Litter Management

Proper handling and storage of poultry litter is needed to preserve its nutrient value and prevent contamination of surface and ground water, particularly when litter cannot be directly applied to land. Improper handling and storage of poultry litter can result in:

  • Loss of nutrients
  • Contamination of surface and/or ground water
  • Potential for spread of disease
  • Odor and aesthetic problems

With a little advance planning and a minimal investment, these problems can be reduced or eliminated. It is important to follow any and all national, state, county and city regulations with regards to disposal of waste material.

Laws and regulations impacting livestock wastes in Kentucky

Generation and legal regulation of odors from animal manures

Solid livestockwaste regulatory requirements

Agricultural water quality act: Your responsibilities as a landowner

The most efficient method of handling poultry litter is to directly apply it to fields as it is being removed from the houe. This reduces labor, expense, and potential environmental problems. This requires cleanout when weather and crop conditions are favorable for applying the litter. For cropland, this time will be in the spring before the crop is planted, or in the fall after the crop has been harvested if a small grain or cover crop is to be planted. Application of litter to cropland during the winter should be avoided because the efficient use of nutrients will be low and the potential for water contamination is increased. Apply poultry litter onliy in amounts needed to supply the nturient needs of the crop to be grown. Have the litter as well as soil samples from the fields that are to have litter applied tested to detemine how much should be applied.


Broiler litter production in Kentucky and potential use as a nutrient source

The agronomics of manure use for crop production

Using animal manures as nutrient sources

Sampling animal manures

Livestock waste samplling and testing

Nutrient management in Kentucky

Riparian buffers: A livestock best management practice for protecting water quality

Nutrient management planning guidelines to comply with the Kentucky Agricultural Water Quality Act

Assessment of the potential for livestock and poultry manure to provide the nutrients removed by crops and forages in Kentucky

Potential for livestock and poultry manure to provide the nutrients removed by crops and forages in Kentucky

Dead Bird Disposal

Mortality and morbidity are, unfortunately, a 'fact of life' in poultry produciton. It is important ot be aware of how to safely (and perhaps profitably) dispose of any dead birds from your flock. Rules regarding carcass disposal may vary from area-to-area so it is important to verify the regulations in your area.


On-farm disposal of animal mortalities

On-farm composting of animal mortalities