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Title: Effects of bedding material on ammonia volatilization in a broiler house

item Torbert, Henry - Allen
item Watts, Dexter

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/29/2015
Publication Date: 11/15/2015
Citation: Torbert III, H.A., Watts, D.B. 2015. Effects of bedding material on ammonia volatilization in a broiler house. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts. CDROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Ammonia volatilization from poultry house bedding material is a major production issues because the buildup of ammonia within the facilities is a human health issue and can negatively impact the performance of the birds. Major operational cost is associated with the ventilation of poultry houses to maintain the ammonia concentrations at acceptable levels. From an agronomic perspective, ammonia loss reduces the N content of the litter, thus reducing its benefit as a fertilizer source. A study was conducted to examine the impact of utilizing various bedding materials on ammonia volatilization in a poultry house. The use of gypsum as a bedding material component was among the treatments tested. Straight-run broilers were placed on the bedding and raised until 35 days of age. The study included three consecutive growouts on the same bedding treatments. In each growout, live performance variables were measured at 35 days, while ammonia levels were measured from the bedding at 14 and 35 days of trial. During the first growout ammonia was low at 14 days as expected with fresh bedding, but was lower in pens bedded with gypsum at 35 days, with an average reduction of 9.7 ppm in pens containing all or some gypsum. Also, while not significant, an evaluation of footpad dermatitis showed a 7.7 percent reduction in mild footpad scores with gypsum as bedding. No differences were observed in these measurements during the following two growout trials. Further, no significant difference was observed in the bird performance measures averaged across the three trials. Results indicate that the use of gypsum in bedding material will not hurt broiler production and may reduce ammonia volatilization and footpad issues for the initial growout.