Efficacy of alternative litter materials for broiler production under heat stress conditions
H. KHOSRAVINIA AND M. ABBASI
Agriculture Faculty, LorestanUniversity, Khoramabad, P.B. 450, IRAN
Increased cost, limited supply and unsteady availability of wood shavings have intensified the search for new locally or seasonally accessible sources of litter. Four hundred fifty day-old straight run Arian chicks were randomly allocated to 30 pens (at density of 1.1ft 2/bird) in an open sided partially controlled house to compare the feasibility of four readily available and economical litter sources viz. cow dung, shredded paper, barley stalks, rice husks and a mixture of them with wood shavings for rearing of broiler chicken under heat stress conditions. The ambient temperature ranged from 28-36 and 25-30 °c during day and night hours, respectively, over the entire study period. Average daily weight gain (ADG), feed intake (FI), and feed conversion efficiency (FCE), along with certain litter characteristics (temperature, pH, dustiness score) recorded biweekly up to 42 or 56d. Carcass weight (CW), carcass yield, mortality, production number and litter moisture were collected at 56d. The ADG during 1-14d significantly affected by the type of litter (P<0.05) with the lowest values for birds grown on CD. The mean CW was significantly differed for birds on various litters. The birds on SP and SW were of higher and lower values, respectively. The broilers on SP and WS litters were of the significantly diverged maximum and minimum FI during 28 to 42 and 1 to 42 days, respectively. The mean FSE was significantly differed for birds reared on various litters during 1 to14d with the highest and lowest values for the birds on SP and CD, respectively (P<0.05). The pH value was significantly differed for various litters at all the ages concerned. The initial pH for all litters was consistently declined up to 14d and gradually increased afterward. The mean moisture content was significantly differed for various litters at 56d with the highest and lowest percentages for RH and CD, respectively. Based on the variables studied, it was concluded that CD, SP, RH and BS could successfully be used as alternative bedding materials for broiler chicken.