Chicken Litter and Anaerobic Digestion Explained

Chicken Litter and Anaerobic Digestion Explained

There are various types of organic products that can be used as a fertilizer, and one of those products is poultry litter. Poultry litter typically is broiler manure mixed with bedding (wood shavings or another type of biomass) as opposed to egg layer manure, which is typically collected without the use of bedding. The quality of a poultry litter varies with the type of poultry, litter, diet, and the collection and storage methods.

Rotary dryers help poultry agri-businesses process chicken litter and manure for use as other products. Both rotary and sludge dryers process waste products for reuse directly in the business or as saleable products.

Learn how poultry waste can make your business money instead of adding to your overhead with storage and landfilling costs.

How is Poultry Litter and Manure Used?

Chicken Litter Contains Valuable Nutrients

Poultry litter has been considered a great fertilizer for years as it contains numerous nutrients that plants require to grow, including:

  • Nitrogen (N)
  • Phosphorous (P)
  • Potassium (K)

It also contains trace nutrients like copper (Cu), zinc (Zn) and arsenic (As).

Poultry Manure and Litter Make Effective Soil Amendments

Chicken litter is also used for natural soil amendment as it can improve soil that was previously damaged by chemical fertilizers. Continuous crop cultivation and the use of chemical fertilizers negatively impacts overall soil quality. Adding poultry litter and manure has proven beneficial to increasing soil vitality, as follows:

  • Decreases soil density
  • Improves water retention
  • Increases organic matter content
  • Improves oxygen diffusion

Using Poultry Litter and Manure as Cattle and Fish Feed

Poultry manure or litter can be used as feed for cattle and fish. However, it is important to ensure you remove foreign materials such as feathers, plastic, ash, and debris first. The danger of contamination in unprocessed poultry litter is high because it contains pathogens such as:

  • Clostridium
  • Enterobacter spp.
  • Salmonella
  • Feed additives (arsenicals, coccidiostats, antibiotics)

Properly processed poultry waste mixed with minerals and protein makes a safe and economical filler for cattle feed. In fact, it’s been a feed ingredient for four decades.

How Poultry Litter is Converted to Biogas?

What has become more popular as of late with the initiative to “go green” is the use of poultry litter for biogas through anerobic digestion. The digesters extract methane and carbon dioxide, called biogas, which can be used for fuel, electricity, and heat.

Once digesters have done their job, you are left with solids that are referred to as digestate. This is what can be dried to create the organic fertilizer that is referenced above. The benefit to this is that there is zero waste. The digestate would not have to be landfilled, and it is turned into a saleable organic product.

Uzelac Industries has years of experience with digestate drying. Learn more about digestate drying and the benefits. Contact us online or feel free to give us a call 414-529-0240 to discuss your digestate drying needs.