Influence of sepiolite additions to different litter materials on performance and some welfare parameters of broilers and litter characteristics

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Abstract

The litter quality is an important factor affecting the performance, welfare and carcass quality of the broilers. Depending on the progress of the fattening duration, some materials may be added to the litter in order to keep the pH, moisture and ammonia levels in the litter under control. Sepiolite is a natural material and it has strong absorbing ability to the water. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the effects of sepiolite additions to different litter materials on performance and some welfare parameters of broilers and litter characteristics. A total of 288 1-d-old male broiler chicks (ROSS-308) were used. Birds were randomly allocated to 2 litters (wood shavings and rice hull) and 3 sepiolite groups (0, 25, 50%) with 6 replication, and each pen contains 8 chicks. Fattening performance, IgG, tonic immobility period, feather score, skin injures, breast burns, and footpad burns of broilers were not affected significantly by sepiolite additions to the litter. However, sepiolite addition to the litter can improve litter quality. There was no significant difference between 2 litter materials because both have same color. There were no significant interactions in examined parameters. In conclusion, addition of sepiolite at 25 and 50% levels to litter materials may be used as a litter material in the broiler production without adverse welfare and performance problem.

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