2001 Annual Report - Poultry [Skip to Content]

Illinois Livestock Trail
2001 Annual Report
by P.C. Harrison, K.W. Koelkebeck, G.L. Riskowski

1. Project: NE 127

2. Cooperating Agencies and Personnel

Animal Sciences

P.C. Harrison - Project Leader

K.W. Koelkebeck - Project Co-Leader

Agricultural Engineering

G.L. Riskowski - Project Leader

3. Progress of Work and Principle Accomplishments

Studies have been initiated and completed in the following areas:

A. Deflector wall effects on fan performance

B. Effect of heat stress on the available phosphorus requirement of laying hens

C. Influence of concentration of a topically applied manure ammonia inhibitor solution (Al+Clear®) on Mass Ammonia Generation Rate


3.1 Deflector Wall Effects on Fan Performance (Report by G.L. Riskowski)


Deflector walls have recently been installed downwind of tunnel ventilated livestock buildings in an effort to lessen odor concerns of downwind neighbors. The concept is to divert the odor and dust laden air upward, thus mixing with the wind passing over the building. In situations where a lagoon is closely located downwind of the exhaust fans, air velocities at the lagoon surface could be lower and in turn odor emissions may be reduced as well. Bottcher et al. (2000) suggested that windbreaks be placed two to four fan diameters downstream of the exhaust fans to deflect the airflow without excessive back pressures on the fans.

Test Objective

To measure the effect deflector walls have on fan performance when placed at several positions downstream.


Tests were performed at the BESS Laboratory in the Agricultural Engineering Department at the University of Illinois using an airflow measurement chamber. This chamber was designed according to AMCA 210-99/ASHRAE Standard 51-1999.

A 2.9 m tall, moveable deflector wall (Figure 1) was attached to this chamber for the tests. The wall was constructed of 11 mm (7/16 in.) oriented strand board on a wood frame.

Voltage, current, and electrical power supplied to the test fans was measured with a Valhalla Scientific Model 2101 power analyzer.

Six propeller fans, ranging in size from 0.46 m (18 in.) to 1.40 m (55 in.) diameter, were tested. All fans included gravity operated shutters and wire safety guards. The housing configuration varied among the fans tested.

Experimental procedure

The performance parameters evaluated were airflow and ventilating efficiency ratio (VER). The VER is calculated by dividing the airflow by the measured electrical power (m3/hr/W or cfm/W). Each fan was initially tested without the deflector wall in place at static pressures ranging from 0 to 62 Pa (0 to 0.25 inch of water). The fan was then tested with the wall positioned at 5 different locations: D=1.52 m (5 ft), 1.83 m (6 ft), 2.44 m (8 ft), 3.05 m (10 ft) and 3.66 m (12 ft).


Refer to Tables 1, 2, and 3 for results for the various sizes of fans.

  • 36", 48", 50" and 55" fan performance: A wall position of approximately 2 x fan diameters downstream reduced airflow and efficiency approximately 10% as compared to the fan without the deflector wall.
  • The smaller fans were less affected by the deflector wall.
  • 18", 24"(2) and 36" fan performance: A wall position of approximately 3 x fan diameters downstream had a negligible affect on airflow and efficiency as compared to the fan without the deflector wall.

3.2 Effect of Heat Stress on the Available Phosphorus Requirement of Laying Hens (Report by K.W. Koelkebeck)


Recent research has shown that the minimal dietary available phosphorus (AP) levels needed to support maximum egg production are only .16-.20%, which are much lower than the levels of .40-.45% that have typically been fed commercially in the past. Consequently, many laying hen producers are now starting to feed much lower levels of AP than they fed previously. However, there is concern that these low levels of AP may not be adequate for hens during hot weather or exposed to heat stress conditions. A small amount of research conducted 30 years ago at North Carolina State University indicated that extreme heat stress (105-107 F) resulted in an increase in the P requirement of chicks. No previous work has been published on laying hens. Thus, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the AP needs of laying hens that are subjected to heat stress compared to non heat-stressed hens, and determine what the AP needs are of birds that are heat stressed.

Materials and Methods

Two dietary AP level treatments were evaluated in the first experiment. Two groups of laying hens (50 wk of age) were kept at the University of Illinois Poultry Research farm in 12" x 18" cages with 3 hens per cage under a normal environmental temperature (21 C) and were fed a corn-soybean meal diet containing either .10 or .45% AP diet for 6 weeks. Previous research from our lab has shown that the .10% AP diet is deficient in P but that it takes 8-10 weeks for young hens to become P deficient and for egg production to start to decrease. Thus, the purpose of this pretest feeding period was to make the hens more susceptible to an AP X heat stress interaction if any such interaction actually exists. The .45% AP diet is a positive control diet and totally adequate in AP. At the end of the 6-week pretest period, the hens were moved into two environmental chambers at the Environmental Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois. The hens were exposed to a constant temperature of 21 C for a 7-day adjustment period. At the end of the adjustment period, the hens in one chamber were exposed to a daily cycling temperature of 35 C for 12 h and 25 C for 12 h for 2 weeks. All hens in the other environmental chamber room were kept at 21 C for the two weeks. One-half of the hens in each room (8 cages with 4 hens per 18" x 18" cage) were fed a .16 or .45% AP diet. The hens that were fed the .10% AP diet prior to entering the chambers were fed a higher AP diet (.16) because performance had dropped considerably while being fed the .10% AP diet. General health (observation) and egg production performance was measured. Five hens from each treatment were euthanized by CO2 gas at the end of the experiment and the tibia bone from each leg was removed, autoclaved, cleaned and measured for bone ash to evaluate bone problems. A constant 17-h daily photoperiod was maintained throughout the experiment. Feed and water was provided ad libitum throughout the experiment for the heat stress birds, while those exposed to TN temperature were limit fed the same amount as the heat stress birds following the 1-wk pretest period. In the second experiment, hens at 60 wk of age were fed a .10 or .45% AP diet prior to being moved to the environmental chambers for three weeks, then the hens that were fed the .10% AP diet remained on that diet after entering the chambers. In addition, the hens that were heat stressed were subjected to a daily cycling temperature of 35 C for 16 h and 29 C for 8 h.

Results and Discussion

The results for Experiment 1 are depicted in Table 4. These results show that feed intake and hen-day egg production was depressed by feeding a low AP level diet (.16%) vs feeding a normal AP diet (.45%). Feed intake and hen-day egg production was not adversely affected by cyclic heat stress. Therefore, there was no interaction between AP level and heat stress on feed intake and egg production.

In Experiment 2, similar results occurred. The feeding of a low AP level diet (.10%) produced a more dramatic drop in production and feed intake compared to a .45% AP level diet than in Experiment 1 (Table 5). Again, there was no interaction between AP level and cyclic heat stress.


The results of this study indicate that AP level has a greater impact on laying hen performance than cyclic heat stress. Furthermore, these data suggest that there is no significant interaction effects of AP level with cyclic heat stress as noted in this study.

3.3 Influence of Concentration of a Topically Applied Manure Ammonia Inhibitor Solution (Al+Clear®) on Mass Ammonia Generation Rate. (Report by P.C. Harrison and K.W. Koelkebeck)

During the past three years we have developed a system that can be used to evaluate mass generation and utilization of gasses. We have tested various treatments that could influence ammonia generation by laying hen manure. One of the most effective treatments that we have evaluated was a sprayed solution of an alum-based substance that is generally applied in a dry form.

General Procedure

This experiment was conducted to determine if application of an Aluminum Sulfate (standard liquid [48% Al2(SO4)3?14 H2O]) based commercial product (Al+Clear®) to laying hen manure would influence ammonia generation rate proportional to the concentration at which it was applied. Last year we reported that liquid application of Al+Clear® at the rate of .033 pounds per square foot was effective in reducing mass ammonia generation rate; however, the liquid we applied was made from a dry product (5 lb./gallon) and there was only one volume and concentration reported in that study.

In order to evaluate the relationship between concentration of Al+Clear® and ammonia generation rate the following daily manure treatments were used: 1) Water - manure was sprayed daily with 40 ml of deionized-distilled water; 2) Reduced - manure was sprayed daily with 40 ml of Aluminum Sulfate Standard liquid diluted 50 percent, by volume, with deionized-distilled water; 3) Standard - manure was sprayed daily with 40 ml of Aluminum Sulfate standard liquid. Regardless of Al+Clear® concentration all treatments were sprayed daily with 40 ml of deionized-distilled water or Al+Clear® aqueous solution, over the approximately 1.6 ft2 manure collection area (Figures 2 and 3).

The manure collection area utilized 81 hens housed in a commercial type laying hen facility at the University of Illinois Poultry Research farm. Three SCWL birds were housed per 12"x 18" raised wire cage. The hens were fed a standard laying hen diet and had just come out of a molt. They were exposed to a 13, 13.15, and 13.30 h photoperiod at the initiation of manure collection, and on Day 7 and 14, respectively. The environmental temperature inside the laying hen facility ranged from 21 to 29 C ( = 24.7 C) during the day and from 17 to 22 C ( = 19 C) during the night. Relative humidity ranged from 41 to 73% ( = 50.4%) during the day and from 50 to 83% ( = 66.3%) during the night. The treatments were randomly blocked over three replications of nine hens per each treatment. Manure was collected into side-by-side tubs (5"Hx 7"Wx 11"L) that were on stainless steel trays (18" x 36") supported beneath each cage. Three collection tubs were sprayed daily for each treatment and replication. Spraying of replications was initiated on successive days so that each treatment evaluation was on the same day following the initial treatment application day.

Mass ammonia generation rate was determined on Day 1, Day 7, and Day 14 following the start of treatment. On generation rate days the collection tubs were sprayed with their respective solutions then transported to the emissions calorimeters (EC), that are located in the Environmental Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois (Figure 4). Ammonia emission from all replications of all treatments were determined for a one hour period in each of the three EC over approximately six hours of each emissions evaluation day. During the ammonia generation evaluation day, feces was collected into separate tubs (clean) and then dumped into the respective treatment collection tub when returned to the poultry farm, at the end of that day.

In addition to accumulated manure mass and ammonia generation from that mass/surface area, samples were taken on each generation determination day for other analysis. Separate samples of manure were obtained for moisture and pH determination. For moisture determination, approximately 10 g of manure was obtained from each of the three treatment replicate samples, weighed, then placed into a 70 C oven and weighed daily until weight no longer changed. Approximately 1.5 g was diluted with deionized-distilled water for pH measurements. Beginning on Day 7, 150 g of each treatment replication was frozen for total nitrogen, nitrate, and total and soluble phosphate determinations.

Results and Discussion

Daily spray of Standard treatment and Reduced treatment with Al+Clear® solution reduced ammonia generation rate throughout the entire experiment (Table 6 and Figure 5). An interesting relationship between manure mass and manure surface area appears to influence the linearity of mass generation-release of ammonia gas (Table 6). This relationship should be further investigated in order to develop appropriate manure holding facilities.

There was a noticeable difference in visual appearance of the Standard treated manure when compared to the Water and Reduced treatments. The Standard treatment appeared lighter in color and was less porous on the surface. Other measurable physical differences (mass, moisture and pH) are shown in Table 7.

Another interesting observation was in increase in ammonia generation rate that occurred during each evaluation day. This increase occurred in all treatments; however, the increase was less in the Standard treatment than in the other two treatments (Figure 6).

4. Usefulness of Findings

Deflector walls may be installed downstream of ventilation fans to reduce concentrations of odor, but little information is available on the effects of these deflector walls on fan performance. There was no significant reduction of fan performance if the wall was located at least 4x fan diameter downstream. Among the fans tested, airflow was reduced 10 to 17% when the wall was located 2x or less fan diameter downstream. Fan ventilating efficiency was affected slightly more than airflow performance. Another research project that involved dietary available phosphorus (AP) relationships during exposure to hot environmental temperatures demonstrated that diets deficient in AP had a much greater affect on production of laying hens than the heat stress conditions to which the hens were subjected. Spray applications of 24 and 48% standard liquid aluminum sulfate to the surface of laying hen manure reduced mass generation rate of ammonia. Manure pH and moisture were also influenced by the aluminum sulfate application. Manure mass and surface area influenced the linearity of ammonia gas released to the environment. The methods used to spray manure including the frequency-concentration relationship should be further investigated.

5. Worked Planned for Next Year

Ammonia generation rate from poultry manure treated with varying frequency rates and different feed additive products that influence ammonia release and production in hen manure will be evaluated.

6. Publications

Koelkebeck, K.W., P.C. Harrison, and G.L. Riskowski, 2001. Effect of a feed additive or manure treatment application on the mass generation rate of ammonia produced from laying hen manure. Poultry Sci. 80:(Suppl. 1):89.

Miller, G.Y., M.J. Robert, R.G. Maghirang, G.L. Riskowski, A.J. Heber and K.R. Cadwallader, 2001. Characterization of odor and gas emitting potential from mechanically ventilated deep and shallow pit swine finishing buildings in Illinois. Proc. 6th International Livestock Environment Symposium: 664-670. St. Joseph, MI: ASAE. (Louisville, KY May 2001).

Wang, X., Y. Zhang, L.Y. Zhao, and G.L. Riskowski, 2000. Effect of ventilation rate on dust spatial distribution in a mechanically ventialated airspace. Trans. Of the ASAE 43(6):1877-1884.

Wang, X., Y. Zhang, L.Y. Zhao and G.L. Riskowski, 2001. Effect of air outlet location on dust spatial distribution and ventilation effectiveness in a full-scale experimental room. Proc. 6th International Livestock Environment Symposium: 587-595. St. Joseph, MI:ASAE. (Louisville, KY May 2001).

Zhang, Y., X. Wang, G.L. Riskowski, and L.L. Christianson. A method to quantify ventilation effectiveness for air quality control. ASAE Air Pollution from Agricultural Operations Conference. (Des Moines, IA Oct. 2000).

Zhang, Y., J.A. Polakow, X. Wang, G.L. Riskowski, Y. Sun, and S.E. Ford, 2001. An aerodynamic deduster to reduce dust and gas emissions from ventilated livestock facilities: Proc. 6th International Livestock Environment Symposium: 596-603. St. Joseph, MI: ASAE. (Louisville, KY May 2001).

Zhao,L.Y., Y. Zhang, G.L. Riskowski, and L.L. Christianson, 2000. A study of jet momentum effects on airflow in ventilated airspaces using PIV technologies. ASAE Paper 00-4117. St. Joseph, MI.

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