Monday, July 22, 2024
Home Farming Tips Caring For Chicken During Hot Season

Caring For Chicken During Hot Season

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Umar Nsubuga

Harriet Bugembe who started rearing layers recently asks why her poultry open their beaks and breathe rapidly during hot days.

Samuel Oyo, a famous chicken farmer who has been rearing layers for more than 10 years says this is referred to as panting. Unlike human beings, poultry do not sweat.

So, they have to find other ways of getting rid of heat on hot days. He says when the weather becomes hot, they open their mouths and pant.

In so doing they blow out the excess heat.

At the same time, by panting, the birds unintentionally show you that the heat is unbearable. In a way, this is a warning signal, because too much heat causes stress to the birds and reduces their productivity.

Oyo says layers that are stressed by heat will produce fewer and smaller eggs while the broilers will grow slowly.

Heat also reduces appetite and the efficiency of feed utilisation. That is, for the same amount of feed, birds will produce fewer eggs or flesh, he says.

When birds feel too hot for many days, they begin losing feathers leaving parts of the body naked. This is an early warning to the farmer.

To reduce heat stress, he explains that poultry should be kept in a well-ventilated house that allows in free but gentle air flow to cool the room.

“Provide them with cool water all the time and avoid overcrowding. If you have a fridge, you may add some chilled water to the drinkers so that the water available for birds to drink is a little cooler than tap water. This helps to cool the birds”, he says.

He adds that a farmer has to be careful not to make the water too cold for them. Where it is economically viable and feasible, you may put on a fan during the hot hours.

“It is important to keep monitoring how the birds are faring to save them from stress. Stress to the birds automatically means a fall in income. It is for the same reason that birds which peck at each other should be got rid of,” he explains.

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