Effect of straw size and microbial amendment of litter on certain litter quality parameters, ammonia emission, and footpad dermatitis in broilers
- University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Animal Science, 21000 Novi Sad, Serbia
Abstract. This study was conducted to evaluate the impact of litter amendment (microbiological product – Micropan complex) and straw size (unchopped and chopped straw) on pH, moisture level, ammonia emission, and footpad dermatitis in broilers. A total of 1200 1-day-old Ross 308 broilers were randomly allocated to four treatments (2 × 2 factorial arrangement), with four replicates per treatment. Each replicate consisted of 75 as-hatched birds per pen. The first factor consisted of wheat straw – chopped (C) or unchopped (U) – and the second factor was the litter amendment with (WM) or without (OM) Micropan® (enzymatic bacterial product – Eurovix, USA). At 4, 5, and 6 weeks of the trial, the levels of ammonia concentration, moisture content, and pH of litter in each pen were measured. The foot pad lesions were evaluated at 21, 35, and 42 days of age. Broilers reared on chopped straw had significantly better leg condition as expressed by a smaller incidence and severity of footpad dermatitis. The pH value of litter was decreased and footpad quality was significantly improved by Micropan application in broilers kept on chopped and unchopped straw in the sixth week of age. There was no significant effect of Micropan application and straw size on ammonia emission in broiler housing.