Keep your chickens cool to prevent losses in hot weather.Almost every summer we hear of chickens dying by the thousands during heatwaves. While heat stress is somewhat less of a problem in homestead flocks, you might be interested in knowing about experiments that have demonstrated a 30 percent increase in survival rates under conditions of extreme heat (103 [degrees] and 50 percent humidity).
You merely "starve" the birds.
The reason fasting increases survival rates in hot weather, according to Bob Teeter of Oklahoma State University Oklahoma State University, at Stillwater; land-grant and state supported; coeducational; chartered 1890, opened 1891 as Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College, renamed 1957. where the feed withdrawal technique was demonstrated, is that birds that are digesting feed are producing heat. The extra heat from metabolizing that feed can raise their body temperatures one or two degrees. In extreme heat, that can be enough to kill them.
Of course, chickens (and other animals) stop eating when they are heat stressed, but by that time it's too late. It takes four to six hours for a broiler's digestive tract digestive tract
See alimentary canal.
The organs that perform digestion, or changing of food into a form that can be absorbed by the body. to empty, Teeter explains. So the idea is to withhold feed before the birds are subjected to extremely high temperatures. Teeter suggests withdrawing feed about six hours before the temperature is expected to reach 90 [degrees]. (We can already hear some readers saying, "Around here the temperature never goes below 90 [degrees] in the summer!" However, the actual temperature at which birds are heat stressed depends on the relative humidity relative humidity
The ratio of the amount of water vapor in the air at a specific temperature to the maximum amount that the air could hold at that temperature, expressed as a percentage. . As humidity rises, the temperature at which birds are heat stressed gets lower.)
The bird can be put back on feed when the mercury hits the same temperature on the way back down.
In the OSU (Open Source UNIX) Refers to the Unix variants that are maintained as open source, which were primarily BSD Unix and Linux until Sun made its Solaris operating system open source in 2005. trials, this worked out to be about 12 hours off feed. There was a small decrease in weight gain, but this was more than compensated for by a lower death loss.
The trials, which involved only broilers, also showed that the hotter and more humid the weather, the more beneficial fasting is. At 100 [degrees] and 40 percent humidity, the difference in the survival rate between fasting and full-fed birds was only 10 percent.
Another cooling method
Teeter advises that you can also help your birds keep cool in hot weather by providing cool water. A drinking water temperature of 50 [degrees] can lower broiler broiler
a young (about 8 weeks old) male or female chicken weighing 3 to 3.5 lb. body temperatures by about two degrees, he said.
Cool water is not always enough, though. When chickens become heat stressed they squat and spread their wings, making no effort to move or drink water. One of Teeter's studies found that gently walking among such birds increased their water consumption by eight percent.
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