Paper – shredded

Shredded paper is paper that has been pre-used and chopped into small pieces and recycled as bedding material for poultry.

Application in the Australian chicken meat industry

Shredded paper has been used as alternative litter material internationally and in Australia. It tends to compact and cake more than the other traditional litters, but the way the paper is shredded improves absorption and prevents sharp edges that can cut birds legs. Concerns can exist with ink in recycled paper, and while most printing ink is soy-based, care must be taken to avoid contamination of litter with heavy metal inks.

Paper is managed in a similar way to straw but requires more management to control caking and ammonia production. Several studies have found that shredded paper bedding does not significantly affect bird weight or feed conversion ratio, and if managed properly, has the same performance outcomes as other litter types. Paper is broken down readily and can be spread on farm land after use.

Practical considerations of using shredded paper as chicken litter

Practical considerations that need to be assessed before expanding the use of shredded paper as litter in the Australian chicken meat industry include:

Table 1: Practical considerations of using peat as chicken litter

Practical considerations Peat litter
Supply Commercially available in Australia? No, currently most commercially available peat is imported in small quantities.

Future potential bans on peat mining may affect availability.
Operation Optimisation required for Australian conditions? Yes, depth of litter needs to be optimised for Australian requirements. Blending with other materials and litter re-use needs to be investigated.
Could it be available if demand was high? There are peat deposits in New South Wales or it could be imported in bulk.
What might it cost if demand was high? Unknown, but expected to be higher than wood products.
Management Additional management practises needed? No, the management of peat is like sawdust.
Regulation Are there regulatory or market barriers to using peat as litter? RSPCA litter depth.
Other Greenhouse gas environmental impacts Peat mining could have negative perception problems due to greenhouse gas emissions from mining and use of this product.
Content source: Review of fresh litter supply, management and spent litter utilisation, AgriFutures Australia final report 2018

Downloads and resources

Best practice litter management manual for Australian chicken meat farms (PDF, 3MB) | online version

Review of fresh litter supply, management and spent litter utilisation (PDF, 3.5MB)

Litter re-use: an evidence-based guide to re-using litter (PDF, 1.3MB)


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