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Ammonia in Chicken Coops UKY

This is an extract from the article:

The most prevalent noxious gas in poultry housing is ammonia (NH3). Exposure to high concentrations of ammonia for extended periods has serious consequences on human and poultry respiratory health. Airborne ammonia is generated from the volatilization (vaporization) of decomposed uric acid in chicken manure. Microbial decomposition of uric acid to ammonia and carbon dioxide is a function of the litter moisture content, temperature, and pH, all of which influence the number and type of microorganisms (bacteria and fungi) present in the litter.

Poultry are adversely affected by high ammonia concentrations in a number of ways. Keratojunctivitis, an infection of the eyes, has been observed at concentrations of ammonia as low as 50 ppm. Ammonia blindness is seen five to seven days after the damage has been done. Long-term exposure to ammonia concentrations breaks down the broiler’s first defense against infection in the respiratory system. Ammonia-laden air destroys cilia in the trachea, which impairs mucus flow and thickens tissue around the alveoli. This damage makes broilers more susceptible to respiratory infections, such as Newcastle disease and air sacculitis. As previously indicated, ammonia concentrations ranging from 25 to 50 ppm over a 4-8 week period have been shown to reduce weight gains and feed efficiency.

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