How to create conditions and maintain a mini chicken farm in the country (part 2)

Chicken care

The main conditions for obtaining high productivity of chickens:

  • cleanliness and dryness of the premises;
  • complete absence of drafts in them;
  • maintaining the optimum temperature (in summer + 16 ... + 18 ° С, in winter - not lower than + 5 ° С);
  • the presence of dry and clean bedding;
  • sufficient lighting of the chicken coop;
  • providing poultry with fresh water;
  • provision of well-balanced feed.

Every breeder should know that with good, calm handling, the bird becomes tame and easy to catch and inspect. When fishing, you should not grab the tail, but try to take it by the wing. This is most conveniently done when distributing feed.

In winter, the length of the daylight hours is of great importance for chickens. In the dark, the bird sees poorly, eats little, sleeps a lot. Therefore, with a short daylight hours, egg production usually decreases. The most optimal daylight hours are 12-14 hours. Artificial lighting of the poultry house allows you to extend the "working" day of the bird. At the same time, feed consumption increases, but egg production increases.

For an adult, well-fed bird in the fall and winter, the electric light in the chicken coop is turned on at 6 a.m. and turned off with the onset of daylight. In the evening, the lights are turned on at dusk and turned off at 19-20 hours. Turn off the light gradually, giving the bird the opportunity to climb to the roost in time.

With additional lighting, it is necessary to provide chickens with complete feed and clean water. Supplementary lighting of the house is ended when natural daylight hours reach 13 hours.

In suburban conditions, chickens are kept on the floor using removable and non-removable (deep) bedding. It is more rational to keep birds on a deep (warm) bedding. Such a bedding 25-30 centimeters thick is made from straw cutting, fine-fiber peat, small shavings ...

The deep litter absorbs moisture and harmful gases from the manure well, which significantly improves the sanitary condition of the poultry house. In winter, it insulates the house well due to the heat released during the decomposition of the litter material. In deep litter, the temperature reaches + 22 ... + 24 ° С. Such bedding is usually placed in the house in autumn, in dry and warm weather. First, the floor is disinfected. To do this, sprinkle the floor with a thin layer of quicklime (fluff) at the rate of 0.5 kilograms per 1 m² and dry well.

During operation, the litter is periodically turned over and its top layer is stirred to prevent the formation of a litter crust and lumps. At the same time, make sure that the litter is not wet and does not get wet near the drinkers, as this contributes to the occurrence of colds. In the chicken coop, it is advisable to exclude droppings from entering the litter, which will protect it from dampness. First of all, it depends on the quality of the pallet (box).

The poultry house must be cleaned and ventilated daily: open the window, doors. But in no case create drafts.

Feeding chickens is essential for productivity. You can feed both dry compound feed, and use combined feeding, in which cheaper feed is used to partially replace concentrates.

These feeds include: earthworms (earthworms), molluscs, May beetles and their larvae (beetles), all kinds of caterpillars, seeds of herbs and woody plants, grass flour, hay dust, spruce and pine needles, rowan berries, hawthorn, vegetable waste, etc. fruit, any silage.

For the winter, you can prepare brooms necessarily with leaves of linden, acacia, birch, willow and other plants, as well as nettles. Wet mash (ground barley, wheat, oats or millet) are good food in winter. A fresh mash is prepared for each feeding. She is fed in the morning and afternoon. At night, the chickens are given grain.

To make the birds move more in the hen house, you need to hang bunches of clover or alfalfa, corn cobs and cabbage heads at such a height that the birds jump up, pecking them. And yet, despite such "gymnastics", to maintain good health, chickens need to walk. At least very tiny. While walking, birds find plant and animal food, which allows not only to diversify feed, but also to save them.

The walk is fenced with a metal mesh stretched over the racks. Although it is quite possible to build a reliable fence from shingles, wooden slats, brushwood, and even from a fishing net. I happened to see a fence made of defective parts of a chain-link mesh. The height of the fencing for chickens is 1.8-2 meters.

A lot of troubles and even troubles are caused by chickens flying over the walking fence to neighboring areas, especially if flower beds and berry gardens are placed on them. In such cases, a fence up to three meters high is often erected, which requires not only significant financial costs, but also constant maintenance. To avoid this, the ends of the feathers of one wing (to the phalanx) are trimmed to the chickens. But such an operation should be carried out with extreme caution. After such a procedure, the bird is not able to fly over even a low fence.

Ideally, paddocks should be sown with perennial grasses (clover, alfalfa, and others). To do this, it should be divided into two parts and used in turn. Chickens quickly destroy seedlings of greenery, pecking out everything, including the roots. To prevent this, it is necessary to install a protective mesh over green crops at a height of 10 centimeters.

The bird, pecking on the growing greenery, does not damage the roots. To prevent the mesh from bending, several strips are attached to it. If the greens are regularly and abundantly watered with water, then it will quickly recover. However, it must be admitted that sowing a walk, arranging a net over it is a very troublesome and costly business. Therefore, it is unlikely that it will pay off in a small country house. Therefore, I made a reservation: this is the ideal case.

Walking chickens destroy up to 500 insect pests per day. Based on this, it is useful to release birds in the summer to orchards, and in the spring, when digging the beds, and in the fall, after harvesting, to the garden.

When walking, it is advisable to plant trees or shrubs and make a canopy from rain and sun. In winter, chickens can be released for walking, cleared of snow and covered with a layer of straw, spruce branches. At an outside temperature of -10 ° C, as well as in strong winds, the bird is not allowed to walk. And you don't need to force her out for a walk.

It would also be nice to make an ash bath. It is necessary to combat skin parasites that die from dust when bathing a bird. Such a measure is especially effective against feather lice. These wingless insects feed on scattered skin particles, feathers and down. They are very disturbing to chickens, causing severe itching. As a result, the birds do not feed, they lose weight, which leads to a decrease in egg production.

Any suitable container is suitable for an ash bath, for example, a wooden box measuring 1.2x0.7 meters and 20 centimeters high. The bath is filled with fine sand or dry clay mixed in equal parts with wood ash.

When planning to start breeding chickens, or already engaged in it, in no case should one overlook such an important factor as disease prevention. This requires a high sanitary culture, proper feeding and keeping of birds. Chickens can suffer from non-communicable and contagious diseases.

Since infectious diseases such as pseudo-plague, pasteurellosis (bird cholera), helminthiasis require, as a rule, the intervention of a veterinarian, I will only touch on some non-infectious diseases.

Non-infectious diseases arise, first of all, from the inability of the poultry farmer to create optimal conditions for feeding and maintenance - if the deadlines and diet are not observed, when placed in a damp, dirty, stuffy room, if the lighting regime is violated, with the already mentioned overconsolidation.

Birds are demanding to adhere to the feed distribution regime. If the usual feeding schedule is not followed, egg production begins to decrease, the normal tone of the muscles of the skeleton and internal organs is lost (atony)... With a lack of vitamins, vitamin deficiency occurs: first, the chicken loses its appetite, then egg production decreases, a sure sign of this phenomenon is a thinning egg shell.

Such feeds as greens, dry leaves of nettle, clover, alfalfa, carrots, yeast, sprouted grains contain vitamins A and B. They should be added to the feed as much as possible. To replenish vitamin D, the birds are given fish oil.

During laying, a lot of minerals and, above all, calcium, are consumed in the body of the laying hen. Therefore, chickens should be fed with crushed shells, bone meal, chalk. To improve the grinding of food in the gizzard, the bird should be given gravel.

Chickens consume almost 2.5 times more oxygen in the air per 1 kilogram of weight than large animals, and therefore do not feel well in a stuffy, dusty room. It's good when the coop is a little cool and dry; bad when the body is damp. Birds tolerate heat (over + 30 ° C) as badly as severe cold.

Necessary remark

I would like to draw the attention of summer residents-poultry farmers to a very important (although little-known fact) - the chicken hierarchy. She has existed among chickens for a long time, exists and will exist forever. Its essence is as follows ... Among the birds there will always be the strongest, most aggressive individuals who dominate the flock (group). They occupy the best places at the feeders, the most convenient places on the perch. In short, such birds are in an extremely privileged position.

A moment should be noted here ... When an adult hen falls into a group from the outside (that is, she did not grow up in it since chicken age), she is forever doomed to be an outcast. She will be offended by all birds of this group. Sometimes such a poor fellow is protected by a rooster, but by no means everyone and not always.

Speaking of the rooster ... If you are not going to acquire your own chickens, then you do not need a rooster at all. He becomes just a parasite and is only suitable for decorating the courtyard, and even, perhaps, for singing: "Ku-ka-re-ku"... And that's all.

It does happen (although rarely) that an outcast hen acquires chickens. Then her status rises markedly. Apparently, this is due to the fact that she needs to take care of the offspring, and therefore the rest of the chicken brethren, realizing this, at least to some extent "respects" her.

Therefore, I strongly advise: before introducing an adult chicken into the group from the outside, think about what it will be like for her to remain a stranger in her yard all her life? I know of cases when, in order to "equalize" all the birds in a group, their plumage was smeared with the same paint or sprayed with deodorants. However, I don’t remember a single case when this measure would have helped.

Of course, no one has canceled the well-known saying from the earliest times: "Chicken is not a bird"... But, firstly, the chicken is still a bird, and secondly, it is very useful. Get chickens and see for yourself.

Ivan Zaitsev
Photo by Olga Rubtsova

Feeding the young

The organization of broiler nutrition takes an important place, because the speed of weight gain and the quality of meat depend on it. Birds are fed 3-5 times a day, and leguminous crops should be constantly in the feeders.

Grown-up chickens eat a lot of feed, so buying a growth compound feed for some breeders is expensive. In order to save money, it is recommended to prepare it yourself. For example, the following recipe will work:

  • finely crushed corn 50%
  • wheat 19%
  • peas 8%
  • sunflower cake 8%
  • bone or fish meal 3%
  • milk powder 3%
  • yeast 3%
  • feed fats 1%
  • fresh chopped greens.

The diet should always contain fermented milk products: reverse, cottage cheese, whey. They stimulate the immune system and keep the digestive tract functioning properly. It is advisable to give chickens fresh herbs from the garden, for example, lettuce, beet tops, green onions.

Broilers eat vegetables well, both raw and cooked. Pumpkin, zucchini or carrots can be grated and fed by mixing with compound feed. Boiled potatoes allow birds to gain weight quickly. It is also given as a mash, for example, along with herbs and cottage cheese. The presence of food and water in the drinkers should be closely monitored. The mash should not sour, and if this happens, then the contents are removed, and the feeder is treated with a solution of potassium permanganate.

Veterinarians also advise adding various medicinal solutions (enrofloxacin) and vitamin supplements to food for the prevention of diseases.

The following foods should not be fed to the broiler:

  • stale food waste
  • soaked bread
  • peel from melons and citrus crops
  • fermented foods (jam, kefir)
  • waste with butter and vegetable oil.

It is not recommended to feed the bird only with compound feed because of the possible occurrence of stomach problems.

The stand is the foundation of the entire structure. It consists of a frame that is attached horizontally to four beams. The stand holds all the living quarters for the animals, so it must be sturdy. For its manufacture, wood or metal is used. A container for collecting waste is attached to it.

This tier has several rooms. It is on a stand, its frame is 4 beams 2x10 cm. The eastern part is closed with a net.

Walking area

Should have a solid or mesh bottom, depending on the breed of rabbit. Feeders and drinkers are located here. A hole of 20x20 cm must be made in the floor to ensure that waste enters the tank. On top of the hole, lay the slatted floor. The flooring should have an angle of inclination of 45o, and the slats must be knocked over with metal so that they are not chewed by rabbits.

Nest room

Here, the floor should have a solid structure and be 9 cm lower so that the rabbits do not crawl away from their mother. The container itself is retractable. The walls of the room should be insulated, heated, the bottom should be lined with straw. The door must be equipped in the form of a hinged panel, so that it is convenient to look after the rabbit with babies.

Slaughter of meat chickens

Broilers can be slaughtered at about 50 days of age. At this point, the bird should weigh at least 4-4.5 kg. It is not financially profitable to keep the bird any longer, because it will consume a lot of food, but it is unlikely to add significantly in mass.

Keeping broilers at home for meat is cost-effective because the birds carry fertilized eggs and can easily hatch them. This allows you to get the next generation of young animals at minimal cost.

Growing broilers in the country is one of the most common options for private breeding of meat-oriented chickens. Broilers are characterized by fast weight gain, high productivity, quite moderate temperament and, most importantly, excellent meat characteristics.

However, before starting this activity, you can encounter a number of problems that can have a strong impact on productivity. In this article, we will consider the topic of growing broilers in summer cottages, talk about all the possible difficulties, about the right breed choice and much more.

Growing broilers in the country

Contents of step-by-step instructions:

How to make a nutria cage

  1. Using the drawings, you need to cut the blanks for the cage. There will be no windows in the sleeping area, but a hole of 20 by 20 cm is needed.
  2. Next, a panel is prepared from the outer layers of boards with an insulation gasket. The frame will be the stiffening ribs, the inner slats - the insulation will be fixed on them.
  3. Three-layer panels need to be connected to each other, making a bedroom frame on three sides. The fourth side will be the grid.
  4. The summer house is assembled from a mesh fixed to a frame made of wooden beams.
  5. To take care of the nutria, the roof must open, the mount is hinged.
  6. Doors are installed for the movement of animals. Feeders and drinkers are placed in the dining room, they are fixed on the walls.
  7. Arrangement: make do-it-yourself feeders for nutria. A diy drinker for nutria is made as simple as a feeder. The main thing is that the feeders and drinkers are strong and the animals cannot turn them over.
  8. A pull-out tray is made under the net for collecting waste.

The range should be quite large - these are active animals, they need to move a lot. The length of the walk can be up to 2.5 meters and in no way less than one meter. Its width should be made from 70 cm to one and a half meters. Since nutria climb very well, the height of the walls should be at least 80 cm. Or you need to walk with a mesh roof.

The cage is completely ready for use at any time of the year. It only remains to add a pool for the summer. It should be taken into account that nutria will also defecate in the pool, therefore it will need to be cleaned quite often. The descent into the pool must be made smooth, so the site is located with a slight slope. A metal trough in the ground is suitable as a pool.

It happens that one cell is not enough, and then you can make a double structure, where there will be a common wall. The houses are specially made with a common side wall to save space. You will also need a separate room for females with children without walking, it should be two-section, about 100 by 80 cm in size, with a front wall height of at least 70 cm.

All the basic principles for keeping nutria are the same. The main thing is that they are provided with cleanliness in their house, the right size of the room, the availability of fresh food and water for bathing in summer. In winter, farmers do not allow the nutria not only to swim, but also to drink water. It is replaced by extremely juicy food. Thus, excess dampness does not form in the room, and the amount of water in the food for the nutria is sufficient for a comfortable life.

It should also be taken into account that adult males do not get along well with each other, if kept together, this can provoke fights in animals. Their content should be in different houses. But family they live quite calmly in the same aviary, the males are kept together with several females.

All other features of the cage and its arrangement, the total size of the cage for keeping, the farmer selects himself, depending on the climatic conditions and the number of his herd.

If the cage is made in accordance with all the requirements and features, then the nutria house will fully meet the needs of these animals. Then the health, development and offspring of nutria will be ensured, and also none of the animals will escape and disappear.

It happens that nutria is not bred on a farm scale, but kept as pets. These animals are quite cute and welcoming, they can become attached to the owner and recognize him. However, we must remember that they are quite whimsical in their content, and in an apartment caring for such an animal will be very difficult. In addition, it will be much more difficult to control the likelihood of the animal escaping. And the nutria, first of all, is still a wild animal and can escape if the opportunity presents itself.

Dimensions of industrial rabbit cages

There are many requirements for industrial rabbit cages. The main ones are: ensuring the comfort of animals and ease of service. When these conditions are met, rabbits gain weight faster. Increased productivity allows farmers to profit from rabbit farming. Industrial Cages are usually made of steel mesh, but wooden elements may also be present.

Varieties of industrial models

Cages for industrial rabbit breeding are produced in different types. Structures are stationary for indoor and outdoor installation, mobile, as well as with an aviary. Since rabbits can be kept outdoors and indoors, the arrangement of housing for them is very different:

  • One-sided cages are used to raise animals on the street. They are placed along the wall or a solid fence without cracks. The back and side walls are solid. This approach is due to the provision of protection of rabbits from wind and precipitation.
  • When keeping rabbits indoors, double-sided structures are used. They are made entirely of steel mesh for efficient ventilation.

Keeping more than 100 animals indoors is difficult. This number of rabbits are usually bred outdoors. A feature of the house, intended for outdoor rabbit keeping, is its unlimited size.

Usually, 6 types of cages are used in rabbit breeding:

  • Young rabbits are kept in group cages. That is, young animals that were weaned from a rabbit at the age of 1–1.5 months. Rabbits are divided into two groups: individuals for slaughter and continuation of offspring. Rabbits of the last group are divided according to gender. Slaughter young animals are kept in groups of 8-10 heads. The size of the cage is calculated so that 0.12 m 2 of the area falls on one individual. Breeding rabbits are placed in 6-8 heads, giving each animal 0.17 m 2 of the area. When raising rabbits outdoors, a pitched roof made of a waterproof roof is installed above the houses.On the street, the cage for young animals is raised from the ground, and indoors they provide maximum light and an influx of fresh air.
  • At the age of three months, the breeding males are seated in separate cages, and the females are grouped in three individuals. Slaughter males can be kept in groups, but they must be neutered. Cage sizes for rabbits of this age depend on the breed. Usually, a structure with a width of 1.2 m and a height of 40 cm is enough. The feeder and drinker on the rabbit cage are attached to the outside of the grate so that the animals do not turn them over.
  • When cage breeding rabbits for a large number of heads, it is convenient to use a multi-tiered shed. The design consists of modules installed in two or three rows to maximize space savings. Shed is common in the southern regions and is installed on the street. At the same time, the distance from the ground to the bottom of the module of the first tier is 60 cm.The depth of the shed is made at a maximum of 1 m, and the width is 2 m. A concrete base is often poured under the structure, and the bottom of each module is equipped with a pallet for collecting manure.
  • Double cages are used to house two adult rabbits. These can be males or females. The interior of the rabbit housing is divided by a mesh or plywood partition. The floor is knocked out of the slats. During the rounding period, the female is placed with a mother cell with a hole of 20x20 cm.
  • Double cages with an aviary are intended for keeping females with rabbits. The dimensions of the structure are 220x65x50 cm. When equipping such housing, a common access hole is made into the aviary.
  • A summer house for a rabbit can be used in the country. It is installed in a dry, shaded area under the trees. The dimensions of the housing depend on the number of living animals. The floor is usually made of galvanized mesh.

Each cage can be made for rabbits with your own hands, and now we will consider what factory designs are.

Overview of industrial models

We will now review the industrial cages used for raising rabbits. They are suitable for farms and the private sector.


The Okrol model is used for industrial rabbit breeding. Everything is thought out in the design of the cage to make it convenient to operate. The model is considered universal. Here you can keep young animals for fattening and broodstock. The convenience of the model is due to the fact that when developing it, the real wishes of the breeders were taken into account. The lower tier of the structure consists of twelve cells. Each of them can be divided by a partition or placed inside the mother liquor. On the upper tier, there are sixteen cages for keeping young animals.

The cage is equipped with a special design of the feeders. Rabbits cannot scoop out feed, and the perforated bottom filters out dust impurities from the feed. The cage is made of galvanized steel mesh. Each module is fixed in a frame fitted with steel posts. If there is a lot of free space, Okrol can be used in domestic rabbit breeding.

Practice FR-231

Model "Practice FR-231" is a two-tier design and is intended for industrial rabbit breeding. The installation of twelve queen cells is allowed at the lower level. Additionally, six nests can be positioned on the top tier. This makes it possible to bring the total number of queen cells to eighteen pieces. The model "Practice FR-231" is reequipped for keeping young stock for fattening. The cage can accommodate up to 90 animals.

The design is designed as a transformer, which allows it to be adjusted to a certain type of livestock: fattening, breeding, arrangement of queen cells, etc. The covers of all modules are equipped with a spring. This mechanism facilitates maintenance of the cells. Practice FR-231 is suitable for home use.

Industrial model Zolotukhin

The cell layout is pretty simple. The structure can consist of one or two tiers. Most often, such cells are used to keep young animals. In the Zolotukhin model, the uterine compartment is not provided. The female will have to breed directly on the floor. In the summer, this option is allowed. It is only necessary to put hay in time for the rabbit to make a nest.

Feeders are attached from the outside directly to the net. They are made removable or tiltable for easy cleaning. Water is supplied from the tank through the drinking bowl. The Zolotukhin model is popular in the private and industrial breeding of rabbits.

Mikhailov's industrial model

The photo shows drawings with the dimensions of Mikhailov's cage. The clever design greatly simplifies the care of rabbits. Feed can be poured into the feeders periodically 1-2 times in 7 days. A cone-shaped pallet is installed below the floor. The design allows you to automatically drain the manure into an airtight container. The housing of rabbits always remains dry, clean and practically does not require frequent human maintenance.

The development of new models of Mikhailov continues now. The manufacturer is trying to constantly improve its design, listening to the requirements of rabbit breeders.

Cages from the Research Institute of Fur Farming and Rabbit Breeding

The drawings of the cages presented for the rabbits were developed at the Research Institute. They are intended for keeping adults. The design consists of two compartments. A mother liquor is installed near the side wall. The floor in this area is made of solid planks. The stern section is separated by a partition with a 17x17 cm manhole. Steel mesh is used for the flooring. Sizes of the mother liquor:

  • depth - 55 cm
  • length - 40 cm
  • height from the side of the entrance - 50 cm, and from the back - 35 cm.

On the front side there are two solid doors and two mesh doors. On the latter - feeders are fixed. The whole structure is raised 80 cm from the ground with the help of legs.

The video shows industrial cages for rabbits:


Buying industrial cages for home breeding of rabbits is expensive. It is easier, guided by the diagram, to assemble the structure of the house yourself. If you seriously decide to start rabbit breeding, then from the first profit you can think about purchasing factory-made models.

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