Dietary manipulation to reduce aerial ammonia concentrations in nursery pig facilities

J. J. Colina, A. J. Lewis, P. S. Miller, R. L. Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Two 4-wk trials (preliminary study) and three 5-wk trials (major study) were conducted to determine the effects of adding Yucca schidigera extract or anhydrous calcium chloride to nursery diets on the growth performance of nursery pigs and aerial ammonia concentration. The pigs were weaned between 13 and 15 d of age and had an initial BW of 3 to 6 kg. In each trial, pigs were allotted to three identical pig nursery rooms that were environmentally regulated. There were three diets (one diet per room): 1) control, containing 23% CP; 2) control plus 125 ppm of Yucca schidigera extract; and 3) control plus 1.95% anhydrous calcium chloride. Growth performance was recorded weekly. Aerial ammonia concentration was measured daily using aspiration detector tubes and during the last week of each trial using diffusion tubes. Manure samples were collected twice a week during the experimental period to determine ammonia and N concentrations and pH. Plasma urea concentration was determined in blood samples collected from the pigs at the end of each trial. Data were analyzed using split-plot and Latin square designs for the preliminary and major studies, respectively. Feed intake was similar among pigs fed all three diets. There were no differences in ADG and ADG/ADFI (G/F) between pigs fed the control diet and pigs fed the yucca extract diet (P ≥ 0.41). In all trials, pigs fed the calcium chloride diet had lower ADG and G/F than pigs fed the other two diets (P < 0.05). In the preliminary study, aerial ammonia tended to be greater in the rooms in which pigs were fed the control diet than in the rooms with pigs fed the yucca extract diet (P = 0.08) and the calcium chloride diet (P = 0.11). In the major study, aerial ammonia increased weekly (diet × week; P < 0.001) in all rooms. In the 4th wk, ammonia concentrations were greater (P < 0.001) in the rooms in which pigs were fed the control diet than in the rooms in which the other two diets were fed. Dietary treatment had no effect on plasma urea concentration (P > 0.10), manure ammonia and N concentrations (P > 0.50), and manure pH (P > 0.78). Although aerial ammonia concentrations were relatively low, the addition of Yucca schidigera extract or calcium chloride to the diet of nursery pigs reduced ammonia concentrations in the nursery rooms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3096-3103
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2001


  • Ammonia
  • Calcium Chloride
  • Growth
  • Pig Manure
  • Pigs
  • Yucca Schidigera

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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