Litter Aeration Reduces Salmonella Infection Pressure

SPAIN - Aeration of broiler litter was effective in reducing Salmonella infection pressure in new research from Spain.
calendar icon 2 September 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

The aeration of broiler litter did not increase the shedding or spread of Salmonella around the house, according to Sara González Bodí from Universidad CEU-Cardenal Herrera in Valencia and others. In a paper in Poultry Science, she and co-authors there and at CITA-IVIA in Castellon suggest that the technique may be effective to reduce the infective pressure of this bacterium.

Litter quality in the poultry sector is one of the main parameters of health, productivity, and animal welfare, they explained, adding that as a result, innovative management methods have been developed to improve the quality of litter. One of these is litter aeration (LA) by tumbling. However, there is little information related to the effect of this technique on the spreading of pathogens of public health importance such as Salmonella.

The objective of the Spanish study was to determine the epidemiology of Salmonella in poultry farms, when serial litter aeration were implemented during the rearing cycle of broilers.

An experimental broiler farm with three identical rooms was used in the study. Two rooms were assigned to the litter aeration treatment, and the other one served as the control room. Environmental samples were taken in poultry houses after litter aeration in four consecutive weeks at the end of the cycle.

All samples collected were analyzed according to the standards of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO 6579:2002, Annex D).

The results of this study showed that in the control and treated rooms, the percentage of positive samples for Salmonella decreased in the first three litter aeration sessions (LA 1, LA 2 and LA 3). However, in the last LA session of rearing (LA 4), the percentage of positive samples increased from 8.2 to 33.2 per cent in the control room while in the treated rooms, the positive samples decreased (P=0.017).

Bodí and co-authors conclude the aeration of the litter as litter management technique in poultry broiler production does not increase the shedding or the spread of Salmonella throughout broiler houses. In addition, it could be an effective technique to reduce the infective pressure of this bacterium in several areas of the farm or in certain moments of the rearing period with more risk of multiplication and spreading of Salmonella.


Bodí S.G., A.V. Garcia, S.V. García and C.M. Orenga. 2013. Litter aeration and spread of Salmonella in broilers. Poult. Sci. 92(8):2005-2011. doi: 10.3382/ps.2013-03078

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