High Temperatures Cause Poultry Losses

ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA - High summer temperatures are causing losses in terms of bird mortality, egg drops and financial pressure on producers.
calendar icon 3 June 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

Even as monsoon clouds have started hovering over the sky, promising the much-needed relief, poultry farmers in the north coastal districts continue to feel the heat following the death of 250,000 birds because of soaring mercury and high humidity in the last two months.

Times of India reports that, while the poultry industry suffered an estimated (as claimed) 50-million rupee (INR) loss, production has dropped by 20 per cent in the districts of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam. Because of the high mortality rate of the birds, farmers who bought each chick at the rate of INR33 two months ago could not even recover the cost of the feed.

Normally, feed of four kilos in 40 days helps the chick to grow into a two-kilo bird. The chick price and 4kg feed comprising soy, maize and others cost the farmers nearly INR120. "But the farmers earned only INR55 to INR75 on each bird this season. This has resulted in huge losses to them," a poultry farmers association leader said.

They were also undone by the drop in egg production to the tune of 15 to 20 per cent. Poultry farmer, Sadaram Ananda Rao, of Anandapuram village said apart from the loss of birds due to heat, they ended up in losses due to dip in egg production.

Experts said the life of chicks is at great risk in summer as they do not have sweat glands to let out heat from the body. "Generally, the chicken have high temperatures in their bodies. The suitable condition for the bird farming is 32 to 33 degree Celsius. If the temperature goes up, the mortality rate too rises," veterinarian Dr Karunakar explained.

While the north coastal region produces three million broiler chicken a month, the consumption revolves around 2.0 to 2.5 million birds every month. Each bird, in general, weighs 2.0 to 2.5kg. "That means about one crore people of this region would have consumed 4,000 to 5,000 tons of chicken every month, according to an expert.

However, the poultry traders said the situation was not as bad as it was in the last three years. "This year the losses were only to the tune of 50 per cent," Broiler Association of Greater Vizag (BAG) former president, N. Nageswara Rao, told Times of India. About 600,000 to 700,000 birds had died due to severe heat wave last year, he recalled.

BAG president, T. Adinarayana, said despite the setbacks in the form of death of birds this year, poultry chicken of north coastal districts had a great demand in Orissa and West Bengal.

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