13 commentsupdate:Sep 26, 2012

Summer Salts

Ioannis Mavromichalis
One of the quickest remedies to high summer temperatures is the addition of salts into the feed and water of affected birds. The most commonly used salts include ammonium sulfate, sodium bicarbonate, potassium chloride, and sodium chloride.


A quick glance at scientific literature and technical publications will reveal that these salts definitely work, but inclusion levels and combinations are far from standardised.

I have had good results with sodium bicarbonate and potassium chloride, and especially with a combination of the two, in both broilers and layers.

What do you think about this ‘summer’ practice and how common is it in your country?


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    Ilker HOSGOR

    Hi, we are in Izmir, West Turkiye; and here is quite hot in summer. In layers approximately 230mEq/kg and higher gives good results both in environmentally controlled houses and the old open sided ones. Lowering the chlorine %0,16-0,17 and increasing the sodium %0,18-0,20 and potassium %0,70-0,75 has given satisfying results in hot weather. Of course one should bear in mind that increase would be gradually in several weeks. In addition to author's potassium source we used potassium carbonate; assuming the higher carbonate content instead of chlorine combination.
    Dr.I.HOSGOR; Vet Med

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    Summer Practice: The Apart from the Ammonium Chloride , Sodium Bi Carbanate and Pottasium Chloride the Betaine / Betaine HCL very well works in the summer by the way of Osmolyte effect as well as the Methyl group donar like methionine and Choline.(The Osmolyte effect directly improve the digistibility of the Nutrient)
    Thanks with Regards

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    Dr.Mohammad Akram

    I agree with the author and already recommending the use of Sodium bicarbonate @ 3 kg / ton of feed or 1 gm / litre of drinking water during hot days when birds are panting in open poultry houses. This is really giving good results.

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    dr ak sharma

    50 yrs into poultry including KSA/UK/USA/AUSTRALIA can say sodium/pottasium balance is crucial. pH is vital, soda bicarb is best choice. Now probiotic yeast also does good job. Some glucose helps fast action.

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    michele peverill

    So what would be the given rate for free range hens ?

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    Baltogiannis Georgios

    1 gr salt / litter water but for how many times?

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    Dr Banjo

    So far what is the best or'magic' formula to combat this heat stress.The effect is very serious in a country like Nigeria where poultry production is still developing.

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    Betaine is effective in summer

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    Dr.Feroz Ahmad Khan

    While offering technical support to my customers both of broiler and layer businesses,I got very nice results by administsring sodium bicarb in diets.

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    Tariq Mushtaq

    In heat stress the sodium and chloride are important for water intake and blood pressure, then bicarbonate is needed during panting to replace the carbon dioxide lost (restore carbonate: bicarbonate in blood), and finally potassium which can be lost from muscle (maybe for prevention of loss or quick restoration of loss). We, a pole of scientist, are of the view that that about 0.28% sodium and 0.25% chloride are minimum levels during heat stress. The bicarbonate is also needed in feed or water (0.25 to 0.40% sodium bicarbonate in feed) because panting causes loss of carbon dioxide from the blood which then lowers blood bicarbonate because the two are in an equilibrium or balance. About the sodium carbonate, it is corrosive because of high pH I think.
    In the heat stress, the poultry muscle tissue cells tend to start releasing potassium and excreting it through the kidneys. Price of potassium bicarbonate is very high (It is not used at all in animal feeds in the U.S. and Latin America due to its high cost), Potassium carbonate somewhat less expensive but high also (available as feed-grade). I suggested KCl as a cheap source of K. The purpose of the KCl in feed or water is to stimulate water intake and keep the birds cooler so some of this K loss from the body tissues is prevented.
    I suggest to try to replace some NaCl with KCl and use some of the potassium carbonate (may be some potassium sulphate) to achieve your desired K level of feed (I think a potassium level of 0.70% will be enough). You can also opt to add some molasses in the feed as cane molasses is rich in potassium. The sodium level can be achieved cost effectively by using a blend of sodium bicarbonate, sodium carbonate and sodium sulphate in the absence of NaCl. I think it would be a good idea to put all the salts in the formulation (i.e., NaCl, NaHCO3, Na2SO4, Na2CO3, KCl, K2CO3, K2SO4) to get your desired levels of Na, K and Cl

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    Dr Narayan

    In Nepal too, we practice feeding soda bicarb in cases of heat stress. It has given mixed results.I personally find it beneficial in cases of excessive panting.

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    Ray Davis

    The above all assist in reducing heat stress but do not underestimate the rise in drinking water temperature which occurs with the high temperatures. If at all possible, the use of ice-blocks in the water tanks make a significant differece.

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