To maximize urban chicken sanitation and hygiene, it is important to create an environment where the
possibility of infection with disease producing organisms is reduced to a minimum.
The first essential is the proper selection of the poultry site. The soil should be sandy or gravelly nature in order to provide for good drainage. To take advantage of natural drainage, the site should preferably be located on a gentle slope. If the lay of the land or the nature of the soil renders natural drainage impossible, artificial drainage must be resorted to. Since moisture is essential to the development of most parasites in their free living stages, the presence of surface water, which the birds are apt to drink, must be regarded as unhealthy. Pools of water in the poultry yards should be immediately filled in or drained.
Poultry houses or shelters are essential for the protection of the birds against inclement weather, including rain, storms, and extremes of temperature. The excreta, or body wastes, of the birds which collect in the houses or shelters must be properly handled, or they may serve as a source of infection with parasites and other diseases. Irrespective of the type of poultry house built, it is of the utmost importance that it possess certain features of design and arrangement to facilitate cleaning and to keep the birds well and strong.
The floors and walls should be constructed of material that is impervious to moisture and easy to clean and will exclude vermin of all types. Floors of dirt or wood are seriously objectionable because they are difficult to clean and disinfect: concrete floors are much more desirable. The roosts and nests should be simply built so that they may be taken apart easily for cleaning and disinfecting. The house should be so constructed as to insure the entrance of an abundance of direct sunlight, which is important to the health of the fowls as well as destructive to bacteria and certain parasites.
The hygienic condition of poultry yards is of tremendous importance to the health of the birds. It is not so convenient to collect and dispose of body wastes in the poultry runs as in the houses. For this reason, the small overcrowded poultry runs too frequently observed are apt to receive a larger amount of wastes than the ground can adequately take care of. When a disease is once introduced in such a place, it quickly spreads to all the birds, unless treated quickly.