Submitted to: Poultry Science Association Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/28/2002
Publication Date: 8/11/2002
Citation: Miles, D.M., Branton, S.L., Lott, B.D., Simmons, J.D. 2002. Quantified detriment of ammonia to broilers [abstract]. Poultry Science Association Meeting Abstract 81:54-55.. Interpretive Summary: None required.
Technical Abstract: Ammonia levels in broiler houses can reduce bird performance, increase susceptibility to disease and increase subsequent mortality. House management, season, humidity, stocking density, and litter properties influence ammonia concentrations. Though it is widely known that ammonia is detrimental to poultry welfare, the quantified effect of ammonia on broiler performance is of practical importance to the poultry industry. Genetically, today's broiler is different than the broiler three decades ago, and literature providing quantified effects of ammonia is based on the older genetic stock. Ammonia levels are highest during the first few weeks of growth, but as the birds grow larger, ventilation rates are increased and ammonia levels in the house decrease. Recommended ammonia levels for broiler houses are less than 50 ppm. It is common for ammonia levels in commercial houses to exceed 50 ppm. Each of five environmental chambers housed 60 commercial male broilers on 10 cm of pine shavings for four weeks. The treatments for the chambers included four ammonia levels: 0 ppm (two chambers at this level), 25 ppm, 50 ppm, and 75 ppm. The birds in each chamber were weighed weekly and were supplied basal diets under continuous lighting. Ammonia levels were monitored daily. At the end of four weeks, broilers subject to 0 ppm ammonia had body weights of 1460 g. All levels of ammonia exposure reduced body weights. The 25 ppm concentration reduced body weights a maximum of 1.7% at 3 wks, while 50 ppm exposure reduced body weight most significantly at 4 wks by 12.3%. At the 75 ppm level of ammonia, body weights were reduced by 4.8%, 17.8%, 25.4%, and 22.6% for weeks one through four,respectively.