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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #348075

Research Project: Enhancing Production and Ecosystem Services of Horticultural and Agricultural Systems in the Southeastern United States

Location: Soil Dynamics Research

Title: Gypsum as a bedding source for broiler chickens

item HESS, JOSEPH - Auburn University
item Watts, Dexter
item Torbert, Henry - Allen
item DAVIS, JEREMIAH - Auburn University
item SIBLEY, JEFFERY - Auburn University

Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Branch Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/5/2017
Publication Date: 2/5/2017
Citation: Hess, J., Watts, D.B., Torbert III, H.A., Davis, J., Sibley, J. 2017. Gypsum as a bedding source for broiler chickens [abstract]. American Society of Agronomy Southern Branch Meeting, February 5-7, 2017, Mobile, Alabama. CDROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Three trials examined the feasibility of flue gas desulfurization gypsum as a bedding material for raising broilers. Gypsum was used alone, under or on top of pine shavings and pine bark. Test materials were placed as bedding in pens to simulate commercial broiler production through three growout cycles. Straight-run broilers were placed on the bedding and raised until 35 days of age. Live performance variables were measured at 35 days, while litter ammonia levels were measured at 21 and 35 days. Body weights were lower in pens bedded on 100% gypsum as compared to pine shavings in the first trial, with mixes of bedding types intermediate. Trends in feed efficiency became significant in adjusted feed efficiency (adjusted for mortality weight). As with body weight, the 100% gypsum treatment showed poorer FCR as compared to pine shavings. Averages across treatment with or without gypsum showed a three point difference in favor of pine shavings or bark. Mortality was low and did not vary by treatment. Footpad scores approached significance, with lower levels of foot pad problems in pens containing gypsum. A 7.7 percent reduction was measured in mild footpad scores with gypsum bedding. Litter caking was higher in several of the treatments bedded with gypsum as compared to the pine shavings. Averages across gypsum and no gypsum treatments showed almost twice the caking in gypsum treatments. Litter ammonia was low at 21 days as expected with fresh litter, but was lower in pens bedded with gypsum at 35 days. An average reduction of 9.7 ppm was recorded in pens containing all or some gypsum. In subsequent trials, little variation in response variables was measured as dried droppings increased as a percentage of the litter.