Environmental assessment of three egg production systems- Part II. Ammonia, greenhouse gas, and particulate matter emissions

T. A. Shepherd, Y. Zhao, H. Li, J. P. Stinn, M. D. Hayes, H. Xin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


As an integral part of the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply (CSES) Project, this study simultaneously monitored air emissions of 3 commercially operated egg production systems at the house level and associated manure storage over 2 single-cycle flocks (18 to 78 wk of age). The 3 housing systems were 1) a conventional cage house (CC) with a 200,000-hen capacity (6 hens in a cage at a stocking density of 516 cm 2 /hen), 2) an enriched colony house (EC) with a 50,000-hen capacity (60 hens per colony at a stocking density of 752 cm 2 /hen), and 3) an aviary house (AV) with a 50,000-hen capacity (at a stocking density of 1253 to 1257 cm 2 /hen). The 3 hen houses were located on the same farm and were populated with Lohmann white hens of the same age. Indoor environment and house-level gaseous (ammonia [NH 3 ] and greenhouse gasses [GHG], including carbon dioxide [CO 2 ], methane [CH 4 ], and nitrous oxide [N 2 O]) and particulate matter (PM 10, PM 2.5) emissions were monitored continually. Gaseous emissions from the respective manure storage of each housing system were also monitored. Emission rates (ERs) are expressed as emission quantities per hen, per animal unit (AU, 500 kg live BW), and per kilogram of egg output. House-level NH 3 ER (g/hen/d) of EC (0.054) was significantly lower than that of CC (0.082) or AV (0.112) (P < 0.05). The house-level CO 2 ER (g/hen/d) was lower for CC (68.3) than for EC and AV (74.4 and 74.0, respectively), and the CH 4 ER (g/hen/d) was similar for all 3 houses (0.07 to 0.08). The house-level PM ER (mg/hen/d), essentially representing the farm-level PM ER, was significantly higher for AV (PM 10 100.3 and PM 2.5 8.8) than for CC (PM 10 15.7 and PM 2.5 0.9) or EC (PM 10 15.6 and PM 2.5 1.7) (P < 0.05). The farm-level (house plus manure storage) NH 3 ER (g/hen/d) was significantly lower for EC (0.16) than for CC (0.29) or AV (0.30) (P < 0.05). As expected, the magnitudes of GHG emissions were rather small for all 3 production systems. Data from this study enable comparative assessment of conventional vs. alternative hen housing systems regarding air emissions and enhance the U.S. national air emissions inventory for farm animal operations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)534-543
Number of pages10
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 14 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Poultry Science Association.


  • air emissions
  • alternative hen housing
  • egg production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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