Ammonia (NH3) production by poultry litter is a recurring management concern for producers. Excessive NH3 exposure has negative impacts on eye and respiratory health, as well as production efficiency.
Application of litter amendments is a common management practice to reduce NH3 concentration inside poultry houses during brooding. However, singular applications prior to chick placement typically provide NH3 abatement for a limited time.
The goal of this research was to determine the effects of repeated applications of an acid-based litter amendment during a grow-out cycle on equilibrium litter NH3 concentration and live performance of broilers in a common airspace.
Three trials were conducted with approximately 14 days between flocks to mimic commercial conditions. Each trial consisted of four replicate pens of five treatments. Each pen contained 42 broilers and was equipped with a tube feeder and nipple drinkers. Treatments included negative control (no amendment), singular application one day prior to chick placement (-1 d), two applications (-1 and 28 d), late application (-1, 28, and 43 d), and bi-weekly application (-1, 14, 28, and 43 d), Litter amendment was applied at two-week intervals up to 43 d of a 56 d grow-out at the manufacturer's recommended application rate (100 lb/1000 ft2).
Results indicated that bi-weekly application was the most effective in reducing litter NH3 concentrations, followed by late application. Equilibrium litter NH3 concentrations were reduced by 56.6% and 21.8% at 42 and 57 days, respectively, for bi-weekly application. Live production parameters were not affected by repeated applications of litter amendment.
Source: Joseph Purswell, USDA-ARS South Central Poultry Laboratory, Mississippi State, MS USA, Jeremiah Davis, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS USA, Aaron Kiess, Department of Poultry Science, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS USA, Craig Coufal, Department of Poultry Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX USA
Proceedings of the 2013 International Poultry Scientific Forum, Atlanta, GA USA