birds waste management


What follows is more information from Dr. J.H. Quisenberry and his extensive clay and poultry studies conducted while he served as head of the Poultry Department at Texas A& M. This research was conducted using clay from the mine where Nutramin was found.

Experiment 1

Where feasible to handle as part of the regular management program, dry droppings under cagesin open houses are the most satisfactory method of solving the waste utilization problem. Dehydrationof the droppings and water removal from environmentally controlled laying houses are problems of major concern to those engaged in the commercial egg business. Water consumption and excretion rates are under partial genetic control. In 1962-64 certain commercial strains of laying birds were experiencing difficulty with wet droppings. A solution was sought with dietary bentonites. Diets with :2ı89 and 5 per cent western bentonite were used. Percentage of moisture in the droppings was significantly (P < 0.05) reduced in both winter and summer seasons and the consistency so changed that drying was speeded up. Performance data on the birds were also collected. Body weight and egg size were significantly (P < 0.05) increased although the caloric value of the diets decreased from 945 kcal of productive energy per pound for the control to 932 and 918 for the 2ı89 and 5 per cent bentonite diets, respectively. There was no significant effect on egg production but feed efficiency was improved.

That less feed is required per unit of eggs produced on lower calorie diets substantiates the conclusion that the bentonite improved caloric efficiency. These and other data presented in this study assured the breeder involved and cage operators in general that sodium bentonite offered real promise for control of wet droppings and that it might also be of value to operators of environmentally controlled houses.


Experiment 2

For this experiment calcium bentonite from a Texas source and a sodium bentonite from a westernsource were compared. The bentonites were fed at the 5 per cent level only. As for Experimentl, the control diet contained 945 kcal of productive energy and the bentonite diets contained only 918k cal/lb. Birds that received the Bentonite diets gained more body weight and produced largereggs than the controls. Thirteen per cent more commercially designated "large" eggs were producedby birds on the calcium bentonite diet and 15 per cent more by the sodium bentonite, group. Egg production was higher for the bentonite group, particularly for those on the western bentonite.Mortality was also lower than for the controls. Feed efficiency however, favored the controls inthis experiment, in contrast to Experiment 1.


Experiment 3


Encouraged by results of the first two experiments, a third one was devised to test the efficacy of two montmorillonite clays, one from California (Cal-Min) and one from Texas (BMC), calcium bentonite from a Texas source and a western bentonite supplied by the Magnet Cove Barium Corporation, Houston, Texas. Each of these was fed at 2 zz and 5 per cent levels. As for Experiment 1, all of the clay additives at both levels resulted in a significant (P < 0.05) gain in body weight over the controls, an increase in egg size, and a reduction in water of the droppings. Egg production was improved by the Cal-Min, the lower level of BMC, and both levels of western bentonite. Feed efficiency was measurably improved by the 2ı89 per cent level of cal-min and slightly improved by the higher level of cal-min and the lower level of western bentonite.

The other additives were no better or poorer than the controls. The value of these clays and bentonites in assistance with the solution of wet droppings problem was again demonstrated.



The role of bentonites as calorie extenders has been previously reported in this paper as observed

at Arizona State University, Texas A&M University, California, and Rhode Island. Further evidence

of this role is given in Table 1.

Table 1. Western bentonite and montmorillonite clay

(cal-min) as calorie extenders in laying hen diets

(9 periods, 9122/66-5/31/67)


Clay additive

Type         HDP*  Egg size  F.E.*   Mortality

                   (%)      (%)     (    g)   (#/#)   (%)

Control    74.09   60.4   2-63   12-5

WB 2.5    79.15   60-3   2.59    5.0

WB 5.0    79.96   60.9   2.53    2-5

C-M 2.5   75.61   60.7   2.70    7.5

C-M 5.0   78.71   61.1   2.57    7.5

*HDP = Hen-day production.

?F.E., #/# = Feed efficiency, lb of feed/lb of eggs produced.


If the performance levels given in Table 1 continue for the 12 months of the planned experiment,it appears that both the western bentonite and the montmorillonite clay (cal-min) will again have had a beneficial effect upon egg production, feed efficiency, mortality and possibly, upon egg size.