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Poultry Litter Ash as a Feed Supplement for Broiler Chickens

21 April 2014

Poultry litter ash - formed by the combustion of poultry litter - was found to be a satisfactory alternative calcium and phosphorus source to dicalcium phosphate for broilers in a new study from Auburn University.

In the current issue of Journal of Applied Poultry Research, J.P. Blake and J.B. Hess of Auburn University report their experiment conducted to evaluate poultry litter ash at graded levels (0, 25, 50, 75 and 100 per cent) as a dietary substitute for dicalcium phosphate for broiler chickens. The poultry litter ash was substituted for dicalcium phosphate on a weight-for-weight basis.

Decreased bodyweight gain was observed at 21 days from poultry litter ash at the 100 per cent substitution rate when compared with the 25 per cent substitution rate.

No effects on bodyweight gain, feed consumption or feed conversion ratio were incurred by study termination at 41 days, and the 100 per cent substitution rate of dicalcium phosphate did not cause any detrimental effects on the live performance in market age broilers.

Although femur ash percentages decreased with increasing levels of poultry litter ash, bone integrity was not compromised by the addition of poultry litter ash to the diet.

Dry matter digestibility of dietary calcium (26.32 to 58.65 per cent) and phosphorus (30.23 to 42.68 per cent) increased with increasing levels of poultry litter ash (0 to 100 per cent), respectively, inferring that the calcium and phosphorus component of the diet was more efficiently used as the level of poultry litter ash increased.

Blake and Hess concluded that poultry litter ash resulting from the combustion of poultry litter can be used as a phosphorus and calcium source for broilers.


Blake J.P. and J.B. Hess. 2014. Suitability of poultry litter ash as a feed supplement for broiler chickens. J. Appl. Poult. Res. 23:94-100. doi: 10.3382/japr.2013-00836

Further Reading

You can view the full report (fee payable) by clicking here.

April 2014

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