Canadian Poultry Magazine

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Summer and Heat Stress


July 21, 2009
By Mojtaba Yegani

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July 21, 2009 – Summer has already arrived in many parts of the world and heat stress is again in the center of attention.  How do you deal with heat stress on your farm? 

July 21, 2009 – Summer has already arrived in many parts of the world and heat stress is again in the center of attention. Decreased feed intake, lower than expected body weight gain, poor feed efficiency, reduction in egg production/eggshell quality/hatchability, and increased daily mortality are adverse effects of heat stress often seen in meat- and egg-type poultry flocks. The magnitude of heat stress-induced problems may vary from region to region and from one farm to another (in the same region).

These effects may not be even the same in different barns of a farm. There is no doubt that temperature itself is a determining factor but farm structure (e.g. barn design, ventilation system, stocking density, litter condition) and the way that farm staff handle heat stress are also important and can influence the outcome of this problem.  Birds, depending on type and stage of production, react differently to heat stress conditions.

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Strategies such as changing lighting program, temporary feed restriction or feeding at specific times of the day, increasing density of nutrients in diet as feed intake decreases during heat stress, providing birds with extra electrolytes and vitamins (especially through drinking water) may be of some help. It is always recommended to provide birds with cool water during heat stress but I am not sure how this can happen when the temperature is something around 45-50 ºC.  

How do you deal with heat stress in your farm?

For further reading:

Defra Booklet on coping with heat stress
Hot weather management (site with various links)


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