What’s The Best Pen For 1000 Bird Poultry Farm? (Pictures needed)

“What’s The Best Pen For 1000 Bird Poultry Farm? (Pictures needed)”


Dear Tosin,
Small scale poultry housing for 1,000 birds is great question to ask!

There are just so many options…

Many a ‘would-be’ small scale poultry farmer worldwide have launch ambitions of the ‘1 kilo (1,000) bird plan’.
It’s a common ‘kick-off’ flock capacity for newbie poultry-preneurs.

I see also you are undecided perhaps as for which mode of production you intend to settle on – as you asked for both broiler and layer variations.

To answer your question, whilst not having the finer detail at my disposal like:

  • your farm location
  • style of rearing
  • budget
  • overall business model

…I’m going to have to keep things quite generic as not to block off your potential routes to arrive at the satisfactory destination.

Without further ado…
Here we go!

How To Decide On The Best Pen For Your 1,000 Layer Or Broiler Farm

First off…this is a business.

Let’s make sure your figures add up.

Establishing a budget for your small-scale 1,000 bird poultry farm

When budgeting for your 1,000 bird poultry farm the most burdensome cost – ALWAYS – unless you already possess it will be:


Whilst I understand your question was primarily asking advice on ‘best pen’…

We can’t get around the practicality of having an adequate spot to plant your pen.

When it comes to planning a start-up poultry farm finding suitable (large enough, cheap enough, flat enough, remote enough…) land which will turn a good profit for your business is the MOST critical step.

So my first question to you is…
Do you have the land?

You might ask the question…How much land do I need for a 1,000 bird layer or broiler farm?

It really depends on the type of poultry farm operation you have in mind & the minimum floor space requirement per bird – this gives you the scope:

Pastured poultry shelter

“Once the chickens are in the pasture shelters, it is recommended that you provide 0.15 m2 (1.5 ft.2) of floor space per small broiler (1.8 kg or 4 lb. live weight) or 0.2 m2 (2 ft.2) per roaster (2.7 kg or 6 lb. live weight).” – Pastured Poultry (Manitoba.ca)

Deep litter poultry house

“An approximate floor space of 1 m2 for every ten broilers should be provided, and thus enough floor space should be constructed according to the required capacity.” – Good Practices In Planning & Management of Integrated Commercial Poultry Production In South Asia (FAO)

“A floor space allowance of 1 800 cm2 per [layer] bird must be given.” – Good Practices In Planning & Management of Integrated Commercial Poultry Production In South Asia (FAO)

Caged poultry house

“The space allowances given above are for the deep litter system of housing, which is the most widely used system for broilers. When they are reared in cages, half the space suggested is sufficient.” – Good Practices In Planning & Management of Integrated Commercial Poultry Production In South Asia (FAO)

“A floor space allowance of 420-450 cm2 is provided inside the cages [for layer birds].” – Good Practices In Planning & Management of Integrated Commercial Poultry Production In South Asia (FAO)


Let’s take your 3 scenarios one at a time:

(1) Pastured poultry shelter minimum floor space: 

  • Rearing 1,000 broilers: 1,500 sq. ft. (assuming birds are 1.8kg live weight on average – more weight? Add more equivalent space.)
  • Rearing 1,000 layers: 2,200 sq. ft. (assuming birds are 2.7 kg live weight on average – more weight? Add more equivalent space, again.)

(2) Deep litter poultry house minimum floor space:

  • Rearing 1,000 broilers: 1,076.39 sq. ft.
  • Rearing 1,000 layers: 1937.50 sq. ft.

(3) Caged poultry house (using California):

  • Rearing 1,000 broilers: 538.20 sq. ft.
  • Rearing 1,000 layers: 484.37 sq. ft. (? anomaly – the FAO study quoted from which we derived this data seems to attribute more room to layer birds for deep litter, but in the case of this cage set-up is seems to undersubscribe…an oversight?…a miscalculation on our behalf? Your thoughts?)

…so, in conclusion on the matter of land, depending on the kind of type of poultry farm, your minimum housing floor space could be anything between:

say…538 sq. ft. to 2,200 sq. ft. minimum poultry house floor space

But is that all the land space required for your poultry farm?


Typically, even small scale poultry farms have the following amenities also:

  • Storeroom (e.g. for feed storage);
  • Manure pit;
  • Burial pit or incinerator (for bird mortality disposal).

…want a rough estimate for the additional land space required to accommodate these additional buildings?

Let’s breakdown the facts with some estimates…

Storeroom floor space: “…can be estimated as 0.0035m² floor area per bird in the flock where feed is purchased in bags.” – Farm structures in tropical climates (FAO)

  • 3.5m2 (38 sq. ft.) floor space for 1,000 bird flock

Manure pit: “…a layer is estimated to produce on average 0.15 to 0.20 kg manure per day and a broiler 0.08 to 0.12 kg manure per day. In deep litter systems the litter used may more than double these amounts. Poultry manure is commonly allowed to accumulate in the house, under a wire or slatted floor or as deep litter for quite extended periods, but may alternatively be cleaned out regularly and stored in a concrete pond. It is an excellent form of fertiliser.” – Farm structures in tropical climates (FAO)

  • between 200 kg – 120 kg per day
    • …if you stored, 3 months worth of litter at a time you’d need a concrete pond of at least 6 m3 (65 sq. ft.)

Burial pit: “… the average mortality rate per cycle was 6.7%.” – Broiler industry stats for 2017 (South African Poultry Association)

  • 67 birds for every batch of 1,000 would be the expected average mortality number
    • …a pit the size of 0.225 m3 or 2.74 sq. ft.

The overall additional amount required for those extra amenities?

Just under another 110 sq. ft.

…add an additional margin for parking a truck or two for collections and deliveries perhaps

  • 172 sq. ft.

…we get 388 sq. ft. when we total these number.

[1] The grand TOTAL land space for rearing 1,000 birds on pastured poultry:

  • 1,888 – 2,482 sq. ft. minimum land space required for your pastured poultry housing, plus…
    • “…by my calculations, you can probably raise 500 broilers per acre per year in daily-move pasture pens without much trouble.” – How Many Chicken Per Acre? (Practical Poultry Tips – Robert Plamondon)
  • TOTAL: 89,008 (broilers) – 89,602 (layers) sq. ft.

[2] The grand TOTAL land space for rearing 1,000 birds on deep litter:

  • TOTAL: 1,464.39 (broiler) – 2,325.50 (layer) sq. ft. minimum land space required for your deep litter poultry house

[3] The grand TOTAL land space for rearing 1,000 birds in cages:

  • TOTAL: 926.20 (broiler or layer) sq. ft. minimum land space required for your caged poultry house

So…depending on the style of poultry farm you intend to keep…

We in return ask you…

Do you have enough land?

If not, what would be your budget to buy land?

Here, the figure to keep an eye on in the project planning of your 1,000 bird poultry farm is ‘Benefit-Cost Ratio’ or BCR:

Which is calculated by subtracting capital expense from gross profit, remembering “…30.22% [is] gross margin [of the typical layer farm operation]

Let’s take a look at the typical layer farm situation:

With a hen-day egg production figure of 80%, your 1,000 layers would produce 800 eggs per day…

5,600 eggs per week.

Assuming your location was Lagos, Nigeria – let’s say your average table egg goes for the retail price of N.40…

Your weekly sales revenue per week, assuming all stock is sold would be:


Within a 65 week optimal rearing cycle, your revenues related to one batch of 1,000 birds would be:


At 30.22% N.4,407,889.20 is your gross profit in 65 weeks (or pro rata for 12 months = N.3,526,311.40)

Let’s say, farm land in Ogun State, Nigeria is going for about N.600,000 per acre.

To buy, just under 2.2 acres of farmland for a pastured poultry farm without buildings = N.1,320,000

…take this number away from estimated 1st year gross profit and we get:


…please remember, however that this figure isn’t earnings, it’s just what would be leftover of gross profits after subtracting land purchase costs (not including: broker fees, registrations etc.)

Of course, what remains to subtract from this figure is the cost of the buildings mentioned earlier in this response:

  • Poultry houses
  • Storeroom (e.g. for feed storage);

…let’s remember the minimum floor space required for a pastured poultry farm for 1,000 birds:

  • 2,482 sq. ft. for layer farm housing, plus additional onsite amenities

Common materials used for building poultry house (pastured poultry shelter):

  • wooden posts
  • truss beams
  • nails
  • concrete
  • pins
  • braces
  • plywood boards
  • wiring
  • tarpaulin
  • metal sheets
  • litter
  • doors

…constructed according to recommended poultry housing guidelines, these structures should last many years.

This is structural only.

Not taking into account equipment, like lighting/heating for brooders or feeders/drinkers etc.

As for calculating cost of a poultry house for 1,000 birds…

Contact a local construction specialist and submit a request for proposal if you want some suggestions…

Or a request for quote if you are sure on the solution you want.

Ask them to itemise your quote or proposal…details quantities and quality of materials used and a breakdown of their labour costs with an average per hour rate.

Poultry house construction for a 1,000 layer farm in Nigeria, for example, could cost you for carpentry, bricklaying & labour:

~N.120,000 (…this is an absolute guess, based on these two posts: Total Cost To Start A Poultry Farm – Nairaland / How To Start A Profitable Poultry Business – Mr. Pepe)

…it’s best to gather some local quotes for a more accurate figure.

The poultry house in the picture above is a wooden post version.

How much this would cost in comparison to a brick version?

Again, get some local quotes.


Are there not any cheaper versions of poultry housing which we could adopt using locally available materials, like bush wood, for example?

There is a rural version of a poultry house using bush poles and palm leaves for roofing as quoted in WealthResult.com – the cost:

“…But if you want ready made locally fabricated cage it is between 25000 to 30000 Naira.”

– We can’t verify the cost firsthand, but might be worth a look.

One note about such alternative structures however would be security from predators and durability (est. roof will last 2 years). Replacement features could be costly every 2 years.

So, how much profit would be left after building your own buildings?

N.2,206,311.40 – N.120,000 (for standard wooden pole structure) = N.2,086,311.40

N.2,206,311.40 – N.30,000 (for rural bush pole version) = N.2,176,311.40

…Would these profit figure now be estimated earnings?


  • We would still need to subtract equipment costs (feeders, drinkers etc.)
  • Vehicle costs (if applicable)
  • Installation of water or electricity connection (if applicable)

[N.B. Overheads and costs of sale (feed, medicines) were all taken out prior to our gross profit calculation earlier of 30.22%]

Say equipment costs were N.100,000 for 1,000 birds and let’s say you also needed a borehole installation for water at N.530,000

Also, you decide to buy a van to enable you to run egg deliveries, costing you: N.2,100,000

Your first years profit (…or rather loss) would be in the region of: – N.643,688.60

Sound like bad news at first glance…

But what about subsequent years, after you’ve paid up on your capital assets, like buildings, land, equipment, infrastructure etc.?

Simply take the gross profit figure: N.3,526,311.40

So, whilst the first year took some suffering of personal investment without pay…(…think you might need a loan? Here’s a reason why you DON’T need one to start!)

Year on year your 1,000 layer farm, in this example, would gross you N.3,526,311.40

– sure you’d need to factor in some depreciation money on your buildings and other assets to replace them at the end of their time of reasonable use…


A much better story…

Would you agree?

Your thoughts, Tosin…

(Assumptions: remembering the figures above are assuming:

  • your market is Nigeria
  • you prefer layer vs broiler model
  • you prefer pastured poultry vs. deep litter or cage etc.)

3 thoughts on “What’s The Best Pen For 1000 Bird Poultry Farm? (Pictures needed)

  1. I’m Hon. Envie from Ghana I have an 200*200 of land that I have started with 1000 birds now. Tx

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