Are you looking for confirmed strategies on how to reduce heat stress in poultry? This article discusses the approved methods that anyone can implement immediately. Without proper management, heat stress can undermine the productivity of your poultry birds and reduce your profits greatly. In 2003 alone, heat stress contributed to over $165 million loss for global poultry farmers. The following are the top five proven ways to reduce heat stress in poultry.
Increase Water Supply
During peak periods, poultry birds produce more heat than they can lose. This instance leads to net heat gain and predisposes them to several physiological changes. For instance, they lose appetite for feed, convert feed to meat or egg poorly, and suffer low immunity. Cool, clean water helps to minimize the effect of the heat. Moreover, it regulates the imbalance in their body temperature.
Add Electrolyte to their Drinking Water
Heat stress disturbs the normal electrolyte composition in poultry. Consequently, birds may refuse to drink or do so sluggishly. To increase their appetite for water, you should add electrolytes to their drinking water. You may formulate yours or buy a premixed electrolyte. For instance, dissolved salt, when combined with other items will be helpful. This act helps to regulate the ionic composition in their bodies.
Reschedule their Feeding to Cooler Hours
Birds convert some of their feed into heat. When you feed them during peak temperature hours, you subject them to two-fold heat – from the environment and the feed. Moreover, you can reschedule their feeding to early hours before the sun rises, and shortly after it goes down. That way, you only have to cope with environmental heat.
Have A Sizable Number Of Birds Per House
Another proven method to reduce heat stress in poultry is to regulate the number of birds in each house. When birds cluster around one another, they generate a substantial amount of heat. However, when there is sufficient space for birds to move around and stretch their feet, they will lose heat more effectively. Besides, experts recommend at least six square feet per chicken.
Install A Monitoring System
Relying on manual monitoring processes is an ineffective way to reduce heat stress in poultry. Before you detect an imbalance in the environment, your birds would have been suffering undetected. Besides, you will have to constantly visit your poultry houses to ascertain behavioural changes. Using an automated monitoring system allows you to track your environmental data in real-time. Penkeep leverages digital technologies to capture and transmit the weather parameters in your poultry house to your electronic devices. As a result, you have quantifiable data to implement changes on your farm.
Heat stress represents one of the major causes of increased poultry mortality across the world. In Africa where sophisticated cooling systems are not available, the consequences may be dire. However, by implementing one or all of the strategies mentioned above, you will effectively reduce heat stress in your poultry.
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