Types of Poultry Houses | Things Need to Know Before Starting a Poultry Business!

types of poultry houses

After the selection of desirable breed, the main task is to choose the right housing system for your bird. Which types of Poultry Houses are to be adopted? It depends on category type, type of birds, climatic conditions, capacity to invest, and strength of birds. Sometimes poultry keepers used a combination of one or two systems depending on the need and convenience of operations for farming.

Generally, four types of poultry houses followed among the poultry keepers. The type of housing adopted depends to a large extent on the amount of ground and the capital available.

Types of poultry houses:

  • Free- range or extensive system
  • Semi-intensive system
  • Folding unit system
  • Intensive system
  1. Battery Litter system
  2. Deep Litter system

Free-range or extensive system:

It is the oldest one and has been used for centuries by general farmers, where there is no shortage of land. This system allows great but not unlimited, space for the birds on land where they can find an appreciable amount of food in the form of herbage, seeds, and insects. This system protects the birds from predatory animals and infectious diseases including parasitic infestation. At present, due to the advantages of intensive methods, the system is almost obsolete.

Semi-intensive system:

If you have a limited amount of space for your poultry birds then these types of poultry houses are ideal for that. But it is necessary to allow the birds 20-30 square yards per bird of outside run. You must give at least 10-15 square yards of running for the birds thus enabling the birds to move onto fresh ground.

 Types of Poultry Houses

Folding unit system:

This system of housing is an innovation of recent years. In thes types of poultry houses the birds are confined to one small run. You should have to change the position each day giving them fresh ground and the birds find a considerable proportion of food from the herbage are healthier and harder. For the farmer, the beneficial effects of scratching and manuring on the land is another side effect.

A standard size folding unit system is for 25 birds. A floor space of 1 square foot should be allowed for each bird in the house, and 3 square feet in the run, so that the total floor space to the whole unit is 4 square feet per bird, as with the intensive system.

A suitable measurement for a folding house to take 25 birds is 5 feet wide and 20 feet long, the house is 5’ x 5’, one-third of the run.

 Types of Poultry Houses


  • You have to provide feed by yourself to the birds and have to brought eggs back.
  • Some extra labour involved in the regular moving of the fold units.

Intensive system:

For limited and expensive land, an intensive system is adopted. In this system, the birds are confined to the house entirely, with no access to land outside. This has only been made possible by admitting the direct rays of the sun onto the floor of the house so that part of the windows are removable, or either fold or slide down to permit the ultraviolet rays to reach the birds. Under the intensive system, Battery (cage system) and Deep litter methods are most common.

Battery system:

This is the most intensive types of poultry houses and is useful to those with only a small quantity of floor space at their disposal. In the battery system, each hen is confined to a cage just large enough to permit very limited movement and allow her to stand and sit comfortably. The usual floor space is 14 x 16 inches and the height, 17 inches. The floor is of standard strong galvanized wire set at a slope from back to the front, so that the eggs as they are laid, roll out of the cage to a receiving gutter. Underneath is a tray for droppings. Both food and water receptacles are outside the cage.

Many small cages can be assembled together, if necessary they may be multistoried. The whole structure should be of metal so that no parasites will be harbored and thorough disinfection can be carried out as often as required. Provided the batteries of cages are set up in a place that is well ventilated, and lighted, is not too hot, and is vermin proof and that the food meets all nutritional needs, this system has proved to be

 Types of Poultry Houses


  • Remarkably successful in tropical countries
  • It requires a minimum expenditure of energy from the bird as they spend all-time in the shade.
  • Battery System lessens the load of excess body heat.
  • The performance of each bird can be noted and culling easily carried out.

Deep litter system:

In these types of Poultry Houses system, the poultry birds are kept in large pens up to 250 birds each, on the floor covered with litters like straw, sawdust, or leaves up to the depth of 8-12 inches. Deep litter resembles dry compost. In other words, we can define deep litter, as the accumulation of the material used for litter with poultry manure until it reaches a depth of 8 to 12 inches. The build-up has to be carried out correctly to give desired results, which takes very little attention.

Suitable dry organic materials like straw (needs to be cut into 2 or 3-inch lengths), sawdust, leaves, dry grasses, groundnut shells, broken up maize stalks and cobs, the bark of trees in sufficient quantity to give a depth of about 6 inches in the pen should be used.

The droppings of the birds gradually combine with the materials used to build up the litter. In about 2 months, it has usually become deep litter, and by 6 months it has become built-up deep litter. At about 12 months of old stage, it is fully built up. Extra litter materials can be added to maintain sufficient depth.

The deep litter pan should be started when the weather is dry and is likely to remain so for about 2 months for the operation of the bacterial action, which alters the composition of the litter. Start new litter with each year’s pullets and continue with it for their laying period.

 Types of Poultry Houses

Advantages of Deep Litter System:

  • Birds and eggs are safe as enclosed in a deep litter intensive pen, which has strong wire netting or expanded metal.
  • Built-up deep litter also supplies some of the food requirements of the birds. They obtain “Animal Protein Factor” from deep litter.
  • The level of coccidiosis and worm infestation is much lower with poultry kept on good deep litter than with birds (or chicken) in bare yards. Well-managed deep litter kept in dry condition with no wet spots around the waterer has a sterilizing action.
  • With correct conditions observed with well-managed litter, there is no need to clean a pen out for a whole year; the only attention is the regular stirring and adding of some material as needed.
  • Generally, 35 laying birds can produce in one year about 1 tonne of deep litter fertilizer. The level of nitrogen in fresh manure is about 1%, but on well-built-up deep litter, it may be around 3% nitrogen (nearly 20% protein). It also contains about 2% phosphorus and 2% potash. Its value is about 3 times that of cattle manure.
  • It is a valuable insulating agent, the litter maintains its own constant temperature, so birds burrow into it when the air temperature is high and thereby cool themselves. Conversely, they can warm themselves in the same way when the weather is very cool.

Basic Rules for deep litter system:

  • Do not have too many birds in the pen – one bird for every 3 ½ to 4 and preferably 5 square feet of floor space.
  • Provide sufficient ventilation to enable the litter to keep in correct condition.
  • Keep the litter dry. This is probably the masterwork in a deep litter system. If the litter gets soaked by leaking from roofs or from water vessels, it upsets the whole process and would have to start over again. All probable precautions should be taken to maintain the litter completely dry.
  • Stir the litter regularly. Turning the litter (just like digging in a garden) at least once weekly is very important in maintaining a correct build-up of deep litter.

Common Designs for Poultry Housing:

  • It should have fundamental amenities like electricity and water.
  • Poultry Housing should be located in a raise area to avoid any water-logging.
  • It should have good ventilation.
  • Design should not allow visitors or outside vehicles near the houses.
  • The structures should in a way that located that  fresh air first passes through the sheds.
  • The egg stores, offices and the feed store should be located near entrance to reduce the movement of people around the poultry houses.
  • The disposal pit and sick/quarantine zone should be constructed only at the furthest end of the site.

Floor Space Requirement for Chicken Birds

Age in weeksDeep litter in square ftCages in square ft

Flow chart for a Housing system

Extensive Management System or free-range: In which the birds live outside the whole day and find their own feed like Plants, leaves, ants, insects, and other living organisms. Birds allowed house at night by their owner.

Semi-intensive management System: In this system, the bird lives outside for the whole day for foraging and a handful of grain provided by the owner at night. This method is mostly used on a small scale for 300- 400 birds only.

Intensive Management System: in this method, all the comfort is provided to the birds in the house. To get the maximum production the Good quality feed is always remaining available in front of the birds. This is the most common method used worldwide on a commercially large scale to fulfillment the consumption of chicken meat and Eggs

 Types of Poultry Houses

Cage system:

This method involves raising poultry on raised wire netting floor in compartments, known as cages, they are either built-in with stands on the floor of the house or suspended. Feeders and drinkers are attached to cages from outside except for nipple drinkers, for which pipeline is fitted through the cages. This method has proved to be very efficient for laying birds.

Poultry Housing

As of today, over 70 % of commercial layers worldwide are kept in cages. Automatic feeding and egg collection systems can be installed in this method. The droppings are either collected in trays below cages or on belts or on the floor or deep pit below cages, dependent on the type of cages.

Types of cages

  • single or individual bird cages
  • multiple bird cages (up to 10 birds)
  • colony cages (more than 10 birds)
  • Battery cages
1.Water tank
2.Water pipe
5.Feeding trough hook
6.Feeding trough
7.Trough supporter 
8.Top mesh
9/10Partition mesh/Door


  • Minimum floor space requirement.
  • Artificial Insemination (AI) can be carried out easily.
  • Unproductive and sick birds can be identified.
  • Less feed expenditure due to wastage.
  • Protection from a wide range of parasites and litter borne illnesses.
  • Iniquities of egg eating and cannibalism is minimal.


  • High start up investment cost.
  • Manure handling may be problem flies are a big problem.
  • Cases of spots of blood in egg are high.
  • Problem of cage layer fatigue. 
  • In case of broilers, blisters are common on their breast, particularly when the broilers gains weight more than 1.5 kg.

Non-cage systems

Non-cage systems are housing systems without confined devices which are operated by the keeper from the inside of the building and which allow the laying hens the fulfilment most of their basic natural behaviour.

Barn or floor management systems:

It can be either pure indoor systems or may be combined with outdoor facilities. They are always one-level systems in which the ground floor is either covered totally or partly with litter or systems with perforated floors (mostly welded wire mesh). In the latter systems, the droppings fall through the perforated floor. The laying hens have no access to the collected manure underneath the floor. Nests are in most cases placed at the outer walls. Feeding and drinking equipment can be arranged in various forms.

Poultry Housing


Such housing systems are always multi-level systems. Besides the ground floor, several levels of perforated floors are arranged in such a way that the droppings cannot fall on the birds roaming on a lower level. In modern systems, manure belts are installed underneath the perforated floors. Feeding and drinking equipment is arranged in such a way that all hens have easy access to both elements. Nest boxes can be either arranged separately along the walls or integrated within the blocks of perforated floors.

Aviaries can also be arranged as pure indoor systems or as systems with outdoor access. The latter can be a covered and enclosed winter garden that prohibits wild birds or predators to enter the housing system.


The poultry Housing System is very much necessary for keeping the birds in their natural behavior because anything that affects the natural behaviors of birds can lead to growth and developmental problems. So which type of Poultry housing you have to choose, totally depends on your availability of space and budget. I had enlisted all the housing systems now you have to decide which one suits you.

After the selection of suitable Poultry Housing for your birds. You also must know the requirements for good Housing systems like what type of facilities you must have to give your birds in order to avoid any future consequences for this must check out the link below;

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