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Title: Influence of various alternative bedding materials on pododermatitis in broilers raised in a built-up litter system

item HESS, J - Auburn University
item BILGILI, S - Auburn University
item MACKLIN, K - Auburn University
item SIBLEY, J - Auburn University
item Torbert, Henry - Allen
item Watts, Dexter

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/5/2016
Publication Date: 9/5/2016
Citation: Hess, J.B., Bilgili, S.F., Macklin, K.S., Sibley, J.L., Torbert, H.A., Watts, D.B. 2016. Influence of various alternative bedding materials on pododermatitis in broilers raised in a built-up litter system. In: Proceedings of the XXV World’s Poultry Congress (WPC2016), September 5-9, 2016, Beijing China.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Broilers in the United States are frequently raised on built-up litter systems, primarily bedded with pine wood chips (shavings) or sawdust. There is continuing interest in alternative bedding materials as pine products are often in short supply and prices rise accordingly. Alternative bedding materials must be inexpensive, available in large quantities without excessive hauling expenses and must take up and release moisture without any damaging affects to bird health or product quality. Pododermatits is both an economic and animal welfare concern for those raising broilers. Litter management must be a top priority of growers when built-up litter systems are being used and pododermatitis can escalate if litter conditions deteriorate. Three trials at Auburn have examined the utility of various alternative bedding materials across multiple growouts. Pododermatitis was evaluated with each bedding material over time. Bedding sources were compared to pine shavings (PS) and included large pine shavings (LS), pine bark (PB), chopped straw (CS), cotton gin trash (CGT), sand (S), and gypsum (G). Pododermatitis was generally low in PS, PB, S and G, while CS, LS and CGT showed increased pododermatitis associated with increased litter caking. G showed reduced pododermatitis over PS and PB in the first growout (4.75 vs 14 and 17.5% incidence), although no differences were noted in subsequent growouts. Pine shavings sifted to create beddings of different sizes showed improvements in pododermatitis with a smaller particle size seen in new or recycled bedding (38 and 27% vs 88% incidence). Our studies using CS may have suffered from particle size issues as our chopping technology did not create small particles (0.040 bulk density vs 0.110 in PS). Alternative bedding materials can be used successfully if caking, and the resulting pododermatitis isn’t substantial.