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Researchers evaluate effects of heat stress in poults

Findings indicated that heat stress may be associated with increased incidence of pendulous crop and decreased performance.

Krissa Welshans

May 11, 2023

1 Min Read
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Iowa State University

Many turkey poults may experience poor starting performance, with some turkey flocks even suffering mortalities of up to 3% within the first three weeks of life. Factors, including delayed feeding, starvation, genetics and age of the parental flock, have been investigated, but the true etiology remains elusive. While heat stress can cause serious physiological dysfunction that may result in heat stroke, cardiac dysfunction, and death, its impact on young poult health has not been investigated.

To learn more, a newly completed research project at North Carolina State University evaluated the effects of heat stress in poults. The research was made possible by USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation in part by an endowing Foundation gift from Prestage Farms and proceeds from the International Poultry Expo, part of the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE). The research is part of the association’s comprehensive research program encompassing all phases of poultry and egg production and processing. 

Dr. Rocio Crespo at North Carolina State University investigated the effect of heat stress on blood parameters as an objective measure of poult comfort and its association with early poult mortality. The objectives of the project were to: 1) identify how temperature and relative humidity affect blood parameters of turkey poults and 2) investigate whether heat stress is associated with increased incidence of flip-over, dilated cardiomyopathy, higher mortality and overall poorer performance in turkey poults.

Findings indicated that heat stress may be associated with increased incidence of pendulous crop and decreased performance. However, further research is needed to better understand the effect of environment on blood chemistry.

The research summary can be found on the USPOULTRY website.

 

About the Author(s)

Krissa Welshans

Livestock Editor

Krissa Welshans grew up on a crop farm and cow-calf operation in Marlette, Michigan. Welshans earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and master’s degree in public policy from New England College. She and her husband Brock run a show cattle operation in Henrietta, Texas, where they reside with their son, Wynn.

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