Saturday, June 23, 2012

Beating the Heat of the Summer


FLOCK TIPS:
Beating the Heat of the Summer
As summer approaches, beating the heat will be a top priority for your flock. Severe heat stress can affect egg quality, size, hatchability and can increase the rate of mortality. Here are some tips to help you and your flock beat the summer heat:

Water is Key
  • It's essential to allow unlimited access to fresh, clean water.
  • Place water containers in the shade because if water is too hot or too cold your flock won't drink and egg production will suffer.
  • Waterers should be at shoulder height to help keep litter dry.
  • Grown ducks need access to water one or two inches deep in order to groom themselves. Swimming water is not a requirement but fresh drinking water is.
  • Baby turkeys may need some coaxing to drink water. For some extra coaxing place a few bright colored marbles in their water. As they peck at the marbles, their beaks will slip into the water. However, make sure to remove the marbles before the birds get big enough to swallow them.

Keep Water Clean
  • Change water if food, bedding or feces gets into the water.
  • Germs spread quickly in the summer heat. Make sure to disinfect incubators, feeders, water containers and other equipment regularly, particularly between broods.
  • Ducklings and goslings love to play in water and will quickly soil it. Use a dispenser that allows only their bills to enter. Put distance between feed and water dispensers to prevent cross contamination.

Keep Birds Cool
  • Access to shade is crucial for your flock.
  • Ventilation is critical. Make sure nothing obstructs the flow of fresh air, and don't allow ammonia to accumulate.
  • Allow for a misting fan or fogging system in a well-ventilated area.
  • To instantly reduce the heat, avoid overcrowding, by reducing the number of birds in the house.
  • Avoid unnecessary activity by not disturbing birds during the hottest part of the day.
  • Feed during the coolest hours of the day because digestion creates body heat.

Troubling Signs
  • Heat-stressed birds consume less feed, so meat-type chickens (i.e., broilers) grow more slowly and hens produce fewer eggs.
  • Since birds do not have sweat glands they cool themselves by panting, which can alter their electrolyte balance. If you suspect heat stress, ask your veterinarian about adding electrolytes to water.
  • Telltale signs of an unhealthy chicken:
    • Less active than the rest of the flock
    • Comb is pale and limp (the comb is a good barometer of health)
    • Breast is concave and the keel bone becomes prominent
    • Liquid diarrhea (versus a semisolid green and white splotch, which is normal)
    • Unusual breathing or wheezing (some panting is normal in hot weather, but not to excess)
  • If one of your chickens exhibits any of these troubling signs, talk to your veterinarian right away.

Remember, birds experience a major moult (shedding feathers) in late summer, so don't be surprised if they temporarily devote most of their calories to replacing their feathers and maintaining body temperature instead of producing eggs. It is essential to provide a good quality feed during this time. Have a wonderful summer!

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT:
A Healthier Egg with Purina® Layena® Plus Omega-3
The chance to give your flock something they truly enjoy would be reason enough to try Purina® Layena® Plus Omega-3 pellets poultry feed made with whole grain, but it's what you can't see that makes Purina® Layena® Plus Omega-3 poultry feed truly unique.

Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid necessary for proper heart and brain function, growth and development. Because our body cannot manufacture Omega-3 on its own, Omega-3 has to come from our diet. What better way than through fresh eggs? Purina® Layena® Plus Omega-3 significantly enhances the Omega-3 content of backyard eggs through added flaxseed. It's formulated to produce at least 200 mg Omega-3 per large egg*—300% more Omega-3 than a typical egg.
  • 200 mg Omega per large egg*
  • Vegetarian formula without added antibiotics or hormones
  • Enhanced with Vitamin E for healthy birds and wholesome eggs
  • Complete Feed – no oyster shell or grit required
Purina® Layena® Plus Omega-3 is a 16 percent-protein, high-calcium ration formulated for top-producing laying birds once they reach 18 weeks of age. To try this feed and others and See the Difference it makes with your animals, visit www.purinadifference.com to register for free coupons to take the 60-day feeding trial.

* This is based on a diet of Layena® Plus Omega-3 exclusively for at least 3 weeks and a large egg (50g). Results may vary with factors such as total diet and hen health. A typical egg has up to 65 mg Omega 3.


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