Authors: MEHMET YARDIMCI, EROL ŞENGÖR, E. HESNA ŞAHİN, İSMAİL BAYRAM, İ. SADİ ÇETİNGÜL
Abstract: The effect of short-term cold exposure on the performance of 600 commercial Ross 308 male broiler chickens was examined. On the fifth and sixth days of life the trial group was exposed to 15 °C ambient temperature for 3 h, both days, while the control group was kept under conventional brooding conditions. Thereafter, both control and trial birds were exposed to standard rearing temperatures until the 21st day, and from the 21st day to slaughter they were exposed to 15 °C ambient temperature. The mortality rate was significantly lower in the trial group (5%) compared to the control group (11%). The differences between body weight (control group: 2475.9 g; trial group: 2423.7 g) and feed conversion ratio (FCR) (control group: 1.95; trial group: 1.92) were not statistically significant. Performance and livability were not negatively affected by short-term cold exposure. It may be concluded that early age short-term cold conditioning improves thermotolerance to cold weather in broiler chickens in their later life.
Keywords: Broiler, cold exposure, thermotolerance
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