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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #404277

Research Project: Sustaining Productivity and Ecosystem Services of Agricultural and Horticultural Systems in the Southeastern United States

Location: Soil Dynamics Research

Title: Evaluation of gypsum as a bedding material for broiler chickens

item ESCOBAR, C - Auburn University
item Watts, Dexter
item Torbert, Henry - Allen
item BAILEY, M - Auburn University
item KREHLING, J - Auburn University
item MUNOZ, L - Auburn University
item ORELLANA, L - Auburn University
item ADHIKARI, Y - Auburn University
item BAKER-COOK, B - Auburn University
item MACKLIN, K - Mississippi State University

Submitted to: Poultry Science Association Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/11/2023
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) gypsum is a byproduct of the coal-fired power plant process that is commonly used to remove sulfur dioxide emissions from the flue gas. FGD gypsum has many industrial, agricultural, and environmental applications. Previous research found gypsum to be effective at controlling ammonia emissions. This study aimed to evaluate the use of gypsum combined with different litter treatments as bedding for broiler production, focusing on ammonia (NH3), nitrous oxide (N2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and methane (CH4) gas emissions, moisture, performance, and foot pad (FPD) scores over four continuous flocks. A total of 1,800 one-day-old Ross 708 birds were randomly assigned to 24 pens (75 birds/pen) divided into six experimental groups, with four repetitions and raised until day (d) 42. Litter treatments were gypsum that was decaked (D), rotovated (E), and rotovated then windrowed (F) between flocks. With control treatments using pine shavings that were decaked (A), rotovated (B), and windrowed post-rotovating (C). Gases emissions (ppm) were measured d0 and 42 at litter level using an Innova 1512 Photoacoustic Infrared Spectroscopy (PSA) Analyzer. Adjusted Feed Conversion Ratio (AFCR) was used as a measure of production. FPD scores were taken d42 using a scale of 0, 1, and 2 where 0 was no FPD lesion and 2 was lesion more than ½ the area of the FPD. Data were analyzed using a GLM model, Proc Glimmix (significant P = 0.05) for effects of litter treatment and flock, means were separated using Tukey’s HSD in SAS® 9.4 software. No overall effect of treatment was found for AFCR or any of the gas emission values. In flock 1, treatments containing gypsum (D-23.40%, E-23.65%, and F-23.30%) had higher moisture than control treatments (A-21.32%, B-21.35%, and C-21.35%). At d42, flock 2 had the highest NH3(141.63 ppm) and CO2 (8055.42 ppm), while flock one had the highest CH4 (13.66 ppm) and moisture (21.68%). Treatment effect was only found for FPD score 2, with control treatment B and C having more FPD 2 scores than gypsum treatments F, E, and D. In flock 2, gypsum treatments D, E, and F had more FPD scores 0 than control treatments A, B, and C. In flock 3, control treatments B and C had more FPD scores 2 compared to D and F (gypsum). Overall, flock 1 and 3 had less FPD scores 0 and more 1 and 2 compared to flock 2 and 4. Overall, the use of gypsum as bedding results in equivalent production to pine shavings, while increasing FPD quality when compared to pine shaving. The reuse of litter may decrease CH4 emission, although this may be confounded by environmental relative humidity.