Commercial Chicken Houses

Commercial Chicken Houses

What is a commercial chicken house? It is a poultry house large enough to farm chickens on a profitable scale. While your mind might be jumping to a very big poultry house that holds 30 thousand broilers – it can also be a small steel structure that hold only 500 chickens. Farming with chickens in South Africa is dominated by a few big producers – but there are many small farmers in rural areas that have small commercial operations. Broiler house using pan feeders and nipple drinkers

Layer structure

Notice the channels in the concrete floor – the cages stand over these and the litter drops into the channels – this can then be removed with a manure scraper.
Layer house for hens that lay table eggsThe “commercial” sometimes refers to the fact that it has professional poultry equipment installed like nipple drinkers or bell drinkers, and can turn a profit for the farmer. Manual equipment is also used in commercial houses – but not often. It also means it is being run as a business. A non commercial chicken house would be a hen house in the backyard of someone’s home – or a small chicken coop that has hens in for producing eggs. The size usually determines whether is is a commercial unit – but anything over a 500 birds starts making it a proper business – or at least a small farm that will have to be run by someone who it is more than a hobby.

Broiler structure

Structure for raising broiler chickens

Steel structures versus brick structures

There is no difference in the output or yield of chickens or eggs. A steel chicken house can produce equally well as a brick and mortar structure. Generally a steel structure is used for farming with less than 3000 chickens – they are a lot cheaper and do not need building plans. The drinking equipment and feeding equipment is usually manual – bell drinkers and tube feeders. In a large chicken house built with bricks you will need building plans and these are usually fitted with automatic nipple drinking systems like Impex, and with either chain feeders or pan feeders. Sometime a large house is what is called a closed environment house – this means that there are no curtains or openings to the outside environment. The temperature and humidity is controlled by fans, and fancy computer equipment. These are great – but you have to know what you are doing.

There are not many closed environment chicken houses in South Africa – most poultry farmers prefer open sided houses. This is rapidly changing in South Africa as farmers are starting realise the benefits of closed climate controlled housing. Higher placement, higher yields, shorter growth time and heavier weights. Small poultry houses are always open sided and use curtains to regulate temperature. In a closed environment house you would place 22.5 broilers per square meter and in an open environment house you would place 15 birds per square meter – in very hot and humid climes this figure would be reduced.

Commercial houses can be broiler or layer. The most common are broiler. These are usually 15m wide – the width in an open house is generally no more than 12 meters wide – this is because the cooling and ventilation is dependant on air blowing or moving through the structure – wider than 12 meters creates problem. In a closed climate controlled house this make no difference as the ventilation and cooling are done using fans and cooling pads.

Types of Commercial Broiler houses

More Grant Info

Broiler houses are typically one of the following:

  1. Open environment (naturally ventilated) – houses have open sides with winched curtains. Placement 15 birds / square meter.
  2. Closed environment – houses are closed totally and the environment is controlled automatically. Placement 22.5 birds / square meter.
  3. Semi environment – houses have open sides with winched curtains and the environment is controlled automatically. Placement 22.5 birds / square meter.

All the houses have the same automatic drinking and feeding equipment.
The environmentally controlled houses have a series of automated controls that regulate temperature, humidity etc. through the use of fans and misters and vents. The settings used on the controller can be changed to suit your environment and circumstances.
The environmental houses require a good, steady source of electricity to maintain the systems. The semi environment house is often used where electricity is problematic – the curtains can be opened manually in case of a power outage or similar. On a closed system this is not possible, and if there is no backup power supply the birds will quickly die.

In my opinion. The best solution is a semi environment house. Especially if you are far from technical experts and power is sometimes an issue. This kind of house can be manually controlled in the case of an emergency whilst allowing you to make use of modern technology to grow your flock.

I would suggest a structure 98m x 12m – this will allow a placement of 26460 birds at 22.5 birds per square meter – and at a mortality rate of 5% you will have 25137 birds for sale. In very hot climates the birds per square meter is sometimes dropped in summer. You may need to take this into account if you are signing a delivery contract. The average mortality rate in South Africa is around 4.6% – but varies between 3.6% and 7.5%. This would also need to be taken into account if you are signing a delivery contract. Usually farming starting out will be working with a poultry consultant?


19 Responses to Commercial Chicken Houses

  1. tshimangadzo says:

    good info may you please tel me more about how to start chicken farming and what do they eat

  2. france says:

    Hi pls send me more info on buying one day chicks nd egg hatching,i wanna start a new business,thnk u, france

  3. mmathabo says:

    Hi I need info about how I could get chicken feeds I would to start selling chicken feeds.

  4. hlungwani judas bumani says:

    Commercial Broiler houses

  5. Glancey says:

    Good day
    I kindly request a quotes for the following poultry equipment and currently in Nelspruit uitkyk farm where i will start my operations

    i need poultry houses with battery cages for 10 000 egg layer chickens with all equipment needed

    kind regards
    R.G Maphosa

  6. sabata ngqukuvana says:


    I would like you to help me with a quotation of a chicken house for 1500 broilers. I am based in Germiston and currently have a small operation of broilers in a 1.5 hectare land. The following are the detailed requirements :
    A chicken house for 1500 chickens (15 chickens per m2)
    Automatic bell drinkers
    Manual feeders
    500l water tank
    50th water tank stand
    Concrete Slab/floor etc.

    Please mention the following contact details on the quotation
    Company : Twinned chick Coop Ltd
    Contact person :Sabata Ngqukuvana

    Twinned Chick Coop Ltd

  7. Siyakha Iya says:

    Kindly assist us with 400 egg layes @ point of lay and cages carried 250 egg layers. (2 tier)

  8. yoni says:

    Hello I bandage the cages batteries of hen quite completely to start working the whole line is automated with only three years of use they are new how, they are for 110.000 laying hens and 60.000 baby’s chicks. They are in españa and we might do the service of disassembly in españa and assembly to áfrica or any place.
    Me telephone is
    +34629216905 wassap yes.shipping phote

  9. Catarina says:

    Hie Nathi
    call me on 0833485162
    have hectars and 3phase electricty

  10. Benjamin Makhubele says:

    I am small holder breeding broiler chickens,based in Giyani,Limpopo province,started breeding in 2012.So now i need big commercial chicken houses,I need help to access Government grant,I have skill enough and experience to breed broilers,furthermore i have15 hecters of land ,please help so that we can alleviate poverty and create job .

  11. Please help me with breaking thought to the big market because iam eggs distribute for society at katlehong thokoza and vosloorus suround places

  12. Benedict Sebeso says:

    Good day

    i am intrested in buying chicken(broilers) house. could you please send
    pictures and prices

    Thank you

  13. Billy says:

    Need a quote for a commercial chicken house. Layers

  14. Zukiswa says:

    I have 4 000 square-meter vacant land in the rural areas of Mount Fletcher (25kms out of Town) in the Eastern Cape; I would like to set-up an egg production plant and I want to start with 5 000 hens. I will buy fertile eggs hatch them and raise them until laying age. I have hatchery equipment and I will be able to store chicks for a day. After the hens are no more laying eggs I will then sell them. What I need from you will be a quotation for storing facilities that could store 5 000 one day chicks, storage for 5 000 hens for egg-laying, storage for 5 000 hens whilst awaiting to be sold. Facility to store and pack eggs for that capacity, area for transport pick-up and a small administrative office.

  15. george mdhluli says:

    I want a quote for the house of 3000 chickens

  16. Siyabonga says:

    Hi, I need someone who will build for me a commercial chicken house

  17. wonder says:

    Good Day,
    Please send me a quote for chicken house and layers equipment

    Kind Regards,

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