Egg Industry - April 2018 - 6
6 ❙ EggIndustry
Tackling cage-free layer
housing air quality challenges
Giving laying hens
access to a litter area for
and foraging helps
behavior, but it can result
in dust and ammonia
Aviary housing systems offer layers access
to litter to express natural behaviors, such
as scratching, foraging and dust bathing.
However, air quality in cage-free systems
Shown is an infrared photo of hens in the litter area prior to it
may be compromised as dust (particulate
being sprayed with electrolyzed water. Blue is the coolest color,
matter) and ammonia increase as manure and followed by green, yellow, orange and red, which is the hottest.
litter accumulate on the floor.
Egg Industry Center, Iowa State University
Dust, which can serve as a carrier of microorganisms and endotoxins, is a significant health risk
ing ionization with electrical charges using metal wires
for farm workers and the birds as fine particulate matter
on the ceiling. Other studies have focused on spraying
can enter into the respiratory system. Ammonia, likelitter with treatments including tap water; acidic water;
wise, can cause respiratory tract irritation or damage.
soybean, canola or rapeseed oil; and combinations of
water and oil.
Dust control in cage-free houses
Research at Iowa State University led by Drs.
Recent studies have shown that cage-free housing
Hongwei Xin (project principal investigator, distinresults in six to nine times higher dust in the house
guished professor and director of the Egg Industry
environment than cage systems with manure belts.
Center) and Lilong Chai (co-principal investigator and
Researchers in Europe and the U.S. have explored
post-doctoral research associate) is now focusing on
many potential approaches to controlling dust includa control measure utilizing electrolyzed water supplemented with litter additives as needed.
Supported by promising results from laboratory
Read more about how to mitigate dust
the research has now moved to a commercial
and ammonia in cage-free houses:
layer farm using an aviary production system in Iowa.
Electrolyzed water has been used in the food processing
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ April 2018