Friday, October 08, 2010

The Latest Poop on Chicken Poop

Earlier this week Barbara Pash from Maryland Reporter wrote an interesting piece about chicken waste. This is one of my favorite topics and a continuing subject of debate between me and Senator Alan Kittleman. When he was on our podcast back in January, he took the side of the eastern shore chicken industry in advocating for more chicken houses. After the show I looked into this issue and discovered that these chicken houses are a big problem for the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

Whenever Alan and I get a chance to talk, the conversation will inevitably lead to chicken poop and we continue to agree to disagree about what is to be done.

Barbara now tells us there is positive news about the poop from a, "recent experiment that drastically reduced the ammonia level in chicken houses."

"Over a period of eight months, two tests were conducted: first on a small 500-bird chicken house and then on a full-size house of 15,000 to 20,000 birds. The results amazed even UMES officials.

With the AviHome flooring system, the ammonia level dropped at least 80%, and that produced healthier, faster-growing birds, said Dr. Ronald Forsythe, vice president of technology and commercialization of UMES."

Of course, ammonia is only part of the problem of the chicken houses. Runoff is still the larger concern for fowling the waterways. Still this is progress and a step in the right direction for this billion dollar eastern shore industry.
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