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Gateway to poultry production and products

Waste management

Advances in technology and growing demand favour the intensification of poultry production in many countries. However, in some countries traditions and economic aspects continue to promote small family poultry systems. To avoid conflict and ensure the sustainability and potential growth of all poultry production systems, fundamental knowledge of the environmental and health issues associated with poultry waste management will serve both small and large poultry producers now and in the future.

The by-products of poultry production are of value if managed and recycled properly, regardless of flock size. However, if not managed or recycled properly, they also represent elements, compounds, vectors for insects and vermin, and pathogenic microorganisms, which are of concern. The management of poultry by-products focuses on soil, water and air quality issues. Concerns include the degradation of surface and groundwater owing to poultry waste nutrients and pathogenic microorganisms. Air quality issues include emissions of ammonia, hydrogen sulphide, volatile organic compounds and dust. Greenhouse gas emissions and health effects associated with nuisance odorants are also issues in the context of global climate change and increasing human population near poultry operations.

The planning, construction and operation of poultry installations of any size should consider the issues involved in storing, managing and utilizing waste by-products. On a global scale, much research has been conducted to identify ways of recovering value-added products from animal wastes to mitigate environmental impacts. Many systems and approaches, including land application as fertilizer, recycling as animal feed components, and recovery for fuel energy, are available and can be successful if properly operated and managed.

Did you know?

  • Poultry manure has a high crop nutrient content, is relatively easy to manage and is widely used as fertilizer.
  • On average, layers emit fewer greenhouse gases (GHGs) than broilers or backyard systems when measured in terms of kg of protein.
  • Chickens are estimated to emit 0.6 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent, representing 8 percent of the livestock sector’s total emissions.