Best practice litter management manual for Australian meat chicken farms

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  4. Impacts of bedding type and litter management
  5. Amenity impacts

Amenity impacts

Litter moisture content is one of the most important factors in managing amenity impacts from litter. Odour is increased under conditions of high litter moisture, while low moisture levels can result in increased dust generation (although this is generally considered to be less of an amenity issue compared with odour). The moisture content of litter can be estimated from its physical properties, especially friability and appearance.

To reduce impacts from shed litter, it is important to achieve friable (easily crumbled) litter throughout the litter profile to prevent excessive moisture and subsequent caking at the surface of the litter

Litter moisture is regulated by the temperature, humidity and ventilation within sheds; however, meat chicken welfare requirements determine these factors. In other words, ventilation and temperature are controlled for the thermal comfort of the chickens and not to maximise evaporation of water from the litter. Thus, the control of litter moisture should focus on keeping litter dry and friable during the cycle to maximise the evaporation rate of water from the litter. However, climatic and weather conditions, such as a cold, wet winter or days of high humidity, may affect the operation of ventilation and cooling systems, hence the importance of ventilation to keep the litter dry and friable.

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