Does Composted Chicken Litter Spread Disease?

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Dr. Woods,

I am curious about the Antler Dirt product that you use. I know it is made out of composted chicken litter but I have heard problems around here (south central Missouri) with the turkey population being affected by farmers using chicken litter on their fields. I don’t know if it’s a disease being spread from the chickens to the turkeys through the litter or if it’s just hearsay. I do have a few friends that did have large numbers of turkeys on their farms and after using chicken litter for several years have seen a huge decrease in the numbers. Any information you could share with me about this would be very helpful. I would like to try the Antler Dirt product, as I have very similar soils and topography compared to you. I just don’t want a negative effect on the turkeys. Thank you very much and I appreciate your Christian beliefs and sharing them on your show.



There is a decline in the turkey population in most of Missouri ( This is probably due in large part to the very cold and wet conditions that have occurred during the past two nesting seasons. I believe predators are also accounting for part of the decrease in the turkey population. I have trapped 200+ predators at The Proving Grounds during the past four years and my turkey population has increased significantly (at at time when it is declining in most of Missouri). I’ve also improved the habitat, so I can’t single out any one factor. However, it has been very cold and wet here also and the population at The Proving Grounds is the best its been since I’ve been here.

Disease being spread to wild turkeys by spreading poultry litter was more of a concern before most poultry farmers significantly improved their operations. There are literally millions of tons of litter spread annually now in many major turkey states with very, very few reported problems. However, that’s not to say there aren’t some poultry farmers out there that haven’t switched to the newer operating style.

Antler Dirt products have compost added to it and are put through a further heating process to kill any potentially dangerous bacteria. Simultaneously, good bacteria that builds soil is added. Antler Dirt is much different from raw litter. I’ve used Antler Dirt products exclusively at The Proving Grounds for five years and I’m very pleased with the results and my turkey population.

Growing Deer (and turkey) together,