Why Use Litter Treatments?

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Poultry litter is a mixture of manure, bedding material and feathers. It is a valuable source of nutrients that contains high levels of minerals including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and calcium and is also a good source of crude protein. One of the major problems associated with poultry litter is the volatization or loss of nitrogen on the form of ammonia (NH3) from the litter. Ammonia volatization from poultry litter in poultry houses results in high levels of NH3 in the atmosphere which is detrimental to the health of the birds. High concentrations of NH3 in the houses above the critical atmospheric levels allowable (2:LL-1) for poultry causes a reduction in growth rate, reduced egg production, poor feed efficiency, damage to the respiratory system, immuno-suppression and retinal damage. Ammonia volatization also results in malodorous emissions and loss of poultry litter value as a fertilizer due to nitrogen loss. Because of these negative effects of NH3 volatization, good litter management practices are key to a successful operation.