Design for a chicken house in Kenya

Design for a chicken house

The site

  • The chicken house must be accessible
  • The site should be secured from predators and thieves
  • The area should be well drained
  • Keep grass and bushes at about 3 meters to keep snakes and rodents away


A crowded chicken house will stress out the chickens and lead to poor growth, low reproduction rate, disease build up and pecking behaviour. Chickens require different spacing according to age and their purpose. A good chicken house should have the following spacing;

  • 25 chicks per m2
  • 4-5 growers per m2
  • 3-4 layers per m


Free movement of air is needed to regulate temperatures and prevent build up of diseases. Heat stress in chicken can lead to poor growth rate, low egg production, small chicks, poor feeding and increased water intake. For good ventilation;

  • A chicken house should not be more than 8 m wide
  • The roof should be at least 12 ft
  • There should be at least two open-sides allowing air in and out of the house


Chickens identify food by sight which makes good lighting important. Good lighting also helps chickens gain weight, mature quickly and lay more eggs. You should be able to read a newspaper at the center of a well lit chicken house. Layers need about 14  hours of  lighting for proper egg production. For good lighting;

  • The house should have at least two open sides
  • If the area is dark, put transparent iron sheets

The roof

  • The chicken house roof should be made of materials that will not let in water. Use iron sheets, thatch, straw, e.t.c
  • The roof should have a extensions of 2ft in the northern and southern sides to prevent splashing of rain water
  • It should be high enough (12ft) to allow free air circulation


  • Use materials like iron sheets, timber, off-cuts, clay bricks or stones to make walls
  • Ensure that the end walls face East and West (sunrise and sunset) direction. This ensures that only these end walls face the hot afternoon sun and wind keeping the chickens at the right temperatures
  • Rectangular chicken houses with walls not higher than 3 feet on the longer side are recommended. The rest of the wall should have wire mesh of a small (½”) gauge to keep off predators and rodents, to allow air in and out and allow good lighting
  • Attach curtains (old rags or gunny bags) to the open sides so that you can open and close them depending on the temperatures. During cold seasons, cold from the open sides can be too much for the chicken.
Deep litter chicken house in kenya

A rectangular chicken house


  • Should be easy to clean. Raised or concrete floors are easy to clean
  • If the floor is earthen, spread 4 inches of dry grass to keep the floor clean
  • For deep litter system, make perches for chicken to roost. The size of a perch should equal chicken’s feet or about 20-25 cm . A perch of 1 m can roost 5 chickens
A raised chicken house in Kenya

A raised chicken house


  • The door should face North i.e. away from where the sun comes from
  • The door should be big enough for a person to work inside. It should be 6 feet in length and 2.5 feet in width
  • A foot-bath filled with disinfectant should be placed at the entrance

Chicken free-range area

  • Fence with sticks, wire mesh or off-cuts to protect the chickens from other animals
  • The wall should be 2 m high to avoid chickens from jumping over
  • Allow 1 chicken per 4 m2
  • There should be dry areas where chickens can dust bathe. Add ash in these areas to keep off parasites

If your chicken house is not properly constructed, you could experience the following problems:

Trouble Cause What to do
Disappearing Predators Trap them
Bad social behavior Overcrowding Space the house
Diseases Dirty house, overcrowding, mixing birds of different ages Clean the house, separate birds of different ages, space the house, put a foot bath
Poor reproduction Overcrowding, poor lighting Space the house, provide lighting
Poor feeding Overcrowding, extreme temperatures Space the house, construct the house facing East-West direction, cover the house with gunny bags during cold seasons, ventilate the house

You can also download a complete guide to indigenous chicken management here

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One Response to How to build a simple chicken house: A step by step guide

  1. […] Follow vaccination program and treat all diseases accordingly (click HERE), allow good spacing and ventilation (Read here) […]

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