Research Papers from Pickle Publishing Chicken Litter, Cattle Feed
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[We found the following posted at http://www.stormkloud.com/API/API2/body_api2.html, a website that no longer exists. Apparently it was posted there around 2001. It should be in the public domain since it was issued by the FDA. Because this document is not now available in its entirety on the internet elsewhere, we provide it here.]

Information for Consumers
Food and Drug Administration
Center for Veterinary Medicine

The Use of Chicken Manure/Litter in Animal Feed

The following consumer information is provided by Daryl Fleming, Communications Staff, FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine

Recycled animal waste, such as processed chicken manure and litter, has been used as a feed ingredient for almost 40 years. This animal waste contains large amounts of protein, fiber, and minerals, and has been deliberately mixed into animal feed for these nutrients. Generally, animal waste is used within the State where it is produced because the bulk and weight of the product makes interstate shipment uneconomical. Normally, this animal waste is used by small farmers and owners of beef and dairy herds as a winter supplement for mother cows and weaned calves.

While the practice of feeding animal waste to animals seems unpleasant, the use of this product is safe as long as it meets certain specifications required by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). AAFCO includes officials from all States and the Federal government who are responsible for enforcing the laws regulating the production, labeling, distribution, and/or sale of animal feeds. One of AAFCO's main goals is to provide a mechanism for developing and implementing uniform and equitable laws, regulations, standards, definitions, and enforcement policies for animal feeds. AAFCO has established "Standard Names and Definitions" for three processed waste products as follows:

  • 74.1 - Dried Poultry Waste-(DPW) — a processed animal waste product composed primarily of feces from commercial poultry, which has been thermally dehydrated to a moisture content not in excess of 15.0%. It must contain not less than 18.0% crude protein, and not more than 15.0% crude fiber, 30.0% ash, and 1.0% feathers.
  • 74.2 - Dried Poultry Waste-NPN Extracted — a processed animal waste product composed primarily of feces from commercial poultry which has been processed to remove part or all of the equivalent crude protein, NPN as urea and/or uric acid and which has been thermally dehydrated to a moisture content not in excess of 15.0%. It must contain not less than 11.0% crude protein, and not more than 15.0% crude fiber, 30.0% ash, and 1.0% feathers.
  • 74.3 - Dried Poultry Litter-(DPL) — a processed animal waste product composed of a processed combination of feces from commercial poultry together with litter that was present in the floor production of poultry, which has been artificially dehydrated to a moisture content not in excess of 15.0%. It must contain not less than 18.0% crude protein, and not more than 25.0% crude fiber, 20.0% ash, and 4.0% feathers.

AAFCO specifications require that processed animal waste products not contain extraneous materials such as, but not limited to, metal, glass, nails or other harmful matter. They must be free of harmful pathogenic organisms, pesticide residues, parasites, or drug residues, above levels permitted by State or Federal statute or regulation, which could be harmful to animals or could result in residues in human food products or by-products of animals at levels in excess of those allowed by State or Federal statute or regulation.

Products which do not meet the AAFCO definition could be considered adulterated and are subject to State regulatory action. Each individual State has jurisdiction for the surveillance and regulation of processed animal waste as an animal feed ingredient. Products not complying with the AAFCO requirements and found in interstate commerce could be considered adulterated and subject to Federal regulatory action.

AAFCO requires that any person registering any processed animal waste product test, by representative sampling and assaying of such samples, and keep accurate records of the processed animal waste product.

The registrant, manufacturer, or producer of processed animal waste product ingredients must conform to the following sample and assay requirements, in addition to quality standards, testing on the same production run of lots:

  1. Drugs suspected or known to be used in the feed or as a therapeutic treatment of source animals.
  2. Pesticides used on the source animal, facility, and wastes for pest control.
  3. Pathogenic organisms, at least to include Salmonella and E. Coli.
  4. Heavy metals: arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, and selenium, at least.
  5. Parasitic larva or ova.
  6. Mycotoxins, such as aflatoxin.

Periodic analyses must be conducted on production runs. Any processed animal waste product that does not meet the quality standards for the product must be further processed until standards are met, or must be diverted to non-feed uses or destroyed.

If a product contains drug residues, then the label must contain the following statement in bold face type:

"WARNING: THIS PRODUCT CONTAINS DRUG RESIDUES. DO NOT USE WITHIN 15 DAYS OF SLAUGHTER AND DO NOT USE 15 DAYS PRIOR TO OR DURING THE FOOD PRODUCTION PERIOD OF DAIRY ANIMALS AND LAYING HENS."

If the product contains 25 ppm or greater of copper, a maximum guarantee of copper and the following statement in bold face type is required:

"WARNING: CONTAINS HIGH LEVELS OF COPPER: DO NOT FEED TO SHEEP."

Any person seeking register processed animal waste products also must keep accurate records of:

  1. All sources of raw materials and date acquired, including information on drug and pesticide usage.
  2. All production output, including a code or other method to identify the date of production.
  3. All sales and distribution, including the name and address of the purchaser or to whom distributed, date, quantity and product code.
  4. Sample and assay records of testing.

The alternatives to processing poultry waste are to bury it in a landfill, spread it on land, burn it in a power plant generator boiler, or compost it as fertilizer. The large volume of such waste effectively precludes burying it in landfills. Land application has been and still is an option. However, continued land application can and has resulted in extreme high soil nitrogen levels, run-off that has contaminated streams, and contaminated ground water with both chemicals and bacteria.

In summary, using adequately processed animal waste in animal feed may not be esthetically pleasing but it is safe, nutritionally valid, and environmentally sound.

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