The Effect of a Natural Zeolite (Clinoptilolite) on the Performance of Broiler Chickens and the Quality of Their Litter

  • Karamanlis, X. ;
  • Fortomaris, P. ;
  • Arsenos, G. ;
  • Dosis, I. ;
  • Papaioannou, D. ;
  • Batzios, C. ;
  • Kamarianos, A.
  • Received : 2007.11.09
  • Accepted : 2008.03.17
  • Published : 2008.11.01


The objective of this study was to assess the effect of clinoptilolite (a natural zeolite) on growth and performance of broilers as well as on the quality of their litter. A total of 5,200 one-day old broiler chickens (Cobb 500) were used in two consecutive rounds lasting 42 days each. The broilers were given free and continuous access to a nutritionally non-limiting diet (in meal form) that was either a basal diet (B) or a 'zeolite diet' (Z; the basal diet supplemented with clinoptilolite at a level of 2%). A $2{\times}2$ factorial design consisted of two feeding treatments (B and Z) and two bedding types, sawdust (S) and sawdust with zeolite (Sz, which was the result of adding $2kg\;zeolite/m^2$), was used. In each round the broilers were randomly assigned to one of four (n = 650), treatment groups: two fed on the basal diet (B) and had bedding of either sawdust (group BS) or sawdust and zeolite (group BSz) and two fed on the Z diet and had as bedding either sawdust (ZS) or sawdust and zeolite (ZSz). Average growth rates were significantly (p<0.05) different between broilers of different groups; broilers that were fed on the 'zeolite diet' (Z) and were placed either in a compartment with sawdust bedding or sawdust bedding and zeolite (ZS and ZSz) as well those that were fed on the basal diet in a compartment with sawdust bedding and zeolite (BSz) grew at a faster rate (p<0.05) compared with those of the control group (BS). The incorporation of NZ in broilers diets and in their bedding material decreased the organic content in litter samples throughout the experimental period. The lowest organic content was recorded in group ZSz where NZ was added in both feed and litter. Mean ammonia concentration (ppm) was significantly higher in group ZS in comparison to groups BSz and ZSz (27.00 vs. 20.55 and 21.71 respectively). The results of this study showed that the incorporation of the clinoptilolite both in feed and into the litter had a positive effect on broiler growth and also on the quality of their litter.


Broilers;Clinoptilolite;Performance;Litter Quality


  1. Pond, W. G., J. T. Yen and V. H. Varel. 1988. Response of growing swine to dietary copper and clinoptilolite supplementation. Nutr. Rep. Int. 37:795-803.
  2. Shurson, G. C., P. K. Ku, E. R. Miller and M. T. Yokoyama. 1984. Effects of zeolite a or clinoptilolite in diets of growing swine. J. Anim. Sci. 59:1536-1545.
  3. Suchy, P., E. Strakova, V. Vecerek, Z. Klouda and E. Kracmarova 2006. The effect of a clinoptilolite-based feed supplement on the performance of broiler chickens. Czech J. Anim. Sci. 51:168-173.
  4. Ramos, A. J. and E. Hernandez. 1997. Prevention of aflatoxicosis in farm animals by means of hydrated sodium calcium aluminosilicate addition to feedstuffs: A review. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol. 65:197-206.
  5. Robertson, A. P., R. P. Hoxey, T. G. M. Demmers, S. K. Welch, R. W. Sneath, K. F. Stacey, A. Fothergill, D. Filmer and C. Fisher 2002. Commercial-scale studies of the effect of broiler-protein intake on aerial pollutant emissions. Biosyst. Engin. 82:217-225.
  6. Ullman, J. L., S. Mukhtar, R. E. Lacey and J. B. Carey. 2004. A review of literature concerning odors, ammonia, and dust from broiler production facilities: 4. Remedial management practices. J. Appl. Poult. Res. 13:521-531.
  7. Perraki, Th. and A. Orfanoudaki. 2004. Mineralogical study of zeolites from Pentalofos area, Thrace, Greece. Appl. Clay Sci. 25:9-16.
  8. Pond, W. G. 1984. Response of growing lambs to clinoptilolite or zeolite NAA added to corn, corn-fish meal and corn-soybean meal diets. J. Anim. Sci. 59:1320-1328.
  9. Amon, M., M. Dobeic, R. W. Sneath, V. R. Phillips, T. H. Misselbrook and B. F. Pain. 1997. A farm-scale study on the use of clinoptilolite zeolite and $De-Odorase^{(R)}$ for reducing odour and ammonia emissions from broiler houses. Biores. Technol. 61:229-237.
  10. APHA 1989. Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. 17th edition. 1989. American Public Health Association, Washington DC, USA.
  11. Blair, R., J. P. Jacob, S. Ibrahim and P. Wang. 1999. A quantitative assessment of reduced protein diets and supplements to improve nitrogen utilization. J. Appl. Poult. Res. 8:25-47.
  12. Al-Homidan, A., J. F. Robertson and A. M. Petchey. 2003. Review of the effect of ammonia and dust concentration on broiler performance. Poult. Sci. 59:340-349.
  13. Eleroglu, H. and H. Yalcin. 2005. Use of natural zeolite-supplemented litter increased broiler production. S. Afr. J. Anim. Sci. 35:90-97.
  14. Francesch, M. and J. Brufa. 2004. Nutritional factors affecting excreta/litter moisture and quality. World's Poult. Sci. J. 60:64-75.
  15. Islam, M. A., K. N. Monira, M. J. Alam and M. A. Wahid. 2003. Effect of litter materials on broiler performance and evaluation of manureal value of used litter in late autumn. Asian-Aust. J. Anim. Sci. 16:555-557.
  16. Kantiranis, N., A. Filippidis, Th. Mouhtaris, D. Charistos, A. Kassoli-Fournaraki and A. Tsirambides. 2002. The uptake ability of the Greek natural zeolites. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on the occurrence, properties and utilization of natural zeolites, Thessaloniki, Greece, pp. 155-156.
  17. Christaki, E., P. Florou-Paneri, A. Tserveni-Gousi, A. Yannakopoulos and P. Fortomaris. 2006. Effects of dietary inclusion of natural zeolite and flaxseed on broiler chickens' body fat deposition in an extended fattening period Arch. Geflugelk. 70:106-111.
  18. Christaki, E., P. Florou-Paneri, A. Tserveni-Gousi, A. Yannakopoulos and P. Fortomaris. 2001. Effects of dietary inclusion of a natural zeolite on broiler performance and carcass characteristics. Proceedings of the 13th International Zeolite Conference: "Zeolites and mesoporous materials at the dawn of the 21st century", Montpellier, France, pp. 1-7.
  19. Nahm, K. H. 2005b. Environmental effects of chemical additives used in poultry litter and swine manure. Crit. Rev. Environ. Sci. Technol. 35:487-513.
  20. Nakaue, H. S., J. K. Koelliker and M. L. Pierson. 1981. Studies with clinoptilolite in poultry: 2. Effect of feeding broilers and the direct application of clinoptilolite zeolite on clean and reused broiler litter on broiler performance and house environment. Poult. Sci. 60:1221-1228.
  21. Olver, M. D. 1997. Effect of feeding clinoptilolite zeolite on the performance of three strains of laying hens. Br. Poult. Sci. 38:220-222.
  22. Ozturk, G., M. S. Erener and M. Sarica. 1998. Influence of natural zeolite on performance of laying hens and egg quality. Turk J. Agric. Forestry, 22:623-628.
  23. Papaioannou, D., P. D. Katsoulos, N. Panousis and H. Karatzias 2005. The role of natural and synthetic zeolites as feed additives on the prevention and/or treatment of certain farm animal diseases. Microp. Mesop. Mat. 84:161-170.
  24. Kassoli-Fournaraki, A., M. Stamatakis, A. Hall, A. Filippidis, K. Michailidis, A. Tsirambides and Th. Koutles. 2002. The Carich clinoptilolite deposit of Pentalofos, Thrace, Greece. In: Natural zeolites for the third millenium, De Frede Editore (Ed. C. Colella and F. A. Mumpton), Napoli, Italy, pp. 193-202.
  25. Kim, W. K., C. A. Froelich, P. H. Patterson and S. C. Ricke. 2006. The potential to reduce poultry nitrogen emissions with dietary methionine or methionine analogues supplementation. World's Poult. Sci. J. 62:338-353.
  26. Mumpton, F. A. and P. H. Fishman. 1977. The application of natural zeolites in animal science and aquaculture. J. Anim. Sci. 45:1188-1203.
  27. Mumpton, F. A. and P. H. Frederick. 1999. La roca magica: uses of natural zeolites in agriculture and industry. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 99:3463-3470.
  28. Nahm, K. H.. 2005a. Factors influencing nitrogen mineralization during poultry litter composting and calculations for available nitrogen. Poult. Sci. 61:238-253.
  29. Mccrory, D. F. and P. J. Hobbs. 2001. Additives to reduce ammonia and odor emissions from livestock wastes: a review. J. Environ. Qual. 30:345-355.
  30. Patterson, P. H. and T. Adrizal. 2005. Management strategies to reduce air emissions: emphasis-dust and ammonia. J. Appl. Poult. Res. 14:638-650.

Cited by

  1. Effect of Zinc-Bearing Zeolite Clinoptilolite on Growth Performance, Nutrient Retention, Digestive Enzyme Activities, and Intestinal Function of Broiler Chickens vol.158, pp.1, 2014,
  2. Effect of litter treatment on growth performance, intestinal development, and selected cecum microbiota in broiler chickens vol.45, pp.5, 2016,
  3. Natural zeolites in diet or litter of broilers vol.57, pp.2, 2016,
  4. Application of zeolites in aquaculture industry: a review pp.17535123, 2016,
  5. The nutrition of poultry as a factor affecting litter quality and foot pad dermatitis - an updated review vol.101, pp.5, 2017,
  6. Effects of different levels of expanded perlite on the performance and egg quality traits of laying hens vol.46, pp.1, 2017,
  7. Zeolites in poultry and swine production vol.47, pp.8, 2017,
  8. Zeólitas naturais na dieta de frangos de corte vol.69, pp.1, 2017,
  9. Effects of Dietary Silicate Based Complex Mineral on Performance, Meat Quality and Immunological Competence in Broiler vol.44, pp.4, 2017,
  10. Does supplemental zeolite (clinoptilolite) affect growth performance, meat texture, oxidative stress and production of polyunsaturated fatty acid of Turkey poults? vol.17, pp.1, 2018,
  11. Ammonia production in poultry houses can affect health of humans, birds, and the environment—techniques for its reduction during poultry production vol.25, pp.16, 2018,