Paper products as litter materials for broilers: performance, carcass defects, footpad lesions


Breast blisters
Footpad burns

How to Cite

Santiago, H. L., Aponte, K. H., Rodríguez, A. A., Orama, J. A., & Argüelles, M. (2006). Paper products as litter materials for broilers: performance, carcass defects, footpad lesions. The Journal of Agriculture of the University of Puerto Rico, 90(1-2), 1–8.


Recycled paper products were evaluated as litter material for broilers; parameters were growth performance, carcass quality, and footpad problems. One hundred sixty-eight broiler chicks were raised to market age (42 d) in an open-sided poultry house located at the Lajas Agricultural Experiment Station Small Animal Research Farm. Birds were assigned to 12 floor pens bedded with either rice hulls (RH) as control; a 50:50 mix of RH and shredded white paper (SWP); or a 50:50 mix of RH and shredded newspaper (SNP) according to a completely randomized design replicated four times. Traits measured were body weight, feed intake, feed conversion, carcass yield, breast blister score, footpad burn score, and mortality. Litter moisture percentage was assessed at 14, 28, and 42 d of age. Litter material had no influence on body weight, breast blister score, or bird mortality. However, birds raised on SWP had lower feed intake and higher body weight than those raised on RH and SNP. No significant differences in feed conversion were observed among treatments from 7 to 28 d of age. At 35 and 42 d, birds raised in SWP had significantly lower feed conversion than controls, whereas feed conversion of birds raised in SNP did not differ from that of the other treatments. No differences were found for carcass yield among treatments. At all sampling times, litter moisture percentage was significantly higher in SNP than in the control. No litter caking problems were observed in any of the treatments. Significant differences in footpad burn scores were observed among all treatments, with birds raised on SNP having higher scores (severer lesions), than those on SWP and RH.The results suggest that recycled paper products could be an excellent alternative bedding material for broilers. The use of SWP as litter appears to improve broiler performance and reduce the incidence of footpad problems.


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