Poultry Solutions

Controlling Ammonia in Poultry Houses Crucial for Health and Performance

The quality of the air in your chicken or turkey house is directly related to your birds’ ability to respond to respiratory challenges and meet their genetic growth potential. Ammonia control is most important during the first 14-21 days of the bird’s life, with the first 7 days being the most critical when chicks and poults are most susceptible to ammonia damage. Birds exposed to ammonia during brooding have decreased resistance to Newcastle Disease virus (Anderson, 1964) and have more difficulty in clearing E. coli from the respiratory tract (Nagaraja, 1984). More importantly, they can be as much as a half pound lighter in weight (Miles, 2002).

While ammonia’s effects are most evident during the first 21 days, the optimal ammonia level target is 25 PPM or less at all times to help fight off respiratory disease challenges and prevent weight loss. During grow-out, many producers rely on ventilation to prevent ammonia build-up. However, economic and management constraints often prevent sufficient ventilation, especially during winter months, causing increased ammonia exposure which dramatically affects flock performance. The problem is compounded as bird densities and litter reuse increase, and layout times decrease. Poultry house ammonia levels often range from 50 to over 200 ppm.

PLT® for Poultry Litter Ammonia Control

For a turkey or chicken, ammonia effects are seen from day one, so it is vital to choose a litter amendment that works immediately. Waiting a week for activation can cause irreversible damage. That is one reason PLT-poultry litter treatment is so widely used. When the proper application procedures are followed, PLT helps maintain acceptable ammonia levels from bird placement through grow-out.

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"I use PLT on a year round basis for controlling ammonia levels on my broiler farm. We use the 150 pounds per 1,000 square feet rate on winter flocks and 100 pounds per 1,000 square feet on all others. Used in conjunction with windrowing and a solid 48 hour pre-brood, we feel it is the best combination for starting chicks in an environment free of ammonia for a good start and proper respiratory health."

Mike Casto

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Jones-Hamilton Co.
30354 Tracy Road
Walbridge, OH 43465
(888) 858-4425
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