Summer is a challenging season for poultry farming. Many precautions must be taken right from the beginning of the season. Samita Saini of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University said poultry have thick plumage and do not have sweat glands. During summer months, these birds consume less food and more water due to which factors such as growth rate, egg <http://en.engormix.com/MA-poultry-industry/topics/egg-quality_t336-p1.htm> production, eggshell quality and hatchability are adversely affected, resulting in more deaths than usual.
Disease incidence in the flock also increases because of wet litter, immunosuppression, vaccination failures and drinking water contamination.
Saini further said there should be a grass cover in surrounding areas of the poultry house which will reduce reflection of sunlight into the house. Vegetation should be kept trimmed to avoid blocking air movement and to help reducing rodent problems. Shady trees should be located where they do not restrict air movement.
To help birds cope with rising temperatures, a reliable, clean, and cool source of water must be available. Electrolytes can be added to drinking water to replace those that are lost while excretion. The number of waterers and frequency of watering should be increased during summer months.
While purchasing new stock, time of purchase should not clash with acute summer months, especially during the productive stage. Before the onset of summers, unproductive and weak birds should be removed and stocking density should be reduced. Feed withdrawal from 9 am to 4.30 pm is very effective in reducing heat stress mortality.
Feed intake should not coincide with the hottest part of the day (2 to 3 pm) since digestion produces nearly seven per cent additional heat in the body. Crude protein level in feed should not be increased and only protein sourced from vegetables should be used.