Poultry Litter Treatment


Purpose/Function:

Treating poultry litter with alum will improve poultry production by decreasing ammonia emissions and will protect water quality by reducing phosphorus runoff. Controlling ammonia also makes the poultry house a safer working environment for the grower. Benefits of using alum include:

  • Reduced ammonia levels in the house (makes it safer for both farm workers and the birds).
  • Reduced pathogen levels in litter and on birds (improving bird health and food safety).
  • Improved bird performance (due to less ammonia and fewer pathogens).
  • Reduced propane use (less ventilation required in cooler months).
  • Higher forage yields (due to increased nitrogen content of the litter).
  • Reduced phosphorus runoff (binds phosphorus in manure to reduce pollution).

Initiation protocol:

Dry alum can be incorporated into the litter between flocks while liquid alum is normally only applied by a certified professional applicator.

Public acceptance:

N/A

Implementation Factors (level of difficulty):

Moderate.

Funding Sources / Options:

Cost sharing for alum is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) in some states. Check with your county NRCS representative to see if this is available.

Costs:

Cost Estimates EPA MDA Average
Initial $- $- $-
Annual $49 $5
Lifespan (yrs) 1 1 1
Annualized $49 $5

Operation & Maintenance:

This is used on an as needed bases so see manufacturers recommendation and NRCS guidelines.

Climate Change Considerations:

N/A

Technical Notes:

Alum should be applied at rates of 1 to 2 tons/house/flock. Growers should wear gloves, goggles and a dust mask when applying alum.

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