This report provides a summary of two studies evaluating the use of electrolyte supplementation to help alleviate adverse effects for meat chickens subjected to high ambient temperatures.
Heat stress is considered one of the important factors affecting the profitability of the poultry industry in hot climates. Significant welfare concerns and economic losses occur every year due to impaired feed efficiency, poorer growth rates and potential mortalities. It is difficult to find information about the total losses to heat stress and costs to production in Australia. Since 2003, there has been an increase of about 52% in meat chicken numbers processed in Australia. In the future, there are two key points to consider: amid global warming, the cost of heat stress to the industry is likely to increase; and any final costing needs to account for welfare concerns associated with heat stress.
The report is targeted at the service managers of the large and medium integrated companies, industry technical support, and farm owners and managers. It provides strategies to help alleviate heat stress.