External wood heat exchangers have a positive effect on broiler production compared to radiant propane brooders, which are generally used to heat US poultry houses.
In a study led by Victoria Ayres, PhD, assistant professor at Tennessee Tech University, birds in four treatment groups were placed in identical rooms heated using the different methods.
The research team found that the external heating system led to drier litter at day 21 of the experiment, better footpad quality at day 35 and a reduction in levels of serum interleukin-6, associated with infection and inflammation, at day 23.
As well as exploring the effect of heating systems, the study also incorporated testing of feed additives, testing an antibiotic and muramidase — an antimicrobial enzyme — in two of the treatment groups, as well as a positive-control diet based on amino acid recommendations by Ross Nutrient Specifications.
“Overall, the external combustion wood boiler heat exchanger and both feed additives had positive effects on broiler production,” Ayres said.
“Therefore, producers may use these management practices without detrimental effects on their flocks.”