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Preferences of broiler chicks for different litter materials

Department of Technology of Animal Products, Agriculture Faculty,
LorestanUniversity, Khoramabad, P.B. 450, Lorestan, IRAN


Substantial research has been carried out to evaluate the suitability of alternative sources of litter materials for broiler production. However, studies on preferences of chicken for different types of litters are scarce, if not at all. Six hundred twelve day-old straight run Arian chicks were placed in an open sided partially controlled house. An area of 3×4 m 2with confined border lineon the concrete floor was covered by each of four litter types viz. shredded paper (SP), corn cobs (CC), leaves (L) and wood shavings (WS) in 2-3 inches depth. The chicks were being freed to move on all the litters. The identical number of feeder and waterer were allocated in the similar locations on all the litters. The number of the birds on each litter counted at 8 PM and 7 AM on a daily basis up to 21 days of age. Two-way analysis of variance used to differentiate the preferences of the birds for litters during the four periods of five days each. The number of the birds present on each area differed significantly for the kind of litter (P<0.01). Irrespective of period, broilers preferred SP followed by L, CC and WS. The highly diverged means for presence of birds on different litters in early periods was found to be narrower in the later periods. It was expected that the chicks will prefer the litters with apt nature for scratching and dust bathing. The shredded paper was an attractive mixture of waste papers with different colors. It was of better ability to make a network for complete and keep the covering ability of floor but certainly it was not of suitable nature to dust bath and to demonstrate the natural habit of the birds compared to SW, L GCC with respect to particle size while chicks are scratching the litter as a natural behavior. In advanced ages, by accumulating of droppings all kind of litters turned to garish-black color and the birds lost the preference for any one. It conclusion, the broilers chicks showed a clear preference to walk and stay on shredded paper over L, CC and WS, especially at earlier ages. The preference could mainly be attributed to the color of the litter.

Source : IPSACON-2005
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