Document Type : Research Paper
Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture Science, University of Guilan, P.O. Box 41635-1314, Rasht, Iran
Ph.D. Student, Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture Science, University of Guilan, P.O. Box 41635-1314, Rasht, Iran
This experiment was conducted to determine the effects of sodium bentonite litter supplement and stoking density on performance and litter quality using a total of 252 broiler chicks in completely randomized design with 6 treatments which were arranged factorially (3×2) and 4 replicates. Experimental factors included: stocking density (14; low and 18; high /birds per m2) and three levels of sodium bentonite litter supplement (0, 2 and 4 kg/m2). Higher stocking density led to lower performance, higher moisture, pH, count of E.coli and oocysts in litter, intestinal lesions score, footpad and hock lesion scores and breast blister (P<0.01). Litter moisture and footpad and hock scores were reduced by application of 2 kg/m2 litter supplement (P<0.01). Supplementation of 4 kg/m2 sodium bentonite decreased count of E. coli and nitrogen in litter and improved body weight gain of broilers than control (P<0.01). Interactions between stocking density and litter supplement for footpad and hock scores (35 day of age) were significant (P<0.05) as lesions were negligible in lower stocking density without any effect by litter supplement, although the lesions induced by higher density were reduced using 4 kg/m2 litter supplement. Results indicated that application of sodium bentonite as litter supplement had beneficial effects on broilers performance and litter quality.