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The Effect of a Natural Zeolite (Clinoptilolite) on the Performance of Broiler Chickens and the Quality of Their Litter

  • Karamanlis, X. (Department of Animal Production, Ichthyology, Ecology and Protection of Environment, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) ;
  • Fortomaris, P. (Department of Animal Production, Ichthyology, Ecology and Protection of Environment, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) ;
  • Arsenos, G. (Department of Animal Production, Ichthyology, Ecology and Protection of Environment, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) ;
  • Dosis, I. (Department of Animal Production, Ichthyology, Ecology and Protection of Environment, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) ;
  • Papaioannou, D. (Department of Animal Production, Ichthyology, Ecology and Protection of Environment, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) ;
  • Batzios, C. (Department of Animal Production, Ichthyology, Ecology and Protection of Environment, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) ;
  • Kamarianos, A. (Department of Animal Production, Ichthyology, Ecology and Protection of Environment, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)
  • Received : 2007.11.09
  • Accepted : 2008.03.17
  • Published : 2008.11.01

Abstract

The objective of this study was to assess the effect of clinoptilolite (a natural zeolite) on growth and performance of broilers as well as on the quality of their litter. A total of 5,200 one-day old broiler chickens (Cobb 500) were used in two consecutive rounds lasting 42 days each. The broilers were given free and continuous access to a nutritionally non-limiting diet (in meal form) that was either a basal diet (B) or a 'zeolite diet' (Z; the basal diet supplemented with clinoptilolite at a level of 2%). A $2{\times}2$ factorial design consisted of two feeding treatments (B and Z) and two bedding types, sawdust (S) and sawdust with zeolite (Sz, which was the result of adding $2kg\;zeolite/m^2$), was used. In each round the broilers were randomly assigned to one of four (n = 650), treatment groups: two fed on the basal diet (B) and had bedding of either sawdust (group BS) or sawdust and zeolite (group BSz) and two fed on the Z diet and had as bedding either sawdust (ZS) or sawdust and zeolite (ZSz). Average growth rates were significantly (p<0.05) different between broilers of different groups; broilers that were fed on the 'zeolite diet' (Z) and were placed either in a compartment with sawdust bedding or sawdust bedding and zeolite (ZS and ZSz) as well those that were fed on the basal diet in a compartment with sawdust bedding and zeolite (BSz) grew at a faster rate (p<0.05) compared with those of the control group (BS). The incorporation of NZ in broilers diets and in their bedding material decreased the organic content in litter samples throughout the experimental period. The lowest organic content was recorded in group ZSz where NZ was added in both feed and litter. Mean ammonia concentration (ppm) was significantly higher in group ZS in comparison to groups BSz and ZSz (27.00 vs. 20.55 and 21.71 respectively). The results of this study showed that the incorporation of the clinoptilolite both in feed and into the litter had a positive effect on broiler growth and also on the quality of their litter.

Keywords

Broilers;Clinoptilolite;Performance;Litter Quality

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