please when it comes to layer cages – expect our Legislation to follow…..

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Does a Layer house need heaters?

Does a Layer house need heaters? - Does a Layer house need gas heaters? – Unless you live in a very cold area you will not need gas brooders. You will need fans if it is a very hot place. The chickens are very close together in a layer cage – and they will keep each other warm – to much heat is the problem you will face and good poultry fans will be needed.

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How many chickens?

How many chickens? How many chickens can I farm per square meter in a closed chicken house? Depending on the regulations of your country – and how good you are with bio secrity and poultry management, some farmers in South Africa are placing 22 broiler chickens per square meter. That is a lot of chickens and the chance of something going wrong increases exponetially as you crowd more and more chickens together. If you are planning to do free range eggs or organic eggs you will need to find out the regulations in your country. In free range egg farming and organic egg farming nest boxes are allowed but layer cages are not – So what is best layer cages or nest boxes? Really depends on your budget and the type of chicken farming you are planning.

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How many chickens can a layer cage hold?

How many chickens can a layer cage hold? – This depends on the size of each bay in the layer cage. The standard size layer cage bay holds a maximum of 5 hens – some layer cages are bigger and hold up to 7 chickens per layer cage or bay.

layer cages South Africa

layer cage

Most layer cages comprise of a starter unit – which has the poultry equipment for watering the chickens – nipple drinker tank etc. and then add on units – which are installed in a row after the starter unit. The amount of hens you can fit in a complete layer cage will be determined by how many add on units you have and how big the cages are. How many layer cages za you can fit in the layer house will depend on the size of your layer house.

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Poultry House for 2500 chickens

2500 broiler chickens will fit in this poultry house

30m x 6m poultry house for broilers chickens and laying chickens

A layer house is a chicken house that has pullets or laying hens in.A broiler house is a poultry house that has chickens that are reared for their meat. To place 2500 chickens as broilers you will need a Yellow door Poultry house that is 6m wide and 30m long. Pullets are young hens that have not started laying eggs yet and a point of lay chicken is a young hen that has been raised for specifically laying eggs – this is the type of chicken you will place in a layer cage and pullet cage or in a layer house. Made from sturdy angle iron and galvanised sheet these small farmer production houses are perfect for raising layers and broilers in South Africa. Poultry houses are available in many sizes – from very small chicken houses – 3m x 6m for 250 chickens right up to the chicken house picture you see. When building a chicken house you will need to lay a level cement slab and have running water and electricity on you site.

Layer houses and broiler houses that hold up to 2500 chickens are constructed in a similar way. A chicken house that hold layer cages should be higher and have air vents near the floor. It can have layer cages or nest boxes depending on how you wish to farm. A poultry house that is built for broilers should be enclosed and have tube feeders and bell drinkers.

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