Egg Industry - June 2018 - 5
EggIndustry ❙ 5
Litter scrapers, like the top pivot one, can be used to
keep litter depth at no more than 1 inch to control
ammonia and dust in a cage-free layer house.
Courtesy of Jansen Equipment Company
in the house, which can affect bird and worker health.
Research has shown that optimal litter depth to
keep ammonia and dust at acceptable levels is 1 inch.
Even just another inch (2 inches total) of litter has been
shown to increase ammonia and dust by 25 percent.
Deeper litter also encourages birds to nest and lay eggs
on the floor, which increases food safety risks and labor costs required for manual egg collection.
Litter reduction and scraper systems
Litter reduction systems (floor scrapers) are an important design feature in aviary housing that have proven
successful in European layer operations over the past 10
years. Teus van Harskamp, product engineer at Jansen
Poultry Equipment, explained: "The scrapers have two
purposes - first to remove litter in order to minimize
ammonia and dust, and second, to reduce floor eggs."
The scraper systems are generally set up about 15
feet apart under the aviary system across the width of
the house. Cables run the length of the building and
have multiple scrapers attached, which are spaced a
bit less than the run length. A drive unit moves the
scrapers both forward and backward with a run up to
25 feet. The next scraper moves the accumulated litter
forward that was left by the previous scraper. Litter is
ultimately moved to a conveyor for removal.
Only small amounts of litter are actually removed
when the scrapers are run. As additional manure from
the birds dries and becomes part of the litter mixture,
usually there is not a need to replenish the litter. The
birds move litter back into areas cleaned by the scraper, helping distribute litter evenly across the house.
There are some design differences offered by equipment manufacturers. The scrapers have a pivot point attached to the cable, which allows the blade to be moved
both forward and backward. The pivot point may be designed at the top of the blade to minimize plugging. Other
designs have folding wings, which fold when moving in reverse. Some manufacturers offer varying widths of scrapers suggesting wider scrapers at the end of the cable line.
In order to discourage birds laying eggs on the
floor, some manufacturers recommend running the
scrapers back and forth during the early morning lay
period. Equipment manufacturer recommendations
vary on the frequency of running the scrapers for actual cleaning purposes. Based on experience with their
particular aviary design, some prefer cleaning small
amounts daily, while others may suggest only once
every four days when the manure belts run.
Adaptations required and potential challenges
As U.S. producers continue building aviary sys-
How poultry litter management improves
health, welfare: www.WATTAgNet.com/
Litter scrapers can be used to move excess litter to the end of the house where it is carried out of the
building on a manure belt. Courtesy of Jansen Poultry Equipment
June 2018 ❙ www.WATTAgNet.com