The efficacy of litter management strategies to prevent morbidity and mortality in broiler chickens: a systematic review and network meta-analysis
A systematic review and network meta-analysis (NMA) were conducted to address the question, ‘What is the efficacy of litter management strategies to reduce morbidity, mortality, condemnation at slaughter, or total antibiotic use in broilers?’ Eligible studies were clinical trials published in English evaluating the efficacy of litter management in broilers on morbidity, condemnations at slaughter, mortality, or total antibiotic use. Multiple databases and two conference proceedings were searched for relevant literature. After relevance screening and data extraction, there were 50 trials evaluating litter type, 22 trials evaluating litter additives, 10 trials comparing fresh to re-used litter, and six trials evaluating floor type. NMAs were conducted for mortality (61 trials) and for the presence or absence of footpad lesions (15 trials). There were no differences in mortality among the litter types, floor types, or additives. For footpad lesions, peat moss appeared beneficial compared to straw, based on a small number of comparisons. In a pairwise meta-analysis, there was no association between fresh versus used litter on the risk of mortality, although there was considerable heterogeneity among studies (I2 = 66%). There was poor reporting of key design features in many studies, and analyses rarely accounted for non-independence of observations within flocks.
This article is published as Sargeant, Jan M., Dapeng Hu, Annette M. O’Connor, Chong Wang et al. "The efficacy of litter management strategies to prevent morbidity and mortality in broiler chickens: a systematic review and network meta-analysis." Animal Health Research Reviews 20, no. 2 (2019): 247-262. DOI:10.1017/S1466252319000227. Posted with permission.