"We do the best we can to keep our white birds as happy and healthy as possible, but sometimes mother nature doesn’t make that easy," says our White Bird Flock supervisor, Trudy Deremer. Extended heat in the summer has various effects on our birds that staff must combat.
The Challenges Our Birds Face During Extended Periods of Heat
White birds are like us when it is super hot. They want to drink water but not eat. The decreased appetite can decrease weight gain for the processing birds and negatively affect our breeders. If it is hot for extended periods of time, and the breeders are not eating as they should, the males’ semen may not be as potent, resulting in fertility issues. If the hens don’t eat as much as they should, they can go out of production, meaning they stop laying eggs. Artificial insemination is not a good experience for birds that have had too much water and not enough food. It can cause the hens to vomit during the process, causing a messy situation for the birds and staff.
Wetter fecal matter from too much water is also not a positive experience for the birds. It can cause the air to be increasingly humid. The wet manure creates damp bedding in the barns, when that occurs, we remove it so birds don’t lay on the wet bedding. If the bedding doesn't get removed from the grow-out rooms, the bedding can get moldy and cause aspergillosis in the birds from inhaling the mold spores. Aspergillosis is a major respiratory infection, so it is an important reason we are so attentive to keeping our barns clean and dry.
Our Attentive Staff Keep Everything Cool & Clean
Our staff is kept busy during long periods of heat and humidity. We increase fan use to keep the air flowing, and the damp bedding is attended to daily. We have drying agents that we use, but we need more than this to solve our problems with wet bedding. Removal of the bedding daily is critical during extended heat waves. As long as we keep up with good management of the bird barns and as bad as the effects of heat sound, we can protect our birds by keeping the air moving and the barns clean. And before we know it, the heat lets up!
Trudy shared one last thought, "Staff also struggle with the heat, as we wear uniforms in the rooms, but we all like ice cream to cool down and are thankful for our showers after work!