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Indian Poultry Farmers Advised to Prepare for Winter

30 October 2013

PUNJAB, INDIA - Temperature management in the poultry house is an important pre-condition for better production and health of the birds, according to a leading academic.

With drop in mercury level and change in weather, poultry farmers may have to face some challenges of low environmental temperature, poor ventilation and decreased photoperiod.

Times of India reports that this information was shared by A.L. Saini, head of the department, livestock production and management at Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) in Ludhiana. He said that these seasonal fluctuations may directly or indirectly influence the egg and meat production. Therefore, farmer must be ready to take on these challenges by adopting some winter stress alleviating practices to overcome economic losses, he added.

"Egg production has a tendency to slump down in winter because of reduced hours of natural light. Since hens need 16 or more hours of day light to lay well to their potential, therefore provision of consider switch on light bulbs in the laying hen sheds is must. This will encourage hen to lay more number of eggs.

"To protect the birds from cold, gunny bags or plastic sheet curtains can be installed on the side walls of shed. However, don't restrict ventilation in an attempt to conserve warmth. Good ventilation in the chicken shed is must, because chickens naturally produce a lot of moisture in their breath and droppings," he said.

Dr Saini explained that poor ventilation inside their house may create an ammonia build-up, which will affect the poultry's eyes and respiratory system and makes them sick.

"Poultry need plenty of fresh air circulating in and around the poultry shed. So care should be taken not to cover entire side wall but ensure sufficient open area towards the ceiling of shed to facilitate escape of foul air. To provide warm and cozy environment, increase in the depth of litter material (bedding) by six inch. Free access to balanced diet and fresh water must be available to chickens of all age", A.L. Saini told the newspaper.

"Different age groups of poultry birds have unique requirements and abilities to bear cold stress. However, day-old chicks are the most vulnerable and a temperature of 95°F during the first week is must. Chicks chirping loudly, or huddling in groups, are most likely feel too cold and need immediate attention and remedial measure. Try to feed them warm water and place them under the brooders (heating device)," he advised.

Giving tips on winter stress alleviating management, Times of India reports A.L. Saini advising that,  before the arrival of chicks, the brooder room should be pre-heated for a day to 95°F, curtains should be installed on the side wall of chicken houses without restricting ventilation, the depth of litter material (bedding) should be increased and finally, a minimum 'daylight' period of 16 hours should be provided for laying hens, using artificial light, if necessary.

ThePoultrySite News Desk

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