Chopped Bermuda grass hay as an alternative bedding material for rearing market turkey hens
Abstract (Summary)SMITH, JODY CEPHUS, Chopped Bermuda Grass Hay as an Alternative Bedding Material for Rearing Market Turkey Hens (Under the direction of Dr. C. Mike Williams and Dr. Jesse L. Grimes) Shortages of pine shavings used as bedding materials in the poultry industry are presenting economic challenges to poultry producers. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to determine if chopped Bermuda grass hay can be an alternative bedding material and to determine the effect of a microbiological agent, Microtreat P® (MP) on litter quality and bird performance. The microbiological agent used (Microtreat P®, AgTech Products, Inc., Waukesha, WI 53186) is a biological waste treatment product containing specifically selected bacteria. Experiments were conducted to determine the effect of chopped Bermuda grass hay and MP on turkey hens from 0 to 13 weeks of age. Turkey hens were housed in a curtain-sided house with 4 rows of 12 pens per row for a total of 48 pens. Six litter treatments were: 1) control-new pine shavings (P), 2) 50/50 pine shavings/hay (50), 3) 100% hay (H), 4) pine shavings treated with MP (PMP), 5) 50/50 treated with MP (50MP) and, 6) hay treated with MP (HMP). Feed and water were available ad libitum throughout the trial. The birds were fed 6 diets, each of which met NRC requirements. The following parameters were measured for bird performance: body weight, feed consumption, breast blister score, and foot pad blister score. Litter quality parameters measured include: litter nutrient analysis, litter caking score, litter pH, moisture content, ammonia, water activity, total bacteria, molds, total gram negative bacteria, coliforms, and E. coli. The results showed that neither body weight nor feed conversion was affected by the use of chopped Bermuda grass hay. Additionally, treatments did not affect pH, breast blister, foot pad blister, litter caking, moisture content or water activity. Microbiological treatment did not significantly affect the litter condition, except for total gram negative bacteria for MP at wk 6 which was significantly lower than non-MP pens. In conclusion, this study has shown that Bermuda grass hay maybe suitable as a litter material for turkey hens. Further studies are needed to evaluate the use of biological litter amendments used on alternative litter types.
School Location:USA - North Carolina
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:north carolina state university
Date of Publication: