1. The occupational exposure to inhalable dust and ammonia of 12 stockmen working in barn systems conforming to the UK Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Freedom Foods requirements was measured and compared with established limits for occupational exposure. The influence of the type of task upon the daily exposure was assessed and comparisons of daily exposure were made with that of battery cage system stockmen. 2. The mean inhalable dust exposures experienced by poultry stockmen working in barn systems was 10.8 mg/m3 (9.5 mg/m3, time-weighted average), for a complete working day. This was greater (P < 0.01) than the mean dust exposure measured in current cage systems of 4.8 mg/m3 (4.4 mg/m3, time-weighted average). The individual values of dust exposure for 4 of the 12 barn stockmen exceeded the occupational exposure standard (OES) of 10.0 mg/m3 for inhalable dust, whereas that of all of the individual cage stockmen taking part in this study did not. 3. The mean ammonia exposure experienced by poultry stockmen working in barn systems was 14 ppm (11 ppm, time-weighted average), for a complete working day. This also was greater (P < 0.01) than the mean ammonia exposure measured in current cage systems of 8 ppm (7 ppm, time-weighted average). None of the individual values of ammonia exposures for both barn and cage system stockmen taking part in this study exceeded the OESs of 25 ppm, although the short-term limit of 35 ppm for 15 min was exceeded on a number of occasions. 4. Current methods for assessing the combined effects of dust and ammonia indicated that 8 of the 12 barn stockmen were at risk compared with 1 of the 8 cage system stockmen. 5. The average dust burden in daily common tasks such as maintenance and collecting floor eggs ranged from 5 to 15 mg/m3, while intermittent common tasks such as nest box checks and litter spreading ranged from 13 to 35 mg/m3. Tasks that had the highest exposure values included sweeping and partition removal, ranging from 63.3 to 70.7 mg/m3. 6. Designs of the typical barn systems investigated offer little scope for reducing airborne dust for common daily tasks. Personal respiratory protection while carrying out tasks that result in high dust concentrations in barns is advisable.