What are the dangers of hot weather to hens?
Hot weather equals fewer eggs and a higher risk of death in backyard poultry. Scientific studies have confirmed that heat stress in poultry decreases feed consumption and egg production. Heat stress causes hormonal imbalances that negatively impact on fertility and immune system function.
At a cellular level, heat stress causes an increase in the production of excessive free radicals in the body leading to a condition known as ‘oxidative stress.’ At low levels, free radicals play an important role in cellular signaling but at high levels, free radicals cause damage at a molecular and cellular level because they chemically interact and destroy proteins, fats and DNA.
What is oxidative stress?
Oxidative stress occurs in the body when the number of detrimental free radicals becomes too high for the natural antioxidant defence system to detoxify their harmful effects through neutralization. The role of antioxidants in the body is to neutralise free radicals by converting them into stable molecules.
Top Tips to prevent heat stress in backyard poultry
Essential management strategies to keep birds cooler on hot days include:
Access to shade, preferably from trees
Ensure clean water stays cool all day by adding ice
Create evaporative cooling by hanging wet towels
Set up misting sprays
Offer snacks of frozen fruit, peas and carrots.
Owners can protect and improve the health of birds at risk of oxidative stress by supplementing diets with additional antioxidants. Antioxidants are specific vitamins, minerals and enzymes including:
Vitamins E and C
Superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase
Flavenoids, glutathione, lipoic acid and polyphenols.
Antioxidants are most effective when they are able to work together, so ensuring your birds have balanced levels of antioxidants contributes to better health. It is interesting to note that the optimal level of supplementation for some antioxidants is many times higher than the recommended daily minimum amounts.
Farmalogic Fancy Feathers contains vitamin C and natural-sourced vitamin E along with organic selenium and a natural, plant-derived source of superoxide dismutase, proven to increase the antioxidant status. This powerful, balanced blend of antioxidants combined with the anti-inflammatory affect of omega-3 fatty acids makes Farmalogic Fancy Feathers a must-have supplement for backyard poultry flocks during the summer heat. Simply sprinkle a little over your hen’s normal feed every morning!
Ask for Farmalogic Fancy Feathers wherever good stock feeds are sold! Message us to find out more, or click here.