5 Practical Ways To Manage Ammonia For Superior Bird Health

Posted by FarmLab Innovations on Feb 12, 2019

Regardless of the season, bird health remains of the utmost importance to growers. While some specific concerns will certainly vary depending on region, there are a number of issues that apply to all growers. Bird health and reducing ammonia levels in poultry houses in order to protect the flock are two of these universal areas of focus. Growers understand that even a slight increase in moisture can yield a significant boost in ammonia levels in poultry houses. There are a number of problems that arise when you have excessive water lingering in these facilities. These include:


Ammonia Blog
  • Serious health concerns: Litter that has become too saturated with water starts to cake and takes on a sticky, undesirable texture. Once this happens, it’s extremely difficult to correct the problem. Why is litter with this cake-like texture such a concern for growers? Highly saturated litter prevents birds from gaining weight, and can lead to a number of paw problems (such as footpad dermatitis) as well as weak immune systems.

  • An increased chance of disease: Wet litter also becomes a breeding ground for disease, which spreads quickly and can have a devastating and long-lasting impact.

  • Continual problems with litter quality: Unfortunately, once litter has been saturated with water, reverting it back to a desirable texture proves to be an exceedingly difficult task for growers.

There’s no question about it: dry litter yields healthier birds. Here are some practical ways to manage ammonia in order to promote superior bird health:

  • Maintain the ideal litter depth: Shallow litter cakes faster. To allow for proper moisture wicking and to minimize the risk of serious issues like paw lesions, keep litter between three and five inches deep at all times.

  • Acidify the litter: Utilize safe acids to maintain proper pH and neutralize ammonia levels in the house. Ideally, pH should be kept below seven.

  • Pre-treat houses properly prior to bird placement: Roughly 96-48 hours before bird placement, carefully purge ammonia from the house, warm the floor, and dry the bedding in order to yield an optimal environment.

  • Use a longer-lasting litter amendment product: While there are a number of litter amendment products on the market, many of them face the same challenge: after about a week, the product is gone and ammonia levels are allowed to climb dangerously high once again. With its long-lasting nature, LitterLock PlusTM separates itself from the pack. The product fights ammonia throughout the 50-plus day grow-out, which is well beyond the brood period. LitterLock PlusTM is one of several practical ways to manage ammonia for superior bird health.

  • Reduce water usage whenever possible: Using products like SWASHTM is another one of the practical ways to manage ammonia, thanks to their ability to cut down on water usage in poultry houses. Integrators have found a 50 percent reduction in water usage after implementing SWASH Dust-RepelTM. The product is safe for use on fans, air inlets, water lines, panel doors, building corners, and the ceiling area. On average, you can treat an entire 30,000-square-foot grow-out facility with SWASH Dust RepelTM for roughly $100 per house. In the first year of introduction, SWASHTM products have saved 1.7 million gallons of water, and 11,433 hours in power washing. 

In Eastern North Carolina, we’ve watched firsthand as 48 turkey grow-out facilities have used SWASHDust-RepelTM in an increasing number of areas of their houses. Some of these growers use as much as 4,000+ gallons of water simply to sanitize one house. After applying SWASH Dust-RepelTM, they’ve been able to cut that number in half, and in many instances are able to simply use a dust blower to get rid of a majority of the dust buildup, with only a minimal amount of water use required to maintain proper sanitation levels. This reduced water usage means a decreased risk of unhealthy levels of ammonia in the poultry house, resulting in healthier birds.

If you’re interested in learning more about practical ways to manage ammonia for superior bird health, we’d love to chat with you in greater depth at the IPPE conference in Atlanta this week.

We’ll be at Booth C-11171, so please stop by with any questions.

We’ll also be posting more information on this topic later this week following our COO Kevin Hrebenar’s TechTalk, happening on February 12th at 1:50 in Hall C 9123. If you’re at IPPE, don’t miss his talk! If you’re unable to attend, you’ll be able to review some key points from the presentation right here on our website later this week. If you’re interested in adding SWASHTM or LitterLock PlusTM to your cleaning regimen, click here and we’ll be in touch shortly!

Topics: Poultry

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