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Poult Sci. 2013 Nov;92(11):2827-33. doi: 10.3382/ps.2013-03032.

Aerial dust concentration in cage-housed, floor-housed, and aviary facilities for laying hens.

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Université Européenne de Bretagne-Anses, Ploufragan-Plouzané Laboratory, Avian and Rabbit Epidemiology and Welfare Unit, 22440 Ploufragan, France; and.


Agricultural workers, and pig and poultry farmers in particular, are exposed to airborne contaminants including organic dusts, gases, fungi, bacteria, and endotoxins that can have adverse effects on their respiratory health. To date, data comparing the aerial dust concentrations in the different hen-housing systems used by commercial poultry farmers are scarce. An epidemiological study was conducted in commercial housing facilities for laying hens, half of which were housed in a cage system without litter and the remaining half on an on-floor system with litter. The aims were to measure and compare the ambient dust concentrations in the different housing systems and identify any factors in building design and hen management that could influence the dust burden. An average concentration of respirable ambient dusts (≤4 μm) of 0.37 mg/m(3) (95% CI [0.31-0.42]) was measured in the on-floor system, and this value was higher than average values in the cage system {0.13 mg/m(3) (95% CI [0.11-0.14]) P = 0.01}. The highest dust concentration was observed in aviaries (1.19 mg/m(3) [0.80-1.59]). The type of housing and the presence of litter therefore had a preponderant effect on air quality. Dust concentrations in caged buildings were influenced by cage design and rearing practices, whereas litter management, the age of hens, and temperature control were determining factors for dust levels in on-floor houses. This study underlines the need for information and preventive measures to reduce the exposure of poultry workers to bioaerosols, particularly in alternative systems where high levels of ambient dust were observed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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