Air Quality in Alternative Housing Systems may have an Impact on Laying Hen Welfare. Part II—Ammonia
AbstractThe EU ban on conventional barren cages for laying hens from 2012 has improved many aspects of laying hen welfare. The new housing systems allow for the expression of highly-motivated behaviors. However, the systems available for intensive large-scale egg production (e.g., aviaries, floor housing systems, furnished cages) may cause other welfare challenges. We have reviewed the literature regarding the health, behavior, production characteristics, and welfare of laying hens when exposed to ammonia in their housing environment. Concentrations of ammonia gas are commonly high in aviaries and floor housing systems in which manure is not regularly removed, whereas they are usually lower in furnished cages. High levels are found during the cold season when ventilation flow is often reduced. Ammonia is a pungent gas, and behavioral studies indicate chickens are averse to the gas. High concentrations of gaseous ammonia can have adverse health effects and, when very high, even influence production performance. The most profound effects seen are the occurrence of lesions in the respiratory tract and keratoconjunctivitis. There is also evidence that high ammonia concentrations predispose poultry to respiratory disease and secondary infections. We conclude that there are animal welfare challenges related to high ammonia levels, and that immediate actions are needed. Development of improved systems and management routines for manure removal and ventilation will be important for the reduction of ammonia levels and hence will contribute to safeguarding hen welfare. View Full-Text
Share & Cite This Article
David, B.; Mejdell, C.; Michel, V.; Lund, V.; Moe, R.O. Air Quality in Alternative Housing Systems may have an Impact on Laying Hen Welfare. Part II—Ammonia. Animals 2015, 5, 886-896.
David B, Mejdell C, Michel V, Lund V, Moe RO. Air Quality in Alternative Housing Systems may have an Impact on Laying Hen Welfare. Part II—Ammonia. Animals. 2015; 5(3):886-896.Chicago/Turabian Style
David, Bruce; Mejdell, Cecilie; Michel, Virginie; Lund, Vonne; Moe, Randi O. 2015. "Air Quality in Alternative Housing Systems may have an Impact on Laying Hen Welfare. Part II—Ammonia." Animals 5, no. 3: 886-896.