The current situation in poultry farming: Due to the close and often crowded conditions poultry farming, animals in co-op systems inevitably live in constant contact with their excrement. The extremely nutrient-rich and humid faeces (US: feces) create ideal conditions for the multiplication of pathogenic microorganisms [a fancy way of saying “BACTERIA” or “VIRUS”]. Added to this, the microbial decomposition of the excrement leads to significant emissions of ammonia. The pungent-smelling gas is harmful to the animals because it irritates the mucous membranes, attacks the lungs, weakens the immune system and even accumulates in the blood.
USING BIOCHAR IN THE “LITTER”
Used in litter, biochar locks in moisture and organic and inorganic nitrogen compounds. The nitrogen adsorption and the continuous drying of the litter deprive the microbial pathogens of their nutrient base and reduce toxic emissions of ammonia. After just a few days, a significant reduction in coop odor is evident.
With the lowering of the moisture content and ammonia contamination the risk of foot pad diseases decreases. Existing infections begin to heal. Animals’ resistance increases, with a positive effect on their vitality, egg production and final body weight.
Biochar’s high adsorption capacity makes it possible to reduce the use of lime in the litter, thereby reducing the pH of the litter and manure, which in turn reduces ammonia emissions.
USING BIOCHAR IN THE FEED:
In addition to its use as a litter additive, biochar, and in particular biochar bokashi, can be used as a feed supplement. Biochar promotes digestion, improves feed efficiency, and energy absorption via the feed. Toxins bound by the biochar, obviating any adverse effects on the digestive system and intestinal flora. The health, activity and balance of the animals will also be improved, as will meat and egg production. With animals’ immune systems stabilized, the risk of infection from pathogenic micro-organisms decreases.
According to studies by Van (2006), the addition of up to 0.6% biochar in the feed improves growth in young animals by an average of 17%.
The same results were found in livestock farming: The use of biochar in livestock farming offers solutions to the increasingly complex problems of modern-day farming, the result of a combination of profit maximization and disrespect for the physiological needs of the animals. The adsorption qualities of biochar permit a wide range of toxic substances to be bound in the gastrointestinal tract.