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Why pH is important in animal housing

Why pH is important in animal housing

Why pH is important in animal housing

For farmers caring for housed animals, it’s important to maintain an environment which supports the maintenance of healthy skin. Aim to neutralise ammonia and adjust the pH value from alkaline to neutral in animal bedding.

In general, pathogenic bacteria perform poorly in acidic environments. An animal’s protection mechanism is to excrete a sticky acidic substance (sebum) that covers the skin, inhibiting harmful bacteria from penetrating the skin’s surface. Sebum is regarded as an important first line of defence against disease-causing bacteria.¹

As animal waste builds up in the environment, ammonia levels increase causing an increase in the pH value of the bedding. Ammonia is a strong alkali with a pH of 13. This alkaline environment will break down sebum and skin, compromising an animal’s defence system and increasing the risk of infection (see Figure 1).

Using a powdered bedding product with a low pH is one of the most effective ways of counteracting the alkaline environment in animal housing. As some powder hygiene agents for animal housing are also alkaline, with a pH value of between 9 and 13, these products do little to assist with reducing the pH of the bedding and may compromise the skin defence system, leaving animals susceptible to infection.

In addition, the bacterial enzymes which converts the nitrogen in urine and faeces to ammonia are also more effective at a higher pH, which can lead to elevated environmental ammonia levels and an increased risk of pneumonia.³

Stalosan F powder has a high concentration of acidic minerals with low pH values. The mineral acids will help prevent the breakdown of skin, leaving your animals better able to protect themselves against infection. The combination of dry ingredients absorbs water, neutralises ammonia and lowers pH – thus killing bacteria, viruses, fungi, and in some instances, parasites and fly larvae by creating unfavourable growing conditions.

Applied in minutes, Stalosan F can help reduce pathogen loads in animal housing for up to a week.

To purchase Stalosan F for applying to your animal bedding, visit your local PGG Wrightson store.

ARTICLE SUPPLIED BY AGRIVANTAGE

¹ Mauldin, E.A & Peters-Kennedy, J. (2016). Integumentary System. Retrieved 13 June 2022 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7810815/pdf/main.pdf.
² Vilofoss. What makes Stalosan F unique. Retrieved 13 June 2022 from https://www.vilofoss.com/Products/Leading-Products/Stalosan.
³ Kellems, R.O, Miner, J.R & Church, D.C. Effect of ration, waste composition and length of storage on the volatilization of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and odors from cattle waste. Journal of Animal Science 436-445(3).