Electrolyte supplementation to alleviate severe heat stress


Meat chickens are highly susceptible to heat stress, particularly during periods of prolonged hot weather events in shed conditions and also during transport. Heatwaves in Australia are expected to become a regular occurrence, so there is a need to identify and implement strategies that complement current strategies to reduce heat stress in meat chickens, such as using electrolytes.

This research is a continuation of project ‘PRJ-009120: Electrolyte supplementation of broilers prior to transport’ which found the adverse effects of hot weather are observed when the outside temperature is >36°C, which relates to an inside shed temperature of 26–28°C, and found that electrolytes in the water supply can alleviate this stress.

The project aims to determine the effect of electrolytes in the drinking water of meat chickens exposed to shed temperatures of 32°C, which is equivalent to an outside temperature of 40°C that some of the major chicken growing regions experience. The project will include controlled studies, as well as application on a commercial farm.

Related research

This project is a continuation of PRJ-009120: Electrolyte supplementation of broilers prior to transport, which assessed the impacts of electrolyte supplementation in water supplied to meat chickens prior to transport, to determine its effect on dehydration and carcass weight loss.

Project details

Project code: PRJ-010953
Principal investigator: Jeff Downing
Research organisation: University of Sydney
Project duration: July 2018 – September 2019

Contact

Dr Jeff Downing, University of Sydney, jeff.downing@sydney.edu.au 

Georgie Townsend, Manager, Research – Chicken Meat RD&E Program – Whole Supply Chain, AgriFutures Australia, georgina.townsend@agrifutures.com.au

Learn more

Download a copy of the project summary here.

Visit the AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program website.

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