Adler, C., Schmithausen, A. J., Trimborn, M. et al. 2021. Effects of a partially perforated flooring system on ammonia emissions in broiler housing—Conflict of objectives between animal welfare and environment? Animals 11(3), 707.
A partially (50%) perforated flooring system showed positive effects on health- and behavior-based welfare indicators without affecting production performance. Ammonia (NH3) is the most common air pollutant in poultry production, with effects on animal welfare and the environment. The objectives of animal welfare and environmental protection are often incompatible. Therefore, this study addresses the question of how a partially perforated flooring system affects NH3 emissions. According to German regulations, three fattening periods were carried out with 500 Ross 308 broilers per barn (final stocking density: 39 kg m−2). The experimental barn was equipped with an elevated perforated area in the supply section, accessible by perforated ramps. The remaining area in the experimental barn and the control barn were equipped with wood shavings (600 g m−2). Besides the different floor types, management was identical. Air temperature (Temp), relative air humidity (RH), NH3 concentration, and ventilation rate (VR) were measured continuously. Furthermore, dry matter (DM) content, pH, and litter quality were assessed. Towards the end of the fattening periods, the NH3 emission rate (ER) of the partially perforated flooring system was higher compared with that of the littered control barn (all p < 0.001). This effect is mainly caused by the higher NH3 concentrations, which are promoted by the lack of compaction underneath the elevated perforated area and the increase in pH value under aerobic conditions. Nevertheless, the partially perforated flooring system offers different approaches for NH3 reduction that were previously not feasible, potentially contributing equally to animal welfare and environmental protection.