Heat stress is one of the environmental factor that affects poultry production world wide. It has detrimental effects on production performance, immunity, livability and overall health of livestocks.
The following are the ways to manage heat stress in poultry:
- Cool, clean and drinking water of good quality must be served to the birds at all times and it must be easily accessible to your bird as it will help keep your birds cool;
- Excellent ventilation: it is essential to create comfortable environment for your birds therefore make sure your birds are in well ventilated area in which there is nothing to obstructing the airflow and circulatory fans. In some farms, planting many of plantains suckers is a tradition, it should be properly spaced so that flow of air will not be blocked;
- Install evaporative cooling system: such as misting and fogging systems that help the birds bodies to cool;
- Feed at the coolest part of the day: this is essential in heat stress management because birds produce heat during process of digestion, and when thus heat is combined with the significant rise in body temperatures that occurs during the late afternoon of a hot day there is a great risk of heat stress for the bird. Therefore, poultry workers must resume to work very early so as to feed the birds before 7 am;
- increase the energy content of the diet ;
- Balance the Amino acids level and lower protein levels will be helpful;
- Use good vitamins that contains amino acids and electrolytes;
- Always supplement drinking water with electrolytes, during heat stress as the electrolytes balance in birds is altered as a result of panting. Use of electrolytes will help to balance electrolytes in the birds and increase the bird’s water intake;
- Good Spacing: Overcrowding of birds should be prevented. Birds produce body heat and reducing the number of birds in a house you will reduce the amount of body produced in the house;
- Roof lagging and fresh palm fronts can be arranged on the roof to reduce the sunlight intensity;
- Remove litter regularly and maintain good biosecurity;
- Avoid Stress: any form of disturbances or operations that will stress the birds must be avoided as it lead to loss of birds and production ;
- Cooling Drinking Water: this can be achieved by flushing water lines 2 – 3 times daily and adding ice cubes will help to increase consumption of feed and optimum egg production in the hot period;
- Drinking water from overheat water tanks can be become hot if exposed to direct sunlight. These water tanks should be covered or placed inside the house;
- Supplement of Vitamin C will be beneficial to the birds during heat stress that can lead to the poor interior egg quality, poor egg shell quality,increased in egg cracks and reduced egg size will be addressed.
Lastly, considering the huge loss in cured by poultry farmers during the hot period it is imperative to follow the above recommendations in order to maximize profit.