Housing and Equipment
1. How much floor area is needed per bird in small flocks?
For meat-type birds, 1.0 square foot/bird and for egg type birds .5 to 1.5 square feet in small flocks is recommended. For more information, see Management of the Small Flock of Chickens, p.2.
2. Is ammonia gas harmful to chickens?
This gas irritates the eyes of the caretaker and affects poultry. Continuous concentrations over 30 ppm can damage the birds respiratory tract and reduce performance. High levels may cause keratoconjunctivitis (eye rubbing with wing, eyes becoming closed and sensitive to light). Humans can detect a level of 25 ppm of ammonia. The presence of detectable levels of ammonia indicates inadequate ventilation. treating litter with super phosphate (2.2 lb/10.5 sq. ft.) Will reduce the release of ammonia. There are also many commercial sources of litter amendments, which reduce ammonia output.
3. What type of housing is needed for small flocks of poultry?
Any building that will keep the birds dry, protected from extreme temperature variations, provide adequate ventilation, and be accessible is satisfactory. Availability of electric light is beneficial in maintaining egg production during the winter. Plans for a 40-50 bird house are available from the KSU extension offices.