By: Kathleen Lonergan Erickson on November 11th, 2020
Keeping Birds Comfortable is a Big Job
Keeping birds comfortable is a top priority for poultry producers. Their comfort is directly proportional to their well-being and, thus, to their productivity. Keen producers follow age-old baseline tactics to assess bird comfort – starting with observation. In addition to walking through houses and listening to and viewing birds' behavior, today's high technology allows producers to view and listen to birds within their environments from afar, aiding their ability to respond to conditions influencing bird comfort rapidly.
Temperature and airflow are critical factors that influence bird comfort. Birds' housing situation can significantly affect how temperature and airflow are managed. But it is not an easy solution as many complex factors interact to influence how poultry – in this case, broilers – maintain ideal conditions in cold environments.
Multiple factors contribute to birds' ability to stay optimally comfortable in their environment; these include factors such as:
- Relative Humidity
- Wind speed
- Bird Breed
- Bird Age
- Population density
- Bird proximity to others
- Feed ration
An interesting condition noted by several studies indicates that a bird's conception of hot or cold is much influenced by the birds' perception of its environment. Much of the condition a bird experience is determined by the heat being generated or lost in its given scenario. That means it can be challenging for producers to determine.
Technology in housing helps keep a close eye on factors that count toward bird comfort.
It is not only these individual factors that affect heat loss in birds. Other factors of the building itself influence productivity as well; these include:
- Radiant heat gain or loss due to the insulative factors of ceilings and or curtains
- The general activity of birds during the day versus the night has resonating implications
- Bedding types and depths also interact
It starts with the birds. Understanding how they best function in their environments is the sum of the interacting factors. Summit Engineering and Construction has decades of experience combining cutting-edge technologies and construction engineering and design that make the most of the science, the environment, and the birds' response to all the factors influencing their comfort and productivity.
For more insights on bird comfort, see: Luthra, Kaushik, "Evaluating Thermal Comfort of Broiler Chickens during Transportation using Heat Index and Simulated Electronic Chickens" (2017). Theses and Dissertations. 2409. http://scholarworks.uark.edu/etd/2409
Purswell, Joseph & Dozier, William & Olanrewaju, Hammed & Davis, J.D. & Xin, Hongwei & Gates, Richard. (2012). Effect of Temperature-Humidity Index on Live Performance in Broiler Chickens Grown From 49 To 63 Days of Age. ASABE - 9th International Livestock Environment Symposium 2012, ILES 2012. 10.13031/2013.41619.