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Different soil media for free-range laying hens

A comparison of bird use, soil structure, grass wear and free-moving nematode populations in four different soil media.

Year of Publication2008

1. A replicated experiment compared bird use, soil structure, grass wear and free-moving nematode populations in 4 different soil media (recycled vegetable compost, 90% recycled vegetable compost and 10% sand, re-used topsoil and sterilised topsoil) all with established grass swards within the range area of a large free-range laying hen unit. 2. The birds initially spent a greater proportion of their time on the two topsoil swards in comparison to the two compost-based swards. However, once the whole flock of hens had prolonged access to the different swards (unfenced areas) there were no significant differences in the number of birds that frequented the different sward types. 3. The two compost-based soil media had 33% fewer nematodes per g of dry soil compared to the two topsoil-based media. However, the rate of loss of grass from the subplots was greater with the two compost-based soil media; this was probably due to the greater porosity of these types of soil media.

Citation

Sossidoua, E N, Rose, S P, Silvab, S S P, Hallc, N W, Tserveni-Goussid, A and Christodouloua, V (2008) "Different soil media for free-range laying hens"British Poultry Science 49 (4) pp 390-395

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Additional keywords/tags

animal health
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Supporting the development of the national rural economy.

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