Litter amendment refers to the treatment of the poultry litter with chemical, herbal or biological remedies to reduce ammonia emissions, microbial contamination and insect infestations on farms. The poultry litter is an excellent source of nitrogen rich nutrition for plants, thus many farmers sell the same as manure for significant revenue. The treatment of such manure is necessary owing to the high level of bacterial and fungal contamination’s coming from the poultry gut.
As amino acids and undigested nutrients form a big chunk of excreta of broilers or layers, this medium is enriched further for aerobic and anaerobic growth. The urea and uric acid deposited on the litter is converted into ammonia by a number of bacteria and fungi. This conversion is not only deleterious for the environment as pollutants, but also is harmful for the birds as the gas predisposes them to a respiratory etiology. As the nitrogen depletes from the litter and leaches into the environment it reduces the quality of poultry litter to be used as manure. Use of litter amendment systems with antimicrobial properties which is also safe for application with the birds present on the litter is essential.
These natural or chemical substances should be also targeting the urease and uricase positive bacteria and thus also reduce nitrogen depletion from litter as well as concurrently also affecting the ammonia formation in the poultry house. In the advent of complete environmentally controlled houses another important reason to use litter amendment systems is to reduce the litter moisture and thus also help control the humidity in the house. The dessicatory effects of such products also help in cooling the house more efficiently and curb ammonia emissions from the litter. As more concentration of good air exchange occurs between the house and the environment, the effect of ammonia on the environment can be curbed. A complete litter amendment system should possess all these qualities combined with the ease of application and preferably being a solution of natural origin for easy bio-degradation.