Hot weather management in the poultry house
Heat stress can result in significant losses to producers with all types of poultry. The most obvious loss is due to mortality.
Dead birds can be counted and a dollar value assessed. Unfortunately, there are other losses in production efficiency, such as reduced growth rate, egg production, shell quality, and egg size and hatchability, which are very real. All are much more difficult to evaluate. Poultry producers should be aware that losses in production efficiency will occur long before significant mortality rates are observed.
The purpose of this publication is to provide guidelines to minimise heat stress in poultry houses.
A number of features of the building, such as orientation, amount of insulation, and amount of roof overhang, have a direct bearing on inside temperatures. The orientation of the building should be such that prevailing winds are used to an advantage and such that the sun does not shine directly into the building. In Oklahoma an east-west orientation will usually accomplish both objectives.
If roof insulation was not included at the time of construction, adding it later could certainly help prevent the sunÂ¡Â¯s radiant heat from causing increases in internal house temperatures.
Insulation would also be beneficial in the cold months to help conserve heat. An R value of 18 is recommended for Oklahoma, and insulation should extend to the end of the roof overhang to prevent radiant heat penetration through the sidewalls.
The correct length of roof overhang can also prevent direct sunlight from entering the house. In Oklahoma the overhang should extend at least two feet beyond the sidewall.
In buildings with insulated ceilings adequate ventilation should be provided above the ceiling. In this way a heat buildup, which would reduce the effectiveness of the insulation, would be prevented.
The extra ventilation would also eliminate moisture problems in winter.
The article also discusses site management, ventilation and methods of evaporative cooling. Other methods, such as whitewashing the roof to reduce radiant heat and cooling the roof by sprinkling water are also suggested. In addition changes to feeding and watering patterns are also detailed.
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Article made possible through the contribution of the Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.