If birds are allowed to wander around freely, disease can spread quickly through all the birds kept in the community. Keeping birds in a closed area and providing them with shelter is the first step towards improving them. A covered shelter (house) will give chickens and ducks protection from wind, rain, snow and predators such as foxes.
If chickens and ducks are kept in houses:
There must be enough space to hold all the birds plus the feed and water containers (troughs). If too many birds are kept together they will start to peck (bite) each other. If any bleed, the problem will become worse, as more birds start to peck. Young birds will need less space than older birds and perches must be provided for chickens to roost on at night.
The ground or floor area required is:
Suitable housing for chickens should be:
Every house will need a run for the birds to be able to exercise in, pick up grass, insects etc. The run must be fenced around with wire or other suitable material and if possible should be shaded by some trees. Part can be covered to allow birds to use it on rainy days. If possible the run should be divided into two areas to keep birds out of one area to allow fresh grass to grow 50 chickens require a 16 square metre house and 500 square metres of run.
Nesting boxes are boxes in which the hen can lay her eggs. You can make them from wood, baskets or pottery. Line them with straw or hay as a nest. Wooden boxes can be built on to the side of the house and opened from the outside to remove the eggs.
Housing for chickens can be used for ducks. However if you keep ducks you should remember:
Laying ducks must be kept in the house each morning until they lay their eggs.
Source : Pashu sakhi Handbook