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The effect of quicklime (CaO) on litter condition and broiler performance.

  • Ruiz, V
  • Ruiz, D
  • Gernat, A G
  • Grimes, J L
  • Murillo, J G
  • Wineland, M J
  • Anderson, K E
  • Maguire, R O
Published Article
Poultry science
Publication Date
May 01, 2008
DOI: 10.3382/ps.2007-00101
PMID: 18420971


High levels of phosphorus and pathogens in runoff are 2 major concerns following manure applications to fields. Phosphorus losses from fields following manure applications have been linked to the solubility of phosphorus in manure; therefore, by decreasing manure phosphorus solubility, a decrease in phosphorus loss in runoff should be apparent. The objective of this research was to develop a process using quicklime that would result in reduced phosphorus solubility and bacteria counts in broiler litter. The 4 litter treatments evaluated were T1, new wood shavings without the addition of quicklime; T2, used, untreated broiler litter; T3, used litter with 10% quicklime (based on the weight of the litter); and T4, used litter with 15% quicklime (based on the weight of the litter). Body weight, cumulative feed consumption, and feed conversion (feed:BW) were determined on a weekly basis through 42 d of age. Mortality was recorded daily. Carcass weights and percentages of carcass yield without giblets were determined prechill. Litter pH, total phosphorus, nitrogen, soluble phosphorus, litter moisture (%), and total plate counts were measured for each litter treatment on d 7 and 42 after bird placement. No significant differences were found for BW, feed consumption, feed conversion, mortality, carcass weight, or carcass yield. No breast or footpad blisters were observed. On d 7, 15% quicklime had higher (P < 0.001) pH (11.2) when compared with the other treatments. Percentages of phosphorus and nitrogen were lower (P < 0.001) for new wood shavings in comparison with the used litter treatments. Soluble phosphorus (ppm) was lower (P < 0.001) for 15% quicklime (2.75) when compared with new wood shavings (42.2), untreated broiler litter (439.2), and 10% quicklime (35.0). Although not significant, 15% quicklime had lower total plate counts (cfu/g) in comparison with the other treatments on d 1 and 10 postmixing and at 7 d after bird placement. Litter conditions on d 42 after bird placement were similar. We concluded that the use of quicklime as a treatment for broiler litter would initially reduce nitrogen and soluble phosphorus and bacteria counts without negatively affecting bird productivity.

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