27 27 LOHMANN TIERZUCHT › MANAGEMENT GUIDE Litter management & maintenance Litter should be sometimes distribut- ed after the hens have been housed and be spread by the hens themselves if possible. It is sometimes beneficial to add a drying/bacterial agent to the floor prior to the distribution of the litter to help reduce early moisture levels and bacterial burden. Once in place the litter should be managed to ensure it remains dry and friable. This will prevent moisture and bacte- rial build up and allow the birds to exhibit natural behaviours. Electronic equipment such as mois- ture meters can be used to monitor the litter however the best pieces of equipment are your eyes and nose! › Grade the quality of your litter as you walk the house – is it friable? › Does it move when you walk it? › Areas such as those close to the external doors in free range sys- tems can become poached due to the ingress of inclement weather – as part of your weekly routines, break these areas up before they become a problem. › Some people separate the litter area into sections and turn these regularly with the aid of rotova- tors or hand tools. Many aviary systems now come with floor scrapers which keep those areas friable. › Add further litter material where necessary. Don’t make it too com- fortable or you can unwittingly encourage floor eggs. › Monitor the ventilation in the house ensuring good air move- ment over the litter area. › Encourage the birds to break up capped areas of litter by adding either a scattering of grain or grit. › Hen Grit comes in many forms and can have an additional benefit of assisting in crop and gizzard development. Good Litter Bad Litter