Controlling Poultry Heat StressPrint
Do you know the ideal temperature range to keep your chickens healthy and comfortable? Generally, chickens behave well at temperatures up to 27 degrees. But, if they go higher or if humidity levels increase, then you might notice some negative effects. So, how do you control them? How do you help your chickens combat the heat? More water, a good airflow and of course, some shade pretty much sums it up. Visit a poultry store, and you would come across numerous products that can help you control poultry heat stress.
What if you don’t control poultry temperatures? Well, your chickens would suffer from dehydration, weakened immune system and in rare cases, even death due to hyperthermia. Can’t get any worse, right? Let’s talk in detail about the whys and wherefores of controlling poultry heat stress.
What temperatures can chicken bear?
Most of the chickens can adapt to 27 degrees centigrade, but in some cases, you may begin to see negative effects even when temperature is 24 degrees centigrade or more. As the temperature rises, your chickens will start panting and try to lose some heat. Humidity plays its part. If humidity levels are too high, then chickens will still pant even at lower temperatures. Generally, a 10% increase in humidity levels increases the ‘feel like’ temperature by 3 degrees centigrade.
Does temperature only have an effect on hot days? If for some reason you are moving your chickens, they may still suffer from heat stress. So, when taking them somewhere, place your chickens in boxes or carriers that are well ventilated. And make sure that the car trailer, boot or wherever you have kept them, doesn’t get too warm.
What are the side effects of heat stress?
Heat stress can induce the following negative effects.
- Chickens start to lay smaller eggs when temperatures rise. If it becomes too hot, then they may even stop laying eggs altogether.
- Chickens become dehydrated; in rare cases, this may even cause death if you don’t control heat stress.
- The feathers of a chicken begin to moult if there are too many consecutive hot days.
- The immune system of a chicken weakens, upon which they may not be able to ward off diseases anymore.
- If the sunlight is too much or strikes the eggs for too long, the color of the shell may change.
How can you keep your chickens protected?
- Ensure proper airflow in the chicken coup; make sure ventilation is good.
- Provide shade to your chickens through trees or fencing so that the sun doesn’t harm them.
- Give them water in greater quantities than you normally do. If they aren’t drinking it that much, add some flavor to encourage them. And oh, make sure the water is fresh and clean.
- Provide some air to the upper airway of the chickens so as to evaporate moisture; this will cool them down.