Practical advice for using Biochar in Poultry Farming

Erin Rasmussen

From the Ithaka journal, "Biochar in poultry farming "

This is a practical article that provides simple advice for using biochar to help manage disease in commercial poultry operations. The authors point out that many birds end up spending time in direct contact with their manure and suggest blending 5-10% by volume biochar into the bedding or silage used to in the coops and poultry houses can help the birds resist diseases in addition to helping filter the ammonia and reducing the impacts of the bird wastes.

The primary article also gives specific recommendations for using biochar in feed to help prevent intestinal diseases, and they recommend the following studies:

Kana, JR, Teguia, A, Mungfu, BM, Tchoumboue, J 2010, ‘Growth performance and carcass characteristics of broiler chickens fed diets supplemented with graded levels of charcoal from maize cob or seed of Canarium schweinfurthii Engl’, Tropical Animal Health and Production 43(1):51–56.

Van, DTT, Mui, NT & Ledin, I. 2006, ‘Effect of method of processing foliage of Acacia mangium and inclusion of bamboo charcoal in the diet on performance of growing goats’, Animal Feed Science and Technology 130: 242-56.

For the poultry farmer that is happy with their existing strategies of reducing disease and the impact of manure on the birds, the authors suggest that biochar is a good idea to add to the composting manure. Biochar in the manure helps bind the nitrogen, making a better compost product and reducing problems that may occur from leaching nitrogen from the compost piles.