29 commentsupdate:Sep 24, 2012

Heat Stress Additives

Ioannis Mavromichalis
Summer is once again here and I have already received three calls regarding diet changes in anticipation of summer heat waves. Naturally, when it comes to additives the first selection has always been vitamin C and sodium bicarbonate.


But, I have a question for all of us...

If we were to pick only one of the two additives (vitamin C or sodium bicarbonate), regardless of cost, which one would you prefer based on expected efficacy against heat stress?

Please, do leave a comment!


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    Paul B Tillman

    Both Vit. C and S-Carb are good options during heat stress, with the latter probably having more adoption. I would also consider increasing the amount of added fat as it lowers the Heat Increment, with the effect of keeping birds cooler.

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    Reza Pourslami

    Few years ago I was principal investigator for a heat-stress research project. We used Vit.C and several feed additives at different levels but none of them worked out in broilers. We did not use NaHCO3 though. I guess factors such as stock density, nutrient density, feed consumption, duration of the heat shock, electrolyte balance...play an important role in heat-stress management. There is not a good body of info available on heat-stress issue. Problem with most of the available literature is that: they do not have a control diet to indicate that the heat-stress condition was really induced.

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    Dr.M.Asif raza

    Heat stress is a major problem for chicken in summer. The areas where the farming is in open houses ,it is more difficult to combat with the high temperature. The use of sodium bicarbonate is more economic as compared to Vit C. Sodium bicarbonate help the bird during panting ,as well work better at cellular level to prevent dehydration.

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    dr kamal

    Along with NaHco3 & Vit c ,betaine also good choice

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    JN Vakabua

    I would go for Sodium Bicarbonate considering acid base balance due to increase in body temperature and loss of body fluids in the short period of time, and for immediate effects. However, acidosis and alkalosis is a fine balancing act & so balanced fluid need to be considered in times of stress including Vit C etc.

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    Sonja Carter

    How much Sodium Bicarbonat per 10 Liters of drinking water??
    I keep chickens as a hobby and live in Turkey. It gets up to 40 degrees here.

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    I prefer to use sodium bicarbonate as a source of sodium and by removing the chloride it has also benefits on the wet litter.
    I used to play in the past with the fat levels but now I am using a good fat absorbtion enhancer based on lysophospholipids instead and seems that helps.

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    Tanveer Zaidi

    Vit C, betaine & niacin(Nicotinic acid) have established role against "heat stress". Let's now use & recommend sodabicorb too.

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    medina, ohio chickenman

    thanks for the awareness! shade, fans, and cooler water will have to do for mine!

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    A Farmer

    I choose Natural Betaine!!

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    Dr.P.V.Rajendra Kumar,MVSc

    Heat stress is a condition wherein one particular chemical or process will not give wholesome and satisfactory results. Firstly, see the environment surrounding the bird. Try to make the same comfortable by space, airflow and avialability of fresh cool water.Check the calorie protein ratio. The bird is panting for cooling itself. Thus sodium bicarbonate at one kilogram per ton of feed is beneficial. Electrolytes in feed and water in the peak heat hours is also very beneficial. Be sure to boost the birds with proper respiratory vaccines so that the lungs and air passages are patent. The immune system of the birds has to be optimum. Fresh clean water is very essential. So it is the combination of all these factors which allows the birds to tide over the summer period.

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    Dr.Hamed Najafi

    I belive that in heat stress chicken fail ability of reserving electrolytes such as sodium and potassium and use of theses ions especially potassium help chicken to maintain its normal function.

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    i prefer use vit c and essential electrolyte in critical conditions and if possible, protein ratio in diet must be decrease.

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    Haroon Mushtaq

    Electrolytes is the main topic of my doctorate research. I would say higher requirements of electrolytes would not only mitigate impact of heat stress but also improves heatlh and immune status of birds. Balance between electrolytes (Na+K-Cl=DEB) is also important in this scenario.

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    safdar javed

    summer in fullswing in pakistan, temperature is going to 47c. In this situaion broiler farming in open houses is very difficult job, however, NahCO3, Glucose, Vit.C can give a little relief, but no absolute solution.

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    Dr.Mohammad Akram

    I am working in hot climate areas since last 30 years and baesd on my exprience Soda Bicarb @ 3 kg/ ton of feed in layers and 1gm / litre of D/Water during day time ( 8-10 hrs.) is reducing panting and balancing the PH of blood.I have not seen any significant change with the use of Vit. C

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    Dr Sunil Sawant,Mumbai,India

    For control of heat stress some measurements are,
    1) Feeding schedule : 3-4 hours before actual heat starts and late evening.
    2) Cool water supply: water temp. lower than room temp, flushing of pipe line to prevent from getting water hot.So take care of water temp- tank & pipe line should be well insulated.
    3) Prevention of hot air entering into shed-prevent by tieing wet gunny bags-keep water dripping through pipes over the tied bags.
    4) Air currents should be flowing and not stagnated.Install inlet & outlet fans for the same.
    5)Insulate roof with available materials like grass,paddy etc, with sprinklers.
    6)Provide Floor space atleast 25-30% more than in normal period.
    7) If above all thing are followed strictly then use of a) Vitamin -C, b) Soda bi carb,c) Electrolyte will definately help to combat HEAT STRESS.

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    Othmar Lopez

    Environment control with proper spacing and ventilation first then additives second. Sodium Bicarb with Vit C will be of help also read somewhere that giving organic acids is beneficial

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    Dr.Ashok A

    In case of open sided houses in tropics ensure proper ventilation (stack effect),reduce stocking density,feed during cooler parts of the day,provide drinking water 24 X 7,install foggers/circulating fans. Roofs can also be insulated. Additives always add to the cost of production and are not a substitute for proper management.

    In EC houses, tunnel ventilation with evaporative cooling is the best choice.

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    Dr A Abdulkadir

    i used vit. c ,sodium biocarbonate and NaHCO2.I found these combination very effective in Northern part of Nigeria where the temperatue is 40-44.

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    h sodhi

    i will go for soda bi carb out of these two to control ph of blood during panting in summer

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    Dr Anwarulhaq, pure breed co KSA

    In summer temperature in KSA,reaching more than 50c,I will go for
    1-Feeding in the early morning
    2-Flocks coming in production in summer should be placed with lower density rate.
    3- Effective evaporative house cooling
    4-increase in the ventilation.
    5-then in addition use of electrolytes and sodium bicarbonate will be helpful

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    Abdollah Akbarian

    due to wide range of activity of antioxidant materials, I would advise to use vit. c. antioxidant products could exert positive effects on the heat stress consequences like enhancing antioxidant power and immune response, prevent from mineral excretion and some other positive effects.

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    manny monarca

    During heat days using vitamin C and sodium bicarbonate could help prevent heat stress.

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    If you are having problems with heat in broilers ... I would suggest you to stop feeding them from 9am to 5pm from day 7 until slaughter. Give it a try and see how it works. In my experience is even better than adding band-aids on feed

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    i will suggest vit.c during summer more benefical if we have to chose from one of both according to environment specially in pakistan.although both are benefical

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