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Heat stress in layers

heat stress in layers

The prolonged spell of extreme temperature and dry weather is taking its toll on laying birds of all ages and in all systems.

Try and refrain from disturbing the birds at the hottest part of the day as it is likely they have found a cool place to rest.

Possible signs of heat stress are reduced production and a reduction in egg size. The physical signs can be panting and the loss of feather from the back of the neck (stress moult).


Airflow is key, and everything should be done to have the ventilation system running at its maximum. If you have a naturally ventilated house then well-placed circulation fans can help the birds cool.


Birds do not have sweat glands, so they cool themselves by panting. Panting can be a sign of heat stress, and the act of panting can alter a bird’s electrolyte balance. Adding electrolytes to the bird’s water can aid the bird’s intake by making the water more palatable, and helps replace vitamins and minerals the bird loses during this time.

Header tanks are generally in the roof of poultry houses so keeping the water in them cool and fresh is a challenge, but temporarily reducing the water level will increase the rate of water replenishing, and help keep the water intake fresh.

Water pipes feeding the house should be buried rather than laying on the ground as this can heat the water in the pipe and cause bacteria to form before it reaches the header tank.

After any water treatment it is advisable to flush the system through with a sanitizer as it will help reduce the biofilm build-up

If your flock are experiencing loss of production or egg size then get in touch here or directly with your Pullet and Feed specialist who will be able to advise you.