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Our core strength lies in our network of committed individuals promoting sustainable material conversion and production. Re-purposing organic waste into useful products..Earthcrew along with our international colleagues is vested in industrial ecology to convert plant, animal and ocean wastes into value-added products. We are suppliers of a wide variety of agricultural inputs both domestically and internationally, including custom blended fertilizers and animal feed additives.
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Wet litter, footpad dermatitis tied to reduced broiler performance
Commercial poultry farming places extremely high demands on hygiene of the coops, of the air in the coops and of the feed, as well as of waste and fecal matter. High animal densities increase the pathogen pressure as the immune response of stressed animals is weakened, with the result that more pathogens are excreted. The smaller the area in which the animals are kept, the more the microbial environment in the coop is dominated by microbes that live off the animal itself and its excretions.
Due to the loose housing of poultry, animals in coop systems inevitably live in constant contact with their excrement. The extremely nutrient-rich and humid feces create conditions for the multiplication of pathogenic microorganisms. Added to this, the miThe use of biochar as a litter amendment can significantly minimize the problems described both with regard to animal health, pad dermatitis and in environmental performance. Biochar has high water holding capacity and can absorb up to 5 times its own weight of water. Biochar adsorbs efficiently both organic molecules such as amino acids, fatty acids, proteins and urea and also mineral compounds such as ammonium, ammonia and nitrate. Used in litter, biochar locks in moisture and organic and inorganic nitrogen compounds. The nitrogen adsorption and the continuous drying of the litter deprive the microbial pathogens of their nutrient base and reduce toxic emissions of ammonia. After just a few days, a significant reduction in coop odor can be noticed.
With the lowering of the moisture content and ammonia contamination the risk of footpad diseases decreases. Biochar’s high adsorption capacity makes it possible to reduce the use of lime in the litter, thereby reducing the pH of the litter and manure, which in turn reduces ammonia emissions.
Turkeys and broilers frequently suffer from footpad inflammation, known as footpad dermatitis. The main causes of inflammation are high levels of ammonia (NH3) and overly damp litter.
Application of biochar should, depending on the type of litter, be mixed 5-10 vol % with the usual litter. The char is first moistened in order to prevent dust formation. When using straw pellets as litter, the char is best added at the pelleting stage. The above-mentioned effects of biochar for storing moisture and nutrients also mean that the poultry manure is better degraded microbiologically. If biochar is not used in the litter it can be added in a ratio of 10 percent volume when manure is removed. Microbial decomposition of the excrement leads to significant emissions of ammonia. The pungent-smelling gas is harmful to the animals because it irritates the mucous membranes, attacks the lungs, weakens the immune system and even accumulates in the blood. Besides the effect on animal welfare, animal performance also deteriorates.