Heat stress is a major concern in broiler production and must have had its share of all broiler farmers in the tropics. This also affects the way the farmers plan from day 1 to marketing for broiler rearing. Failure to manage heat in broiler chickens effectively and swiftly can be disastrous. Most farmers have for heat stress lost a large percentage of their total flock.
The transport of broilers can be a major problem even at 4 weeks of age, especially when done in the afternoon without the use of a special van with temperature control provision. The heat stress solution in broiler production starts by understanding that this can be a problem. You can then consider the following factors, if you know it, that can help you succeed as a broiler farmer.
Invest in good housing
Broilers normally with strong bedding content are raised on deep litter. They can, however, also be raised in broiler cages.
While this article is not centered on discussing the pros and cons of each of the types of housing, it is noteworthy to mention that the cage system allows for a higher storage density while the deep litter system eliminates breast blisters that can be found in broilers up in cages.
Back to my point concerning good housing. The housing must have cross ventilation, in order to prevent heat stress. That is, fresh air must be allowed into the room, and heat must be removed from the flock. As basic as this measure is, it will decide whether your broiler output is going to be a success or not.
Invest in shade
Wherever possible, it is vital that you provide the broilers with additional shade, apart from their home roof. This helps to keep the atmospheric temperature cool. This can be achieved by planting trees around your broiler house. If you are running a broiler farm in the backyard, it’s easier to provide additional shade for the chickens. Commercial broiler farmers, though, also embrace the option of giving their birds shade.
Avoid large stocking density
Some farmers assume that increasing the density of stocks will help them maximize income. The reverse, however, is the case.
In fact, my theory is that if you overstock your broiler house, as the birds grow, natural forces will come to help you eliminate the excess and more. Higher stocking densities will cause heat output to rise which will do no good for your farm at best.
Invest in cool and freshwater
Cool water is another aspect that will reduce heat stress after you have taken care of the housing and the ventilation. One way to always give your chicken cool water is by providing sufficient shade for their water. Commercial farms ensure there is no direct sun exposure to the water tank. You should add ice to their water to keep them cool during the hot days for broiler farming in the backyard.
You may need to repeat that step a few times a day to make sure your birds stay cool during hot periods.
Invest in cooling fans
That applies only to commercial broiler farms where electricity is not an issue. In broiler pens, electric refrigeration fans are installed to keep the house temperature down. Because this may be an additional cost, it is usually adopted in large commercial farms where the cost can be justified by profit.
You need to understand how to keep your meat-making machines cool if you really want to make a profit as a broiler farmer. Because they have to.