Domestic Fowls (England): Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock (PB0076)

5. Housing

Ventilation and temperature

  1. Ventilation rates and house conditions should at all times be adequate to provide sufficient fresh air for the birds. In particular, accumulations of ammonia, hydrogen sulphide, carbon monoxide and dust should be avoided (see note 3).
  2. Care should be taken to protect confined birds from draughts in cold conditions.
  3. Birds, particularly those in cages, should not be exposed to strong direct sunlight or hot surroundings long enough to cause heat stress as indicated by prolonged panting.
  4. A newly hatched bird has poor control over its body temperature. Environmental conditions during the early part of a chicks life should therefore allow it to maintain its normal body temperature without difficulty. Whatever method of heating is used, the behaviour of the chick should be regarded as the best indicator of the adequacy of the environment. Young chicks should not be subjected to conditions which cause either panting due to overheating or prolonged huddling and feather ruffling due to under-heating. After about four to five weeks birds can tolerate a fairly wide range of temperatures; but every effort should be made to avoid creating conditions which will lead to chilling, huddling and subsequent smothering.
  5. Close confinement affects the birds ability to maintain their normal body temperature but under any management system ambient temperatures hot enough to cause prolonged panting may occur, particularly when the humidity is relatively high. All accommodation should therefore be so designed that even when fully stocked its ventilation is adequate to protect the birds from overheating under any weather conditions that can reasonably be foreseen.


  1. The Health and Safety Executive recommends, that for human safety, the following levels should not be exceeded.

Name of gas

Long term exposure
limit (ppm)
(8 hour day)

Short term exposure
Limit (ppm)
(10 minutes)

Carbon Monoxide
Carbon Dioxide
Hydrogen Sulphide



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