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Choosing Poultry Cages
chickens as meat birds or as layers, you need to consider what kind of
cages you are putting them in. While there are a number of different
types of situations for hobby chickens, there are only a few types of
cages for commercial poultry production. Being familiar with these
systems and their benefits helps you make a solid decision when you are
laying out your production area.
Battery cages are the most commonly-used system in poultry production in
the United States. These poultry cages are small, each one housing
between three to eight hens. They may be made of solid metal or mesh
metal, and the sloped floor allows waste and eggs to roll and drop
through to a conveyor belt. The water is provided through an overhead
system, and food is supplied through a long trough that runs along the
front of each cage. These poultry cages are typically arranged back to
back, allowing for an increased number of animals caged per square foot
of the space.
Battery cages may be arranged in a few different configurations. The
most straightforward and space conservative configuration is the stack,
where each cage is placed on top of another in several long rows. In the
pyramidal system, which is less space conservative but promotes more
air flow, the cages are tired so that the front and the top of the cage
faces the air. Finally, in a floor installation, these poultry cages are
simply spread out on the floor. While this installation is the least
space conservative of all, it promotes better health for the chickens.
When you are thinking about the types of cages you should be looking at,
first consider what kind of poultry you will be raising. For example,
if you are invested in breeding meat chickens, choose a broiler cage,
where the primary concern is feeding the chickens well. Compare this to a
layer cage, where there are openings for the eggs to drop through.
Conversely, if you are interested in breeding chickens for sale, you
will need to look at parent stock cages, where the conditions are right
for mating and the absolutely minimal egg breakage is the goal. If you
choose to breed your chickens, don’t forget that you will also need to
look into rearing cages, where the size of the chicks is kept in mind.
If you are in a place where you are considering raising chickens
commercially, choosing your cage system should be high on your list of
priorities. Consider how many chickens you want to raise and what you
think your production will be like from year to year. The type of
poultry cages that you choose will also impact things like egg belts and
manure belts, and you should think about what your resources are.
Choose the cages that best suit your needs. These cages go a long way
towards setting the tone of your business, and the more thought you put
into the process now, the better off you will be in the future.