Friday, July 22, 2011

Combating Heat Stress

Boy, is it hot out there!

With the recent heat wave moving through the US, we are all reminded of what we can do to make poultry more comfortable, and hopefully get them to survive.

Water is the saving elixir in heat. Due to its physical properties of heat energy, water can aid in the cooling of flocks. Flushing the watering lines with cool water may aid in getting hot birds to drink. Do not flush water lines for chicks as you risk the chance of cooling the chicks below their optimal core temperature.

In addition to flushing drinking lines/fonts, spraying the outside of the house (roof, sides and surrounding grounds) with water will drop the ambient temperature of the area a few degrees due to evaporative cooling. In humid climates this may not work well. To test, place a wick on a thermometer and dampen it with distilled water. The ability to cool with evaporation will be shown as the temperature will drop as it cools. Five degrees depressed temperature can make the difference in some flocks.

Shift some feedings to feed the birds during the coolness of the night if possible. Heat builds up in birds as they metabolize their feed. Cool air aids in getting birds to eat in hot periods.

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