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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: In-house Windrowing of a Commercial Broiler Farm During Summer Months and Its Effect on Litter Composition

Authors
item Barker, K -
item Coufal, C -
item Purswell, Joseph
item Davie, J -
item Parker, H -
item Kidd, M -
item Mcdaniel, C -
item Kiess, A -

Submitted to: Journal of Applied Poultry Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 10, 2011
Publication Date: June 10, 2011
Citation: Barker, K.J., Coufal, C.D., Purswell, J.L., Davie, J.D., Parker, H.M., Kidd, M.D., Mcdaniel, C.D., Kiess, A.S. 2011. In-house Windrowing of a Commercial Broiler Farm During Summer Months and Its Effect on Litter Composition. Journal of Applied Poultry Research. 20:168-180.

Interpretive Summary: In-house windrowing of broiler litter has been suggested as a means to reduce pathogens and improve litter quality betweeen growouts. Three different windrowing treatments and an unwindrowed control were tested against one another in a commercial house to determine the effect of the windrowing process on microbial reduction and litter quality parameters such as moisture content, pH, and ammonia. Results indicated that moisture content was lower in unwindrowed litter when compared to windrowed litter. All treatments showed a decrease in pH over the study period. Populations of anaerobic bacteria were reduced in windrowed litter when compared to the unwindrowed treatment. In-house windrowing may be benefical for newly placed chicks by changing the litter environment and reducing the population of anaerobic bacteria which may be detrimental to bird health and production.

Technical Abstract: In-house windrowing of broiler litter between flocks has been suggested as an effective method to reduce pathogens and improve the quality of the house environment in which new chicks are placed. In this study, different methods of in-house windrowing were tested in commercial broiler houses during the summer months of July and August to determine the effects each would have on litter composition. Three windrowing treatments and one control treatment were applied to two commercial broiler houses containing litter that was used over multiple flock grow-outs. Windrowing treatments included windrows with either the addition of water, turning of the windrow, or leaving the windrow undisturbed for 8 d. Each commercial broiler house was divided into sixteen 6.1 × 6.1 m plots with each treatment being applied to four plots per house. Litter from each plot was analyzed for moisture content, pH, ammonia, and microbes over a 17 d period, with d 17 representing 7 d after chick placement. Results indicated that moisture content was significantly lower in the control treatment compared to all other treatments. All treatments showed decreases in pH from d 0 to d 17. Ammonia decreased from d 10 to d 17. Litter windrowed without the addition of water or turning resulted in a decrease in anaerobic bacteria on d 17 compared to the control treatment. In conclusion, in-house windrowing may be beneficial for newly placed chicks by changing the litter environment and reducing the population of pathogenic anaerobes that can be detrimental to bird health and production.

Last Modified: 4/19/2014
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