Manure Manager

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Microbial benefits to reusing chicken litter


September 16, 2020
By Manure Manager

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A new study shows that the microbiome in reused poultry litter can deter growth of pathogens like Salmonella.

“When you read or hear that broiler litter is reused to raise multiple flocks of chickens, the typical reaction is that it must be bad for food safety,” says Adelumola Oladeinde, a co-author of the recent study. “Our study demonstrates the exact opposite.”

Oladeinde is a researcher at the USDA’s National Poultry Research Center in Athens, GA. He and his colleagues found that ‘good’ bacteria in used poultry litter can hinder Salmonella growth.

“It may be worthwhile to invest time and resources to characterize the bacteria in reused litter,”  Oladeinde says. “We can develop the promising ones into beneficial microbes for better chicken gut health.” 

The study also explored litter characteristics, such as moisture and ammonia levels. These characteristics can dramatically affect the litter microbiome – the mix of bacteria, fungi, and viruses in litter. Chicken litter plays a big role in determining broiler health. 

“Our findings provide new information on the relationship between the physical environment of broiler litter and its microbiome,” Oladeinde says. “Management techniques that account for both factors may help reduce Salmonella in chickens.”