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Evaluation of Para grass (Urochloa mutica) as litter material for laying hens

Diarra SS*, Neiubi S, Lesumairotorua J and Verau L

Department of Animal Science, University of the South Pacific, School of Agriculture and Food Technology Alafua Campus, Samoa


The increasing demand for wood shaving, a conventional litter material, necessitates research into alternative sources of litter for poultry. A total of 90 Shaver Brown pullets were used in a 126 day experiment to investigate the suitability of Para grass as litter material. The birds were allotted to 9 floor pens containing 10 birds each. The floor in 3 randomly selected pens was covered with one of the following materials: wood shavings (WSH), chopped Para grass hay (CPGH) and full Para grass hay (FPGH) in a completely randomised design. Growth and body weight change, feather count, and egg performance parameters formed the major response criteria. Results showed no significant effects of litter material on body weight change, feed intake, hen-day egg production, egg weight and egg mass. There was however, a significant increase in the count of floor primary feathers on FPGH compared to the control WSH and CPGH. No caking was observed on any of the materials. These results were used to conclude that Para grass hay can effectively replace wood shavings as litter material for laying hens. The substitution will save cost as well as reduce the invasive effect of Para grass in the study area.

Keywords: Wood shavings; grass hay; alternative litter; layer performance
To cite this article: Diarra SS, S Neiubi, J Lesumairotorua and L Verau, 2014. Evaluation of para grass (Urochloa mutica) as litter material for laying hens. Res. Opin. Anim. Vet. Sci., 4(10): 560-563.

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