If your goal is to remove the ammonia challenge and high nutrient load caused by excessive litter depth, it may be beneficial to reduce the volume of litter in the house through a partial clean out. Various types of partial clean outs have been employed to reduce litter volume, reduce nutrient load (ammonia) within the house, or provide clean bedding for brooding. Partial clean outs can remove all of the litter from a certain section of the house or a portion of the litter from the entire house. If all of the litter is to be removed from a brood chamber, it is almost always replaced with new bedding.
Most of the manure deposition in a poultry house occurs between the sidewalls and the inside water lines as this is where the birds defecate after eating and drinking. Because most of the manure is in this location, most of the ammonia is as well. To remove the greatest amount of ammonia, the sidewalls should be stripped to the ground rather than the center litter removed. Though cleaning along the sidewalls is more labor intensive, it is more effective in reducing ammonia challenge because more of the nutrient load is removed from the house. Once the sides of the house are stripped, the litter from the center of the house can be pulled to the sidewalls to level the floor. This will reduce the amount of ammonia available to be released once pre-heating begins and still maintain an ideal 4-6 inch litter depth.
Manure Management in Summer Months
It is a practice by some growers to reduce litter depth to approximately four inches going into summer to better manage heat production from the litter by “cutting-the-centers” of houses. With this program, it is advisable to remove litter feed line to feed line one year and from sidewalls to feed lines the following year. Furthermore, by alternating the location year-to-year the accumulation of the hard pan layer is minimized. From a nutrient management standpoint, this practice may help some growers in that it provides an even distribution of litter for land application or alternative uses from year to year.
After a section of litter is removed from the house, the dirt pad can be acidified with PLT® litter acidifier prior to spreading out the remaining litter. This will restore the pad ecology back to one more favorable for birds by restoring the pad to an acidic pH.
Have questions about partial clean out or applying PLT®? Contact your Jones-Hamilton rep to discuss your poultry manure management plan and how we can help. Or read more about complete poultry house clean out now.