Chicken farm guide: Preparing the poultry house

One of the most important skills you need to perfect as a chicken farmer is preparing the chicken coop for introducing a new flock. With the help of the World Poultry Foundation’s training videos, and expert advice from Manyano Rasmeni, owner of Rasmeni’s Farming, you can become a top-class chicken farmer in no time.

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One of the things you must know about farming with chickens is that you never mix batches. It’s an all-in, all-out system that you must implement in poultry,” says Manyano Rasmeni, owner of Rasmeni’s Farming in the Eastern Cape.

chicken coop
Eastern Cape poultry farmer Manyano Rasmeni. Photo: Food For Mzansi

And one of the most important measures you can take when you are farming with chickens is cleaning and disinfecting the coop between new batches.

“It isn’t even called disinfecting, it’s called biosecurity,” Rasmeni says. “Biosecurity is a very important aspect of poultry farming.”

“If one chicken gets a virus, you can give up on that batch,” warns Rasmeni. “If you find that your cages are contaminated, you will lose all of your next flock.”

Here’s what you can do to ensure that you don’t lose the investment of an entire flock to viruses or bacteria.

What to do before introducing a new flock into the poultry house

The coop has to be cleaned first and checked for any issues. All organic matter must be removed from the house and disposed of properly.

After all organic matter has been removed from the house, it needs to be cleaned with the proper and complete use of disinfectants.

chicken farm
Disinfecting between new batches of chickens is of vital importance, and batches should never be mixed. Photo: Supplied
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“When you are cleaning a coop, it is important to disinfect,” Rasmeni says. He suggests using the multi-purpose sanitising spray Virakill.

After the house is cleaned, you must make any necessary repairs to the floor, sidewalls, curtains, wire mesh, and roof.

Rasmeni’s tip: Disease spreads very quickly among chickens if you don’t take any measures. If you see any signs of infection or disease in a chicken, you must isolate them from the rest of the group immediately and monitor the rest for any signs of disease.

ALSO READ: ‘Poultry farming is not for sissies,’ says Bheki

When to introduce a new flock

It is important to give the chicken coop a bit of a rest time. The coop should be empty at least for one week, and it is recommended to wait up to 14 days before introducing your next flock.

According to Rasmeni, broiler chickens take about six weeks to be ready to sell. So, if you are farming with broiler chickens you would probably introduce a new flock every eight weeks. That leaves six weeks for your flock to be ready to sell, and two weeks for the coop to be empty.

Rasmeni’s tip: Don’t start with a new flock on an awkward day, such as the seventh of the month, or at the month’s end. Aim for the fifteenth of the month. Anticipate six weeks until the following month end to introduce a new flock. You want to have your chickens ready at the end of the month when people have been paid.

Watch the World Poultry Foundation’s training video on preparing the house:

ALSO READ: How to start your own chicken farm

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