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Thermoregulatory responses of day-old chickens submitted to simulated transport condition: effect of thermal environment and box placement

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2012 IX International Livestock Environment Symposium (ILES IX)  ILES12-2141.(doi:10.13031/2013.41604)
Authors:   Frederico M C Vieira, Iran J O Silva, Késia O Silva-Miranda, Aérica C Nazareno, Priscila N Faria
Keywords:   transport, day-old chickens, stress, welfare

The objective of this work was to assess the thermoregulation of one day-old chickens exposed to different dry-bulb temperature and relative humidity ranges and box placements, under simulated thermal conditions of transport. For this study, Cobb 500 1-day-old chicks (n = 360), were exposed to a thermoneutral, cold stress and heat stress treatments for 1 hour each, in a climatic chamber. Those animals were obtained from a commercial hatchery, from selected eggs which were stored and incubated in the same conditions. The animals were placed in boxes for day-old chicks transport, divided in 40 chicks per box (20 males and 20 females), with 3 boxes stacked vertically, for each treatment. Body weight, respiratory rate, body surface temperature and cloacal temperature were monitored in a sample of 20 animals per box after 1 hour of exposition to the following thermal treatment. The thermal profile inside the climatic chamber was monitored through temperature, relative humidity and specific enthalpy. A completely randomized design was adopted and the treatment structure was a 3 x3 factorial design (3 thermal ranges and 3 box placements). Data were analysed by ANOVA and means differing significantly were separated by the Tukeys test procedure. These results suggest that the 3-box placement do not affect the thermal comfort of day-old chickens during transportation. Regarding the environment condition during transport, the cold stress affects the thermoregulation of neonatal chickens. However, as temperature increases, the welfare of these animals is depleted, due to increased heat load inside the transport boxes.

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