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Effect of Litter Material on its Conditions, Animal Health and Ammonia Emission at Turkey Housing

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  024234,  2002 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.10538) @2002
Authors:   Tadeusz Kuczynski, Oryna Slobodzian - Ksenicz
Keywords:   turkey housing, ammonia emission, litter caking, litter moisture, animal health and welfare

Due to differences in water adsorption capacity, the rate of their further release as well as the ongoing biochemical processes. litter material may affect its physical properties and structure Due to the same factors and additionally NH3 adsorption and release rate ammonia emission may be also affected by various types of litter used. Whereas, there has been quite a lot of research on physical properties of litter in chicken housing, much less scientific data on this topic is available for turkey production. There is very few research data on ammonia emission for both chicken and turkey buildings. In growing/finishing turkey barns birds remain much longer than at broiler houses. As a result, the biochemical processes taking place in the litter are significantly different and this in turn may affect litter moisture its physical structure as well as ammonia volatilization rate. The research was carried out in two identical barns, for three successive flocks, with three types of litter involved.

Birds remained in the barns for three consecutive stages (from brooding, through growing, until finishing). For the first, Summer Autumn flock, long rye straw versus softwood shavings litters were compared. For the Winter Spring flock long rye straw and the same straw chopped to 5 8 cm pieces were investigated and finally for the Spring - Summer flock chopped straw and softwood shavings litter were tested.

The research did not show any significant effect of litter type on total ammonia emission in turkey house. At the same time research shown statistically significant difference between ammonia emission level for the analyzed litter materials when it was considered in context of time passed from the beginning of birds housing. The ammonia emission at the end of week 5th (the end of typical broiler housing period) corresponded well to ammonia emission obtained for broiler houses in other investigations. For long straw litter ammonia emission reached its maximum in week 6 7; for chopped straw and wood shavings maximum ammonia emission took place approximately at week 10.There was significant seasonal effect on ammonia emission from long straw litter. There was much lower seasonal effect on ammonia emission for remaining types of litter.

There were more frequent and more severe incidences of litter caking at long straw than when chopped straw or wood shavings were used. As a result there was significantly higher incidence and severity of foot lesions for long straw than two remaining types of litter. Long straw caused birds to suffer, considerably affected their health, welfare and production results.

Obtained results seem to have particular significance in countries like Poland where long straw is the most commonly litter type used in poultry buildings. The results of the research show that using long straw as a litter for turkey should be limited for their negative effect on health, welfare and production performance.

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