Litter production and nutrients from commercial broiler chickens

P. H. Patterson, E. S. Lorenz, W. D. Weaver, J. H. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


An accurate accounting of litter production and nutrient concentration of modern commercial broilers is essential for developing sound nutrient management plans. Field studies with two integrated broiler companies in Pennsylvania examined the nutrients from heavy broiler flocks grown for further processing to 57 days and 5.90 lb (2.68 kg), and medium-weight birds grown to 44 days and 4.43 lb (2.01 kg). Sample analysis indicated that, compared to published literature values, litter has a higher concentration of total-N and similar level of P2O5 and K2O. Feed consumption (8.42 and 12.47 lb/bird, or 3.82 and 5.66 kg/bird) and litter production (0.71 and 1.23 dry tons/1000 birds, or 644 and 1116 kg/1000 birds) are consistent with findings of others for medium and heavy broilers. Nutrient balance calculations considering the feed as the source of all nutrients indicated that approximately 18% of feed N is lost to the atmosphere as ammonia-N, 30 to 31% is with the litter, and the remaining 51% remains with the carcass. Approximately 35% and 21% of dietary P and K, respectively, are found in the broiler carcass during commercial grow-out (6 to 8 wk). These results are a benchmark of current litter production and nutrient status, but they can be modified by dietary and management strategies to reduce nutrient excretions. Furthermore, regional broiler production differences and individual company management and feeding practices will undoubtedly also influence the results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-252
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Poultry Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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