Project news Heat plan for poultry

07/06/2021 Source: pluimveeloket

How can we develop a reliable heat action plan for the poultry sector that can be adapted to the specific needs of the farm? In the LA project COOLCHICKS, ILVO, Proefbedrijf Pluimveehouderij, Pehestat, Ghent University and Lanupro are looking for improvement strategies.

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The overall goal of this LA track is to provide the poultry sector with a farm-specific heat action plan. Several measures are recommended for reducing heat stress, ranging from adapting feed and water management to applying climatization and housing techniques. This advice is very valuable, but with climate change and the higher probability of heat waves, more efforts are required to keep animals free from heat stress.

In addition to specific knowledge, a company-specific action plan with concrete improvement strategies for the Flemish poultry farmer is missing. To this end, the following sub-objectives are put forward:

  1. Relevant animal parameters will be determined to quantify the consequences of heat stress
  2. The impact of potential incubation, management, feeding, water, climate, and housing strategies as well as combinations on production, health, and animal welfare under standardized conditions will be evaluated.
  3. Implement and/or evaluate good practice techniques on individual practicing farms.

It is essential to predict in advance the tipping point at which chickens will experience heat stress, and to do so on a farm by farm basis. Therefore it will be determined which parameters or possible combinations are most predictive. This will result in

  1. The development of a science-based online tool, indicative of how to start the heat action plan and
  2. Provision of a farm-specific heat action plan with recommendations around effective, economically and practically feasible measures.

This action plan should make better support the Flemish poultry sector and strengthen it economically. Heat stress reduction in poultry provides a greater return on investment through reduced mortality and health problems and increased production results.

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Evelyne Delezie

Expert in small livestock husbandry

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