The Effect of the Litter Materials on Broiler Chickens Welfare and Performance

Serpil Gençoğlan, Cafer Gençoğlan


The aim of this study is to review the quality and types of the litter material and its effect on the welfare and performance of the broiler chickens. Since the most suitable broiler rearing system is on the littered floor, the litter material is of great importance. Demand for litter material is also increasing, depending on the development in broiler production. Straws, wood shavings, and sawdust are widely used as litters material. Beside these, materials such as wheat, barley, rye, oats, sunflower, rice, hazelnut, maize, soya, peanut, cotton and sugarcane are used purely or mixed as a litters material. The quality of the litter is determined with the litter moisture, pH, ammonium nitrate content, caking level and water holding capacity. The ideal litter material should have a moisture content of 20-25%, a pH of 8-10, and ammonia content should not exceed 25 ppm. The thickness of the litter changes between 2 and 10 cm according to the type of the litter, and size of it should not exceed 0.6 cm. Increase in the litter moisture increases pH, NH3 concentration and caking. The type of litter material effects on the performance, welfare, health, behavior and product quality of broiler chickens. In addition, there are negative effects of litter materials on carcass defects, foot-leg problems, breast blisters or bruises, decrease in living power, and increase of microorganism development due to litter moisture, increase of gas and dust formation in poultry. These adverse effects cause large economic losses in intensive enterprises. For this reason, the quality and type of litter material is very important in broiler rearing.


Litter material; Litter quality; Animal welfare; Performance; Foodpad dermatitis

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ISSN: 2148-127X

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