Total loss and distribution of nitrogen and phosphorus in the outdoor run of organic laying hens

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Abstract

1. The objective of this study was to determine the level and variation of the total mass, and load of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) excreted into the outdoor run of organic egg production systems. 2. Three egg production farms with an aviary system and an outdoor run were selected for this study. Four measurements, one per season, were executed on each farm. 3. Mean content of N and P of a manure dropping was 14·0¿g N¿kg-1 and 3·12¿g P¿kg-1, mean mass of a dropping was 6·36¿g and mean dry matter content of a dropping was 238¿g¿kg-1. Mean rate of excretion in the outdoor run was 2·99 droppings per hen per h. Mean percentage of hens outside during the time the outdoor run could be accessed was lowest on Farm 1 (1·7%), highest on Farm 2 (16·0%), and intermediate on Farm 3 (7·1%). 4. On all farms an exponential decrease of the number of hens and of the load of N and P with increasing distance from the hen house was found. Load of N exceeded the fertilisation standard (of 170¿kg¿ha-1¿y-1) in the region at a 0 to 19¿m distance from the hen house on Farm 1, 0 to 146¿m on Farm 2 and 0 to 52¿m on Farm 3. 5. It is concluded that the husbandry system should be redesigned to solve the problem of overloading, unwanted loss of N and P to the environment and loss of N and P from the organic production cycle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-740
JournalBritish Poultry Science
Volume53
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • egg-production systems
  • range
  • productivity
  • welfare
  • layers
  • house
  • area

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