Poultry houses that have layer cages are for producing eggs for eating – in an intensive way. The laying chickens are kept in cages for their life time – 2 – 3 years, whilst they lay eggs. The eggs are collected twice a day. The eggs roll down on the floor of the cage and collection of the eggs is very easy.The chickens are fed by placing food in the trough that runs along the front of the cage – food is available 24 hours a day. Water is supplied to the layer cages from a header tank, then to small tanks at the edge of the layer cage. These small tanks can be used to medicate the whole cage. The first part of a layer cage is called a starter cage and the add on cages are called followers.
These layer cages are brand new on the poultry market – in a standard old fashioned cage the bays can only hold 5 chickens per bay – in these modern layer cages, made in South Africa, the bays can hold 7 birds. The cages are slightly longer than the standard cage.Layer cages are usually stacked – this saves space. Layer cages come in 2 tier and 3 tier cages. Although banned in European countries, South Africa still uses layer cages as a form of chicken egg farming.
The modern layer cages can be used in small chicken houses or large poultry houses. The height of the chicken house is important – the roof needs to be high enough that the height of the cage is not too close to the ceiling – where the chicken house gets hot. Fans and curtains are a must as the chickens are very close to one another and the temperature can rise very rapidly – especially in South African conditions. Poultry layer houses should have a concrete floor – this makes cleaning the house easy and sanitary. Dirt floors gather disease as the chicken droppings fall through the floor of the cages and sit on the floor. In very large chicken layer houses this area is accessible for a small tractor or TLB – the litter is regularly cleaned out.