Control of heat stress in poultry

Pashu Sandesh, 29th October 2018

Dr. Mahendra Kumar Meena, Dr. Deepikesh Joshi and Dr. Nethee Deori

Heat stress in poultry is described as the effect of bad weather conditions on birds (chickens or ducks) such as high temperature, high humidity, and low wind speed. The impact of heat stress is highly negative on birds. Heat stroke in poultry results in depletion of minerals present in birds. Due to this, the condition of acidosis begins to develop in poultry birds. Heat stress in chicken may sometimes result in high mortality rate.  In order to avoid such condition, heat stress management is required in poultry.  All the safeguards and precautions should be set under the guidance of this heat stress management system in poultry. The heat formula is especially designed to prevent any event of heat stroke in poultry.

Chicken heat-stroke symptoms

In the days of summer months, especially, in peak hours between 3.00 P.M- 6.00 P.M, heat stress in chickens or heat stroke in chickens is the common problem.  If we are operating a poultry farm then you must be aware of signs of heat stress in chickens. Identification or recognition of the chicken heat stroke symptoms at the initial phase of suffering is very necessary in order to avoid any mortality in poultry. We are required to be very professional to identify the signs of heat stress in chickens. Chicken stroke has always been the main issue in the poultry farm. There are various signs which confirm the occurring of heat stroke in chickens and heat stress in broilers. Some of the chicken heat stroke symptoms are reduced feed consumption, wings and legs outstretched along with reduced egg production. There are some other signs of heat stress in chickens such as increased cannibalism, slowness and lethargy with increased mortality. We should supply anti-acidosis supplement which neutralises the effect of heat stroke in chickens and heat stress in broilers and prevents heat stress poultry from being a witness of high mortality.

Control of heat stroke in Poultry 

At high atmospheric temperatures, the bird starts panting as a result of which mineral deposits in the bird start depleting. As a result, a condition called Acidosis starts developing in the bird at peak hours (3.00 P.M - 6.00 P.M). A heavy mortality is seen at this time. Though supplementation of electrolytes is also helpful at this hour but the results may not be instant. Moreover, electrolytes are required to be given in regular feed which is quite expensive for the farm. We need an alkaline amino acid at this juncture to avoid acidosis. Feed supplement helps in preventing Acidosis in the bird during peak hours of heat and thus the mortality is minimised. A pouch of 500 gm is sufficient for 10,000 birds and this is not to be given regularly. Whenever the environmental temperature is above 95-100 °F, it is to be given through top dressing at 12.00 P.M - 1.00 P.M. It helps to bypass the evening mortality time 4.00 P.M - 5.00 P.M Feed supplementation in peak summer at accurate time is one of the major solution to heat stress. This will boost egg production and minimise heat stress.

Thus, from the aforementioned facts, we can see that managing heat stress in poultry during summer months is necessary for the poultry farm owner to prevent high mortality rates in the flock. The steps to control such stress should be kept in mind by the owner to earn commercial profit from the chicken flock. Economical and appropriate management steps taken at a right time will always be beneficial for the flock, thus ensuring high profit for the farm owner and increasing the stability of the enterprise.

Dr. Mahendra Kumar Meena1, Dr. Deepikesh Joshi2 and Dr. Nethee Deori3

  1. Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Nutrition, 2. Assistant Professor, Department of Livestock Production Management, 3. Assistant Professor, Department of Livestock Production Management 

                     Apollo College of Veterinary Medicine, Jaipur (Rajasthan)

 Corresponding author: Dr. Mahendra Kumar Meena