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Poultry Litter Additive Reduces Ammonia in Raleigh Study

27 December 2013

US - Sodium bisulphate, an acid litter additive, reduced ammonia levels in a broiler house rearing birds to nine weeks of age in a study in North Carolina without affecting the birds' performance.

Significant reductions in ammonia levels observed across all six flocks studied when the litter acidifer, sodium bisulphate (SBS) was applied, according to new research from North Carolina State University and North Carolina Cooperative Extension. The SBS treatments did not significantly improve broiler live performance or affect condemnations at the processing plant.

In a paper published in Journal of Applied Poultry Research, first-named author, Dr Edgar Oviedo-Rondón, and co-authors explain that reuse of litter is currently a common practice in US broiler production due to several environmental and economic factors.

However, they say, the application of litter amendments in broiler houses is a popular practice that can reduce ammonia emissions from recycled litter by converting them to non-volatile ammonium. SBS is an example of the acidifiers frequently used in broiler houses.

Broilers raised to nine weeks of age may require higher acidifier application rates to prevent unhealthy ammonia levels throughout the flock than broilers raised to smaller sizes, they report.

A study with six flocks of roasters was conducted under commercial conditions to evaluate four levels of SBS. In a farm with eight houses, four treatments were evaluated. In the control treatment, 0.49kg per square metre was applied to the brood chamber, whereas the low, medium, and high treatments received 0.49, 0.73 and 1.46kg per square metre, respectively, in the whole house.

Data were obtained as the average of two houses with approximately 21,000 broilers per house in each of the six flocks evaluated.

Oviedo-Rondón and co-authors report that their results indicate no significant differences due to treatments on final average bodyweight, feed conversion, mortality or the majority of condemnation parameters.

They add that the significant reductions in ammonia levels observed in the whole flock across all six flocks receiving SBS treatments did not significantly improve broiler live performance or affect condemnations at the processing plant.


Oviedo-Rondón E.O., S.B. Shah, J.L. Grimes, P.W. Westerman and D. Campeau. 2013. Live performance of roasters raised in houses receiving different acidifier application rates. J. Appl. Poult. Res. 22(4):922-928. doi: 10.3382/japr.2012-00716

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