Abatement of particulate matter emission from experimental aviary housings for laying hens by spraying rapeseed oil

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In alternative systems for laying hens, concentrations and emission rates of particulate matter (PM) give reason for concern with regard to working conditions, bird health and productivity, and health of residents living near farms. Previously, we found that spraying a film of rapeseed oil onto the litter of broilers could substantially reduce PM concentrations and emissions. The objective of this study was to establish dose-response effects of oil spraying in aviaries on concentrations and emission rates of PM with aerodynamic diameters less than 10 μm (PM10) and 2.5 μm (PM2.5), on stockmen's exposure to PM10, on egg production, exterior quality and behavior of the hens, and on the litter. An experiment was carried out with 4 treatments: 0 (control), 15, 30, and 45 mL/m2 per d (oil treatments). Each treatment was applied in 2 rooms with different aviary systems (8 rooms in total). The experiment was repeated during a second period, both lasting 35 days. From d 11 to d 35, oil was applied daily using a spraying gun. Applying 15, 30, or 45 mL/m2 per d significantly reduced emission rates of PM10 by 27, 62, and 82%, and emission rates of PM2.5 by 71, 83, and 94%, respectively. No significant effects of oil spraying were found on mortality, egg production, dust bathing behavior, scratching behavior, plumage soiling, DM content of the litter, or friability of the litter. A significant worsening of the plumage condition was found only for the body spot back/wings/tail (not for: throat/neck, chest/breast, or legs) in the 45 mL/m2 per d treatment. Egg quality shifted significantly towards more second-class eggs in the oil treatments (1.9% versus 1.4%; P = 0.004). Remarkably, foot soiling decreased with increasing oil application. In conclusion, PM concentrations and emission rates in aviaries can be effectively reduced by spraying 15 to 30 mL/m2 per d with minor side effects within a 25 d application period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2836-2848
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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