How many bell drinkers? How many tube feeders? How many chickens per nipple? How many chickens per trough? How many chickens per font? How many hens per nest box? How many chickens per square meter in organic poultry farming?.....? Lots of how many questions - here are some answers. Questions new chicken farmers ask most are around how many chickens can feed off of a drinker or off of a feeder. The question " how many chickens will fit in a chicken house" also comes up very often. While there is no definite science on these questions there are certainly some tried and tested guidelines. Poultry farmers are forever trying to get better weights, more eggs whilst using less feed, space and electricity or gas. In intensive poultry farming it seems anything goes, and although there are rules and laws that govern the way you treat your chickens, and how many you can place per square meter, it is not highly regulated. South African farmers push the limit and I have seen chicken houses where up 22 chickens per square meter have been placed in a broiler house. The farmers is getting excellent results and somehow seems not to be plagued by disease - which is often the case when overcrowding in a poultry house is practised. While many people do not like the hard facts about factory farming, the buying public continues to support and buy products, eggs and chicken meat, that re produced in factory farms. Factory farming is the most widely practiced for of chicken farming in South Africa.
Depending on differing factors like weather, temperature, wind, house size, type of chicken farming you are engaged in and quite a few other factors - these figures may need to be adjusted. If you are organic poultry farming or free range farming you will need to find the regulations that pertain to your country. Free range is not nearly as strict as the organic chicken farming regulations. Many farmers who claim to be free range farming are barely following the guidelines - and as nobody seems to be checking many of the free range eggs and free range chicken that is sold is of dubious origin. If you are a large scale poultry farmer you will also have to follow certain regulations.
How many chickens?
- 1. chick trays – 3 per 100 chicks.
- 2. bell drinkers – 75 – 100 chickens.
- 3. tube feeders – 33 chickens.
- 4. 3l and 4l fonts – 100 chickens.
- 5. pan feeders – 65 chickens per pan.
- 6. nipple drinkers – 12 – 14 chickens per nipple.
- 7. chain feeding (broilers) – 2.5cm per broilers along the trough.
- 8. chain feeding (layers) – 15cm – 17cm per laying chickens along the trough.
- 9. nest boxes - 1 bay or hole per 5 hens.
- 10. broilers per square meter - between 12 and 15 chickens per square meter.
- 11. broiler breeders - 7 -8 hens per square meter (broiler breeders are laying hens that produce eggs for the hatchery).
- 12. free range - outside space - 1000 birds per hectare (10 000 square meters in a hectare) - means 10 chicken per square meter. This is outdoor space
- 13. free range - perch space - 30cm to 45cm per bird 14. free range - nest boxes - 1 nest box per 4-5 hens.
- 14. free range inside space - 10 hens per square meter.
- 15. organic chickens - inside space laying hens - 6 hens per square metre (and 8 hens per nest) - nest box space is calculated separately).
- 16. organic chickens - outside space - 4 chickens per square metre.
- 17. Layer cages - depending on the size of the bay - max chickens per cage 5 or 7 chickens per bay or cage.
- 18. Gas brooders - G12 - 2500 - 3000 chickens, M8 gas heater - 1000 - 1200 chickens per heater.
You can decide for yourself how many chickens per square meter. How many birds you place in a chicken house will depend largely on your experience - and the climate. How many drinkers you use per bird is really important - the more water the hens can take on the more they will eat - and it is all about weight and egg production. How many chickens can be placed in a house - as many as you like - but that does not mean they will survive or thrive - like all animals they need space to stretch their wings and flap. Placing too many chickens per square meter can result in the chickens resorting to cannibalism - they will peck at each other as they fight for space, water and feed. Once a chicken gets the taste of chickens you will have problems - especially in a layer house with battery cages - these birds will live on top of each other for over a year. If they get the taste you will eventually have to get rid of the hens that are causing the problems.The number of chickens per heater will depend on your climate - if it is warm then 1200 on a small heater - if it is a cold place then less than a 1000 chickens will be able to find suitable heat. These figures are can be different in cases of very hot places and personal preference and experience. Large poultry farms push the limits and I have seen broilers at 22 chicken per square meter. Got more how many poultry or chicken questions? .... ask away! These are guidelines only - the law and regulations in South Africa are sometimes not clear on aspects such as "free range chickens" and "organic chickens".