Essay on Effects of Ammonia on Broiler Houses and Methods of Control

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Effects of Ammonia and Methods of Control
Ammonia can lead to big problems for broiler producers if not managed appropriately. Ammonia (NH3) is a form of nitrogen that has the potential to create odors, impact air and water quality, and animal and human health (1).
Ammonia is a colorless irritant gas, created from animal waste by microbial activity. By spending money to control the ammonia in houses they farmer has the potential to get that money back plus more in profit. Many farmers would tell you they have low levels of ammonia but the truth is we can’t smell the ammonia until it’s at 20PPM; however the human nose becomes accustomed to the smell. Ammonia levels of 50PPM in a broiler house can seriously stunt bird growth. With larger birds the loss can be half a pound per bird. Studies show that even levels as low as 25PPM can affect birds. Birds can become blind if exposed long enough to high levels of ammonia. Ammonia in the colder months when houses are closed up tight can cause runts in a flock. It is shown that high levels can create 10-15% runts. If runts are present what happens when drinkers and feeders are raised? The bird has no opportunity to mature and can’t be sent to the processing plant. Experiments have shown that 50 ppm ammonia will cause about a half-pound catch-time weight loss in a typical 7-week broiler growout. With 20,000 birds in the house and being paid at a rate of $0.045 per pound, this translates into $450 loss per house (6).

In addition to the negative impact of high NH3 levels in a poultry facility on birds, they cause health concerns for the caretakers in those facilities. High NH3 levels sometimes found in a poultry house have also become a cause of concern for the atmosphere outside the po...

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...ough the aluminum + Ca(OH)2 mix did reduce ammonia losses by 57% . A follow-up study investigated the use of aluminum, ferric chloride, ferrous sulfate, and phosphoric acid on broiler litter. Each of these treatments resulted in a decrease in ammonia loss, but again aluminum was judged the best option, as ferric chloride is not cost effective, ferrous sulfate displays toxicity, and phosphoric acid contributes to phosphorus problems associated with land application. McWard and Taylor found similar ammonia reduction results when testing both alum and sodium bisulfate (2).
Ammonia will always play a major role in the poultry industry. How well you manage it, will depend on how successful your birds will be. As stated above there are many harmful thing that come with high ammonia levels and it should be regularly checked and maintained with adequate compounds or litter.

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