Livestock News

Alternating Manure Removal Schedules Does Not Improve Fly Control in Poultry

Manure management is a key component of integrated control of pest flies in confined animal production. Given the recognized importance of natural enemies, one might try to reduce negative effects on them resulting from manure cleanout. One way of doing this might be to remove the manure in stages to allow natural enemies in undisturbed manure to move to new deposits.

However, this does not appear to be the case, at least in the open-sided poultry houses in California where this idea was tested. Here manure dries rapidly so it isn't suitable for fly oviposition or development for very long, and manure can be left to accumulate for several months. During this time natural enemies, such as hister beetles and a mite, destroy up to 97% of the immature filth flies in the manure. The presence of undisturbed manure near new manure deposits usually made no difference in reestablishment of these predators. Besides, producers rarely do a perfect cleanout anyway, scattering enough small manure chunks to seed natural enemies into areas which will later receive new droppings.

The benefits of alternate manure removal do not seem to justify the more frequent need to carry out what producers regard as a necessary but distasteful task, at least in this system. It may be of more benefit in a closed type of system.

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