Interventions to reduce the bacterial load in recycled broiler litter
Two experiments were undertaken to evaluate the bacterial load in recycled litter between broiler flocks following addition of quicklime (T1), windrowing (T2), shallow fermentation (T3), and control (no intervention, T4). The first experiment was developed in field conditions in which the broiler houses were accompanied by 6 consecutive flocks and the effect of the treatments was assessed on enterobacteria and aerobic mesophiles. The second experiment was conducted in an experimental broiler house with recycled litter for assessment of Salmonella Enteritidis phage type 4 (SE PT4). In the field study, T3 presented the best results in reducing enterobacteria in broiler litter in relation to the other treatments, with the highest reduction occurring in the first 3 flocks, tending to stabilization from the fourth flock onward for all the treatments assessed. From the third to sixth flocks, enterobacteria level at the end of the treatments (d 12) was lower than the average in the fresh litter, except in T4. All treatments reduced aerobic mesophiles throughout the flocks, where T2 showed the highest reduction. The percentage of dry matter in the broiler litter diminished in T4 and increased in T3 over the course of the flocks. In the second experiment, the drop in the SE PT4 level in the broiler litter first occurred in T2 and T3. However, all the treatments except for T4 eliminated SE PT4 within 12 d. The temperature of the broiler litter in T2 was higher in relation to the other treatments. The results show that litter treatment prior to reutilization by the successive broiler flock is required to reduce the level of residual bacteria. The fermentative treatments (T2 and T3) were found to be superior to the others in terms of reducing the bacterial load, with shallow fermentation standing out with the highest reduction of enterobacteria and equivalent SE PT4 elimination when compared to windrowing.