Effect of floor type (dirt or concrete) on litter quality, house environmental conditions, and performance of broilers

VMN Abreu PG de Abreu FRF Jaenisch A Coldebella DP de Paiva About the authors

This study was conducted with the objective of evaluating the use of concrete or hard-packed dirt floor in broiler houses. This experiment was carried out in two different phases. The following performance parameters were studied: live weight, feed intake, feed conversion ratio, and mortality. Litter moisture, pH and temperature were measured. Litter residual contamination after cleaning and disinfection was also evaluated. A dry bulb thermometer, a wet bulb thermometer, and a black bulb thermometer were placed inside each broiler house at bird height and outside the broiler house for data collection. Environmental data were collected at 3h intervals from 00:00 to 24:00 hours during weeks 4, 5, and 6 of the grow-out. Based on the collected data, air relative humidity (RH) was determined, after which wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) and Radiant Heat Load (RHL) were calculated. There were no differences in live performance parameters. However, total mortality and sudden death were higher in birds raised on dirt floor. On days 0, 14 and 35, litter pH was higher in the dirt floor as compared to the concrete floor, but at the end of the grow-out, this difference disappeared. There was a cubic effect of bird age on litter moisture, which increased up to day 28, and then stabilized or decreased. Litter coliform contamination was higher at the end of the grow-out as compared to that found at housing, but it was not influenced by floor type. The general thermal comfort of broiler raised on dirt floor was similar to that of broilers raised on concrete floor.

Coliforms; litter pH; litter temperature; live performance; thermal comfort

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