A review: Understanding the many factors that contribute to wet litter

The University of Sydney

  • Project code: PRJ-009184

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Tuesday, July 1, 2014

  • Project completion date: Tuesday, December 15, 2015

  • National Priority: CME-Priority 4-Ensuring food safety of Australian chicken meat


Wet litter is characterised by litter reaching its saturation threshold where it becomes unable to absorb more moisture. Wet litter presents major challenges to the chicken meat industry and has implications for flock health, welfare and productivity of broiler production. This project will produce a review of the published literature investigating factors which contribute to the occurrence of wet litter in broiler production. A team of contributors will participate in the compilation of this review in the areas of nutrition, production, management and health. The project will commence with a search of the available literature using electronic databases such as Web of Science, Web of Knowledge and Cab Abstracts. Interviews with key chicken meat industry personnel from poultry integrators (nutrition and management), feed additive suppliers and health professionals will be conducted to obtain an industry oriented perspective of the major issues associated with wet litter. These responses will be incorporated into the direction of the review to deliver industry-focussed outcomes. Finally, the review will provide suggestions for future research projects to investigate selected potential causative mechanisms of wet litter.


Chicken Meat

Research Organisation

The University of Sydney

Objective Summary

This project addresses the 2014/2015 research priority to investigate the factors which contribute to wet litter. More broadly, this project is aligned with objectives 1, 2 and 4 of the RIRDC Chicken Meat 2009-2014 R & D Program. These are; to increase the efficiency and productivity of chicken meat production (1), respond to treatment of chickens during production (2) and to deliver resource use efficiency (4).

The objectives of this project are:
1. Summarise the available literature in a review, the factors that contribute to the incidence of wet litter in broiler production
2. Provide recommendations for future research into causative factors of wet litter

The expected outcomes of this project will be a contemporary review of the factors that contribute, individually or in combination, to the occurrence of wet litter in chicken-meat production. The review will provide an update on the current literature as well as suggest further research priorities to identify the aetiological mechanisms of wet litter to address the causative factors.