A review by
North Carolina State University
Department of Poultry Science
and paid for by The Perlite Institute. Sheila E. Scheideler
“Poultry litter is an integral element in providing the proper environment for efficient poultry production. Litter functions as a medium for fecal decomposition, moisture absorption, and as insulation between the ground and live birds. Thus, it is important to maintain quality litter integrity during a flock growth period.
Past research has shown that optimal litter conditions will enhance bird weight gain and decrease processing condemnation rates.
Characteristics to look for in an optimal litter include: low moisture and pH, low ammonia production, and a high reuse potential. An ideal litter, regardless of age, should be firm in the hand, and not wet and sticky. The litter material should be light, absorbent, inexpensive, and compatible for use as a fertilizer or livestock feed when disposed of.”
It is economically important to maintain litter quality. Poor litter quality has been correlated with reduced growth, decreased feed conversions, increased respiratory disease, increased hock burns and breast buttons, and increased incidence of leg disease. Most of these harmful effects are due to one aggravating litter management problem—moisture accumulation.”
Thus began the first of several research projects funded by The Perlite Institute and conducted by Dr. Sheila E. Scheideler and the North Carolina State University’s Department of Poultry Science in 1989 and into the early 1990’s.
In the final analysis, the Perlite did very well. In further testing, it was tested as a feed additive, and this too well.