Housing plays a very important part in kienyeji chicken farming in Kenya and even in broiler and layer farming. However, since kienyeji farming is semi-intensive, there are different housing requirements that you need to look at. Here are some useful considerations that you have to keep in mind when it comes to meeting your poultry housing requirements:-
In Kenya and much of East Africa where the weather is mostly hot, you need to have an open-sided house such as the one shown below so that you can allow natural ventilation into the house. As we have repeatedly stressed, the house should also be in an East-West orientation. This will minimize the amount of sunshine that is coming into the house and will help in keeping the house cool. Chicken do not feed well in hot conditions and a poorly ventilated house is thus likely to impact your production.
When you are introducing new flock into the house, ensure the house is cleaned completely and disinfected in order to prevent any contact between the previous and current flock.
Prepare your brooder a day before the arrival of the chicks. Put the heat source in the brooder at least 24 hours before you introduce new chicks in order to reduce stress on the chicks and also reduce rate of mortality.
Upon the arrival of the chicks, remove them from the box or crates immediately. If that is not possible, ensure the chicks are placed in a place with temperatures not exceeding 20 degrees Celsius in order to prevent chick dehydration.
After placing the chicks in the brooder, supply them with clean drinking water. Ensure the nipples as well as drinkers are working properly. The water should be cool but not colder than 17 degrees Celsius.
Ensure there are enough drinkers in the brooder. Drinker should not be more than 1.5m from any chick. Supply at least one drinker for 80 chicks.
Put drinkers on a larger surface in order to make it easier for the chicks to drinkers. For example, you can use a timber slab which a surface larger than the drinker. This will also prevent contamination and spillage.
After placing the chicks, supply them with feed immediately. Feed should be spread on plastic trays which should cover at least 70% of the brooder surface area. This is the best way to give your chicks a great start.
Perches are important for chicken to roost on at night and during daytime. It also reduces boredom which can lead to antisocial behavior like pecking and fighting. Diseases and parasites may attack poultry when left to rest on the floor (in contact with the litter). Each one-meter perch may roost five adult birds.
The perches are best made from rounded sticks which are not too big or too small. They should be treated with used engine oil kerosene to keep away parasites. Perches should match sire of the birds’ feet. On our blog http://kienyejichicken.blogspot.com, you will find a detailed article on the importance of perches in the kienyeji chicken farming and management and how to build them.
Here are two examples on how you can construct your perches inside the kienyeji chicken house:
Chicken runs are a fenced open air space of 25 square metres or more where poultry are kept are protected against predators and thieves. Runs are also used for feeding, watering, for daily flock observation and collection of eggs. The walls are 2 meters high and can be made of clay or woven mat or chicken wire. A chicken run is relatively costly for small scale farmer but provides security to the poultry. Allow adult birds to scavenge outside the run during daytime to reduce feeding costs.
Allowing your kienyeji birds to run in the chicken runs and feed on the pasture, termites, vegetables and other naturally occurring food diversifies their diet and contributes to very good quality meat and eggs. You can get yellower yolks instead of the pale yolks. Some farmers buy improved kienyeji birds but still keep them in confined spaces which defeats the purpose of going kienyeji. If you are planning to rear kienyeji birds, then you have to create kienyeji conditions where they can freely graze while also supplementing their diets with commercial feeding.
When it comes to setting up your Kienyeji chicken house, one of the most important considerations is the location where you will build it. Choose a suitable hard soil with good drainage and ensure the space will accommodate the number of birds that you plan to keep. Here are some simple tips to keep in mind when looking for a good location for setting up your kienyeji chicken structures:-
The best place for kienyeji farming is in the rural areas. There is adequate land and the air is healthy which is conducive for kienyeji rearing as compared to urban areas. Setting up in the rural areas is also important if you want to go fully free range with your chicken farming and want them to graze on the pasture and get exposed to the sunshine so that you can have better meat and egg quality. With free range farming, you will need to allocate more land where the hens can forage.
The place that you choose should be quiet and free from noise and chaos.
Unless you are getting a long lease, it is generally not advisable to set up your kienyeji farm on rented land. This is especially so if you are putting up large costly structures on the land and being forced to leave the land mid-way may result in some losses. It is always best if you own the land on which you are planning to set up the kienyeji chicken rearing business.
The location that you choose must have a good supply of clean and fresh water.
Take precautions to get rid of predators-both human and animal-by investing in good quality fencing.
It is good to have a good access transportation
Support services: Ensure you have access to support services for the treatment of the birds, vaccination as well as advice on brooding, feeding and management amongst others.
Presence of a suitable market: Where will you sell your produce once it is ready? The presence of a suitable market is also one of the key factors when it comes to poultry production.
As we have repeatedly emphasized, a good kienyeji chicken structure is very key to successful commercial farming. If you have land in the rural areas, this should be a very easy and also low cost step as constructing these do not cost too much. There is a great array of materials that you can use in order to build the kienyeji chicken house based on your budget and even preferences.
There are important factors that you need to consider when it comes to building the kienyeji chicken structure. First, the house should be in a good location. You must also get the dimensions and the specifications right when you constructing the house. It must the right size that will accommodate the right density of the chicken. We have indicated information on the right density for your kienyeji chicken house in Kienyeji Housing Manual. When it comes to the spaces, the poultry house should be spacious enough to accommodate the birds, the equipment such as drinkers and feeders as well as the installation such as the perches.
If you are going to rear your kienyeji chicken in the free range system or the improved kienyeji rearing system, you will also need to leave some outside space that will serve as the chicken run. This is where the birds can graze and eat some of the pasture which is good for the quality of the meat. Here are some of the general tips that you should consider when you are building the poultry structure for your kienyeji hens:-
Good ventilation is must when you are building the Kienyeji Chicken House. In our Kienyeji Housing Manual, we have indicated the amount of space that you should leave behind when constructing the house. Good ventilation of the house will ensure not just good health of the birds but also proper growth and this too contributes to better meat and egg quality.
There are design specifications that you should adopt which will ensure the proper flow of air inside the kienyeji structure without getting too draughty. The interior of the house should also have good lighting.
Try as much as possible to position the house in the East-West direction but ensure the ends are sealed. This allows free flow of air into the house without it getting too draughty.
If you are doing an extensive commercial kienyeji chicken farming and are building several houses in rows, try to leave a distance of at least 40feet between the two houses.
Good housing maintenance is very important. Ensure that the kienyeji chicken structure is always kept very clean and fresh at all times. Before you bring the first batch of chicks into the house, always ensure that it is cleaned at least two weeks in advance and disinfected.
Build the house in a sealed way to ward off all the harmful animals as well as predators burrowing in and gaining access to the house.
Build proper drainage so that rainwater does not get inside the house.
All the poultry equipment should be kept at a good distance inside the house. They should be well spaced so that the hens are not overcrowded while they are feeding.
The house and equipment for your poultry should be cleaned on a regular basis.
Proper kienyeji chicken housing is very important if you are planning to go commercial. If you are keeping chickens and buying them at a very young age, you need to offer a good kienyeji housing structure as this will help limit mortality from cold, draughts and even moderators. There is a certain style that you need to follow when you are building a kienyeji chicken house and this is adequately covered in our Kienyeji Housing Manual which we sell for Ksh.250.
While a Kienyeji Chicken house may seem like a simple structure, building an ideal structure is not as simply as it seems. You need to follow proper specifications when constructing the house. Proper kienyeji chicken housing must meet the following requirements:-
Be predator-proof, not just from the sides, but from above and below as well. Predators that would love chicken wings for dinner include but are not limited to hawks (be sure to select the right wire mesh. The holes in standard “chicken wire” are actually quite large. Yes, it will keep the chickens in, but small predators can reach through those holes and do some nasty things. We recommend one-half inch square “hardware cloth”.)
Be secure from nasty rodents (yes, rats!) that will be attracted to the feed and droppings. Rodents are burrowing creatures, so you need to block them from slipping into the coop from below. If you coop doesn’t have a floor, you need to bury small-mesh fencing down into the ground about 12″ all around the coop.
Be breezy (low in air pressure coming in) enough to prevent respiratory diseases, to which chickens are especially prone, but not so drafty (having cold air moving through in a way that is unpleasant or uncomfortable) during cold season that they freeze their tushes (tooth) off. Chickens can withstand the cold so long as it’s not drafty!
Be easy to clean so bugs and bacteria don’t fester (make the house rot).
Provide “roosting poles” for your birds to sleep on (2″ wide; rounded edges; allot 5-10″ of space per bird side to side and 10″ between poles if more than one is necessary; plus ladder-like grading so the pole furthest away is several inches higher than the closest). They like spending time in these positions.
Encourage egg-laying with 1 nest box for every four or five chickens. Nest boxes should be raised off the ground at least a few inches, but lower than the lowest roosting pole. They should also be dark and “out of the way” to cater to the hen’s instinct to lay her eggs in a safe, place.
Be roomy: at least 4 square feet per bird if birds are able to roam freely during the day, and at least 10 square feet per bird if they are permanently confined.
Accommodate a feeder and waterer, which should hang 6-8″ off the ground.
Include a removable “droppings tray” under roosting poles for capture and easy disposal of droppings. These are rich fertilizer which you can use in your farm or sell to other farmers.
Similar to the coop, the sides of the attached chicken run, if you have one, should be buried 12″ into the soil to keep predators and rodents from digging their way in. Once again, we recommend chicken wire fencing or half-inch hardware cloth. It’s also our strong recommendation that you secure the top of the run with wire mesh if possible (this is not mandatory). This will keep wild birds (which can carry communicable diseases) out and provide further defense against sly predators.
Setting the house among tall trees may help prevent aerial attack of young birds by hawks.
FOR A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE ALONG WITH PICTURES ON HOW TO BUILD A KIENYEJI HOUSE, YOU CAN ORDER YOUR COPY OF KIENYEJI HOUSING MANUAL.