Cruelty and neglect of poultry globally is an animal welfare crisis.
Heat pain is caused by high temperatures especially when humidity and low air flow are present. All of the factors inside the infographic provided on this page can contribute to the susceptibility of a bird to heat pain. All animals experience heat pain however if the they are older, younger, pregnant or heavy, it means they will struggle even more to deal with heat. Birds (eg broilers and heavy breeds) often suffer from injuries such as broken bones in crowded factory farms with limited space for movement. Any injury causes stress and stress impacts the immune system making the bird more prone to disease and its ability to deal with heat.
What are the effects of prolonged exposure outside of poultry’s comfort zone?
- Organ Failure
- Sudden & Painful Death
- Compromised Immune System
- Respiratory Disease
- Poor Egg Production
- Slowness & Lethargy
- Rapid Weight Loss
AT WHAT TEMPERATURE DO YOU NEED TO ALLEVIATE HEAT PAIN
When the temperature reaches 20 degrees Celsius you are already outside of the comfort zone of most birds. At 24 degrees Celsius you need to consider ways to cool them down, particularly when humidity is high. You will notice signs of distress. Having a gentle sprinkler handy or access to a bath is one way to cool their wings their wings and body..
WHAT YOU NEED TO PROVIDE POULTRY TO REDUCE HEAT PAIN
- Ensure the bird housing is under a tree or other shade structure. Direct sunlight on housing creates a hot box which offers little relief to birds.
- Clean water at all times – keep water out of the sun.
- Provide shade shelter to ensure protection from movement of sun at all times of the day/protect against heavy rain/hail/wind chill
- Avoid tin or corrugated metal sheets which heat up.
- Place hail bails or foam box with plywood inside to hold ensuring there is a place at the side of the coup near the roof for hot air to escape
- Provide enough room for birds to move around easily with plenty of airflow without overcrowding.
- Having a run in the shade is ideal
- Ensure the birds are relaxed
Food in the heat
- Avoid cracked corn in summer
- Provide electrolytes if possible
- Provide cabbage or lettuce or a watermelon. All contain lots of water.
- Freeze a 2 litre container filled with greens such as spinach, lettuce, herbs, comfrey, etc