Ammonia Fumes (High Levels 50 to 75 ...

Ammonia Fumes (High Levels 50 to 75 ppm or greater than 100 ppm) persistent in Laying Hens

Ammonia Fumes (High Levels 50 to 75 ppm or greater than 100 ppm) persistent in Laying Hens

Ammonia high levels in poultry are caused by exposure to ammonia fumes resulting from unsanitary conditions

Ammonia levels should be less than 25  ppm, but in poorly ventilated litter-type houses, ammonia exceeds 100 ppm.

High levels of ammonia (50-75 ppm) reduce feed consumption and growth rate. Egg production is also reduced and conjunctivitis occurs. If levels greater than 100 ppm persist, corneal ulceration and blindness can occur. At levels of 75-100 ppm, changes in respiratory epithelium occur such as loss of chilli, and increased numbers of mucus-secreting cells. Heart rate and breathing may be affected, and there may be hemorrhages in trachea and bronchi.

Observed Clinical Signs Happenings

Visibly sick birds

  • Few visibly sick birds

Eyes affected

  • Keratoconjuctivitis
  • Cornea ulceration
  • Blindness
  • Photophobia

Egg Drop

  • Egg production declines gradually

Feed Consumption Changes

  • Feed intake reduced

Ammonia Fumes (High Levels 50 to 75 ppm or greater than 100 ppm) persistent in Laying Hens DOES NOT exhibit or manifest any of the following clinical signs happenings:

  1. Egg production declines rapidly
  2. Mortality above the standard
  3. Flock behaviour activity change
  4. Droppings abnormalities
  5. Respiratory abnormalities
  6. Neurological Nervous
  7. Lameness or unusual movements, incoordination, ataxia
  8. Head, Comb, Wattles, Face, Nostrils, Sinuses, Mount, Beak, Ear lobes, abnormalities (except eyes)
  9. Body Parts (Neck, wings, breast, abdomen, shanks, legs, hocks, feet, joints, vent, and skin) abnormalities
  10. Feathers abnormalities
  11. Diet or Feed Changes
  12. Shell quality defects
  13. Internal Egg defects


Causing Agents
Toxigenic. High concentrations of atmospheric ammonia in housing or enclosure resulting from unsanitary conditions
Affected Systems/Organs
Respiratory System, nostrils and eyes. (even low but constant exposure to 10-20 ppm ammonia is enough to cause some damage to the respiratory tract). There is damage to the mucociliary system in the respiratory tract. The clearance of E. coli and other agents from the respiratory tract will be impaired and this will increase the risk of the flock getting airsaculitis if challenged with Infectious bronchitis virus or other pathogen.
Mainly Affects
Egg Production. Feed intake Performance. Could act as trigger for respiratory tract infections/complications
Appropriate environmental control. Prevention is based on proper ventilation and litter management. The ammonia fumes are formed in wet litter. Feed additives and ammonia reducing agents
Suggested Actions
  • Can be confirmed with clinical signs and gross lesions
  • Can be dealt with in house
  • Technical assistance recommended
  • Can be managed with feed additives, off-the-shelf medications

Impact on Egg quality


Impact on Liveability


Impact on Production


Overall Economic Impact


Y.M. Saif. 2008. Disease of Poultry. 12th Edition. page 1245

David E. Swayne. 2013.  Diseases of Poultry 13th Edition. page 1302

Mark Pattison, Paul F. McMullin, Janet M. Bradbury. Dennis J. Alexander. 2008. Poultry Diseases. 6th Edition. page 30

Paul McMullin. 2004. A pocket Guide to Poultry Health and Disease. First Edition.

Steven Leeson, John D. Summers. 2008. Commercial Poultry Nutrition. Third Edition.

Donald D. Bell, Williams D. Weaver. 2009.  Commercial Chicken Meat and Egg Production. Fifth Edition.


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