Performance of Turkeys With Ecochar in Bedding
A trial was conducted utilizing Ecochar produced by our gasifier from a blend of chicken, turkey, and hog manure from the host farm. They began by completely cleaning out three identical barns, all with concrete floors. Fresh wood shavings were placed in all three barns, but one barn had 4,000 pounds of Ecochar blended into the bedding (approximately 5% by volume). These were finisher houses, and all three were populated with birds on the same day, from the same flock, in an attempt to minimize as many variables as possible. After ten days, inspections were made in each barn, and then every week thereafter. Ammonia levels were measured and recorded, as were observations by managers. A number of birds from each house were collected and weighed. The barns were identified as barns #2, 3, and 4, with barn #4 containing Ecochar.
There were several factors immediately obvious:
1) The barn with Ecochar had reduced ammonia levels as compared to the other barns.
2) Outside of the detection equipment, odors were observed in the other barns, especially barn #2.
3) The environment in the barns impacted the growth rate of the birds. In the first 15 days, there was a 7% increase in weight in barn #4 versus the other two barns. This leveled off between barn #4 and #3, with a consistent 2% increase over a total of two months. This is consistent with much of the research previously done, as the young birds seem to be impacted at a greater level than older birds.
4) Barn #2 consistently had more odors and a higher ammonia level. This seemed to further impact the growth rate. At the end of the two month period, there was a 14% weight difference between the birds from barn #2 and barn #4 (over 3 pounds per bird, with barn #4 birds averaging almost 27.5 pounds). There are many factors that could have created increased levels of ammonia, even as simple as small water leaks in the barn. Regardless, the ability to reduce the ammonia level is obviously a benefit to the turkeys.
5) The volume of mortalities was also monitored, but relevance of the data is questionable. For the first month, the mortalities in the barn with Ecochar was consistently lower – 12% in one barn and then 40% in the other. However, the birds became aggressive in barn #4 for about three weeks and the mortalities increased in that barn from injuries, rather than illness. There is no indication as to what caused the aggressive actions, other than some flocks tend to be more aggressive than others. The aggression subsided, but the numbers are still inconsistent.