Review of Fresh Litter Supply, Management and Spent Litter Utilisation


The chicken meat industry requires reliable supplies of safe and effective litter materials. Once used, this spent litter is a by-product that, ideally, provides a modest revenue stream and is easily disposed of. The Australian industry predominantly utilises straw, wood shavings or sawdust depending on region, and spent litter is removed after each batch of chickens. Most spent litter is then sold as a fertiliser to broad acre, horticulture, dairy farms or composters. The supply and cost of litter products has increased substantially over recent years, and future supply of wood products may be constrained, or they may only be available at a high price point. There is a relationship between the industries’ capacity to pay for fresh litter and the market for spent litter, and ideally sales would match or exceed costs. Because of this interrelationship, it is ideal to consider both aspects in the same research frame. It is also notable that some alternative uses for bedding materials, such as bioenergy, may utilise spent litter in the future, creating a better market for these products and enabling the industry to pay higher prices for fresh litter. This project will consider both the supply of fresh litter and disposal options, with an aim to identify novel litter materials or management systems that reduce fresh litter demand, increase spent litter demand and/or decrease the overall cost burden associated with litter supply and disposal while maintaining ideal production conditions with respect to bird health and performance.


Chicken Meat

Research Organisation

Integrity Ag Services Pty Ltd ATF Integrity Ag Services

Objective Summary

This project covers four objectives regarding litter supply and litter utilisation. The specific objectives of this project are: 1. Current situation analysis of litter types and availability, to provide information on litter use trends. 2. Review potential new sources of litter (novel low cost, including recycled materials) that meet industry requirements for bird health, performance and welfare. 3. Review management options that reduce the volume of litter required, while providing similar conditions with respect to bird health, performance and welfare. 4. Consider options for spent litter management and/or disposal associated with changed litter type or management.

Project Code


Project Stage


Project Start Date

Monday, July 31, 2017

Project Completion Date

Thursday, August 30, 2018

National Priority

An environmentally sustainable Australia

National Priority

CME-Develop and implement measures to improve industry's impact on the enviroment