New rearing systems for laying hens must be developed as the result of animal welfare legislation in Sweden that will ban the use of cages. The up-breeding of layer-type pullets must also take place in systems similar to those used in egg production units. In this study, the air quality and the climatic conditions in a multiple tier rearing system were compared with conditions in a battery system. The studies were run simultaneously with layer-type pullets from one day old to 16 weeks of age. The gases measured were ammonia and carbon dioxide, and the particulate matter was measured as total dust, respirable dust, endotoxin, and airborne microorganisms. The results indicate significantly higher levels of total dust and endotoxin in the multiple tier rearing system than in the battery system. This was most obvious at the end of the rearing period. Airborne microorganisms were found in considerable concentrations in both systems. When animals were unloaded, personal sampling gave elevated levels of dust that exceeded the Swedish hygienic threshold value. This may be related to a raised activity of the animals and to the close contact between the workers and the animals.
Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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