Poultry litter consists of bedding material mixed with manure, feathers, spilled water and waste feed accumulated during the production cycle of mainly broilers and layers (Blackhall, 2005). Poultry population is increasing because of the increase in demand for readily available protein and this has led to a corresponding increase in the amount of waste produced from intensive livestock production. In order to harmonize the interest of the poultry industry with current and further environmental concerns, environmental stewardship in animal agriculture is aimed at reducing the level of contamination of the environment by excreta (Siewerdt and Arun, 2007). This can be achieved by treating poultry litter as a source of renewable energy (Kelleher, 2002).
Poultry litter has significant energy value which is comparable to wood and half that of coal. As a result, power plants have been developed using poultry litter as fuel for generation of heat and for electricity production (Kelleher, 2002). Enormous amount of poultry litter produced annually has been traditionally utilized as fertilizer for crop production and also as supplements in livestock feed (Hall and denaley 1994). In addition, layer and broiler litters are potential sources of fly larva, pathogenic organisms and zoonotic diseases. Therefore, they must be handled and used appropriately. These concerns necessitate the knowledge about the chemical composition of poultry litter (Martin, 2007).
Biofuel are a wide range of fuels which are derived from animal manure or plant materials or a mixture of both (Agbogbu and Mbaeyi, 2006). Biofuel includes any solid, liquid or gaseous industrial, commercial, domestic or agricultural waste. The solid biofuels include fuelwood, wood pellets and charcoal. Liquid biofuels are biodiesel, ethanol, pyrolysis oils while gaseous biofuel include biogas (Energy Commission of Nigeria, 2010). Ojolo, Dinrifo and Adesuyi (2007) claimed that the Nigerian government and industries are in search of technologies that allow for more efficient and cost effective waste management. Continued increase in price of petroleum products such as kerosene, diesel and gas make it imperative the search for an effective alternative source of energy (Agbogbu and Mbaeyi, 2006). Anaerobic degradation of poultry litter by bacteria produces methane and carbon dioxide, which are good sources of hydrocarbon mostly used as fuel.
The objective of the study is to analyze poultry litter for its gross chemical composition and energy value and to assess its potential. The specific objectives of the study include:
1. To estimate the excreta output of broiler and layer bird within a specified period of time.
2. To determine the proximate composition of broiler and layer litter.
3. To determine the carbon content of layer and broiler litter.
4. To determine the Carbon to Nitrogen (C:N) ratio of broiler and layer litter
5. To determine the gross energy value of broiler and layer litter.