Best practice litter management manual for Australian meat chicken farms

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This guide has been written to assist meat chicken growers to maintain high productivity and minimise impacts to meat chicken health, human health, and the environment by implementing best practice bedding and litter management measures. It also assists end users of spent litter to minimise potential environmental and biosecurity risks that may be associated with utilising spent litter.

The authors acknowledge that the guidance in this document may be useful for those auditing management practices on farms. However, these measures are not intended to be used in a prescriptive manner or regulatory context. They are written to assist meat chicken growers and spent litter end users.

This guide relates to bedding and litter use in meat chicken production, including selecting and treating bedding materials, managing litter in sheds, reusing litter in sheds, and utilising spent litter after removal from sheds. Key components of this guide include:

  1. Information on how bedding type and management contribute to meat chicken performance and health, human health, and amenity.
  2. Details on specific litter issues, as well as best practice management measures.
  3. A summary of industry practices and the role of litter for those without a background in chicken meat production (The role of litter in the Australian chicken meat industry).
  4. Management guides for different bedding materials (Management of common bedding materials).
  5. A troubleshooting guide to define and address bedding and litter problems (Troubleshooting guide for litter management).

The specific bedding material and litter issues outlined in this guide contain a technical description of each issue and a summary of relevant research and literature available. At the end of each section is a summary of best practice management measures in the following format.

Format of management practices for each chapter

Why important: A description of the issue and why the management practices are important to achieve each of the desired outcomes.
Outcomes: Statements outlining what is to be achieved.
Performance measures: Indicators that are used to measure the actions implemented to meet the desired outcomes.
Best management actions:
A list of actions considered the best feasible management practices to achieve the performance measures.
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