POULTRY PRODUCTION MANUAL

CHAPTER 6 - Factors affecting broiler performance

HOUSE TEMPERATURE

Probably the most important non-dietary factor influencing feed conversion is the ambient temperature of the poultry house. Chickens are homeotherms (warm-blooded) meaning they maintain a relatively constant body temperature regardless of the environmental temperature. Broilers perform best when there is minimal variation in house temperature over a 24 hour period of time. There is a trade off between energy provided by feed or fuel, and the most economical temperature will depend on the relative prices of the two.

In a cool environment, broilers will eat more feed but many of the calories they obtain from this feed will be used to sustain normal body temperature. When the calories are used for warmth, they are not converted to meat. Optimum temperatures allow the broilers to convert nutrients into growth rather than using the calories for temperature regulation. The ideal environmental temperatures for promoting feed conversion will be provided by your service personnel.

At high environmental temperatures, broilers consume less feed, and convert this feed less efficiently. The biological cooling mechanisms that birds use during hot weather (panting, etc.) require energy, just as the warming mechanisms do during cool weather.

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