Recommendations for heat stress prevention in farm birds

The National Agrifood Health and Quality Service (Senasa) recommends poultry producers and producers to take preventive measures to avoid losses related to heat thermal stress.The thermal conditions for birds must be appropriate to their age and development stage and it is necessary to avoid extreme levels of heat, humidity and cold.

Ambient temperature together with the humidity level determine the risk of thermal stress.The temperature and humidity index (ITI) is a number used to assess whether environmental conditions are stressful for animals.

Birds are homeeros animals, this means that - despite fluctuations in ambient temperature - they are capable of constantly conserving their body temperature.To do this, they use different mechanisms.For example, if the bird is hot, you can reduce body temperature by the convection mechanism, extending its wings to increase contact with the coldest air.

Another way to reduce body temperature is by evaporation.When the temperature inside the shed is very high, the birds gasp to increase the flow of air on the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract, which entails an energy expenditure.This can have serious consequences if the gasoline extends over time, because it alters the body-base balance of the organism and can cause death.

Caloric stress signs

It is important to identify the heat stress signs that can demonstrate birds to address and improve environmental conditions.Some of these signs are:

Increase in water consumption;decrease in food consumption;extended wings;lethargy or less activity;gasp: accelerated breathing and with an open beak;darkening of the skin in adult birds;Increase in the number of thin shells, reduction in the size and production of eggs in posture birds;and removal of the heat source and with each other and liquid deposits in baby chicks.

Recomendaciones para la prevención del estrés térmico por calor en aves de granja

Prevention measures

It is important to keep a record of temperature and moisture in the sheds.Temperature measurement should be carried out at the level of animals, since it can vary with height.In addition, it is important to consider that the temperature inside the cages can be much higher than the air temperature measured in the halls.

For adult birds

Avoid annoying birds during the hottest hours of the day.Try to adjust staff schedules and lighting programs so that routine work is carried out early in the morning or at night.

Decrease accommodation density.Increase air speed at bird level.According to the temperature and moisture levels of the sheds, you can use nebulizers and vaporizers.Remember that when moisture is high (greater than 70%) it is not recommended to evaporate water.

Use sprinklers on the roof to refresh the inside of the sheds.You can also place overthe and/or half shadow on the sides.Maximize the cooling of the sheds during the night to prolong the moderate temperature period until the next morning and give the animals time to recover.

Try to offer them fresh water (ideal at 20 ° C), in sufficient quantity and accessible to all birds.Protect drinking water from direct sunlight.Avoid feeding in the hottest hours.For example, adjust the lighting program to motivate food consumption during the freshest period of the day.

Adecute the composition of the diet according to the recommendations of a professional.Pay special attention to the supply of high digestibility ingredients and amino acid levels, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, vitamins and antioxidants.Try that the bed remains dry.Provides sufficient shadow for all birds, preventing them from piled up.

In extreme cases, the intensity of light goes down during the hottest hours to reduce bird activity.Has a contingency plan in cases of heat waves, which contemplates sufficient measures to avoid the suffering of birds and unnecessary losses.

Remember that totally feathered birds, the heaviest breeds and those hosted in cages are the most heat stress -sensitive and need additional care.

For babies chicks

Unlike adult birds, baby chicks act as poiquilothermos, that is, it cannot control body temperature by themselves.Therefore it is essential to extreme care at this stage of life.

At the reception of baby chicks it is necessary.The shed temperature must be between 30 and 32 ° C throughout the first week.Then, it must be kept at 26 ° C.

During transport

Avoid transporting birds on very hot days and high humidity.If you must transport them, make it early in the morning or at night.Place less birds in each transport box.In the vehicle, keep some empty transport boxes to increase ventilation.

Faced with any questions, consult with your veterinarian accredited in avian health, send an email to the animal welfare program [email protect] and/or the National Avian Health Program [Email Protected] or communicate with the headquarters of the centerRegional Buenos Aires Norte, in the city of Chivilcoy, to the phones (02346) 436271/72/73.

Remember that contemplating these measures will collaborate to improve animal welfare and result in benefits for the different actors of this livestock chain.