Complete confinement is only advisable where: x there is good management; x reproduction is spread equally over the year; x land is scarce or inaccessible all year round; x balanced rations are available; x a supply of hybrid day-old chicks is available;
x labor is expensive;
x parasite and disease control are readily available; and
x the objective is commercial production.
The reasons for confinement are, in order of priority, to:
x reduce mortality due to predation in chicks under two months of age;
x achieve higher daily gain and better feed conversion in growers; and
x allow better supervision of production in laying hens. In all confined systems, the location and building design must be carefully considered.
The area surrounding the house should be mown or grazed. A good location should meet the following criteria: x It should be easily accessible.
x There should be a reliable water supply.
x The ground should be well drained.
x It should be at a sufficient distance from residential areas (far enough to protect human health and close enough to provide security for the birds).
x It should be well away from woodland. Converting existing facilities can provide housing, although planning permission may have to be obtained. An unused outhouse kitchen, for example, can be converted into a poultry house.
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In all conversions, maximum use should be made of the space available through careful planning:
x A plan of the building should be drawn to scale.
x Use should be made of existing floors and walls, if suitable.
x Space requirements of the birds and manure disposal should be taken into consideration.
x A feasibility study should be carried out, taking into consideration future plans and requirements as well as the economics of converting the building.