Poultry International - August 2018 - 32
32 ❙ PoultryInternational
Tackling cage-free layer
housing air quality challenges
hens access to
a litter area for
behavior, but it can
result in dust and
Shown is an infrared photo of hens in the litter area prior to it being
sprayed with electrolyzed water. Blue is the coolest color, followed by
green, yellow, orange and red, which is the hottest.
Egg Industry Center, Iowa State University
Aviary housing systems offer layers access to litter to
express natural behaviors, such as scratching, foraging
and dust bathing. However, air quality in cage-free systems may be compromised as dust (particulate matter)
and ammonia increase as manure and litter accumulate
on the floor.
Dust, which can serve as a carrier of microorganisms and endotoxins, is a significant health risk for farm
workers and the birds as fine particulate matter can enter into the respiratory system. Ammonia, likewise, can
cause respiratory tract irritation or damage.
Dust control in cage-free houses
Recent studies have shown that cage-free housing
results in six to nine times higher dust in the house
environment than cage systems with manure belts.
Researchers in Europe and the U.S. have explored
many potential approaches to controlling dust including ionization with electrical charges using metal wires
on the ceiling. Other studies have focused on spraying
litter with treatments including tap water; acidic water;
soybean, canola or rapeseed oil; and combinations of
water and oil.
Read more about how to mitigate dust and ammonia in cage-free
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ August 2018