Physiological response of heat stressed broiler chickens to supplemental electrolytes and ascorbic acid
Effect of supplementing the drinking water of broilers reared under natural heat stress with ammonium chloride (NH4Cl), sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), calcium chloride (CaCl2) and ascorbic acid (AA) on physiological response was investigated. A 200, one-day Arbor acre chicks were randomly allotted to five treatments in a completely randomized design. Each treatment was in quadruplicate of ten chickens. Treatment 1 (T1) was the control with water without any supplement while treatments 2 (T2), 3 (T3), 4 (T4) and 5 (T5) had their water supplemented with 0.5% NH4Cl, NaHCO3, CaCl2 and 300ppm AA respectively. At week 7, the respiratory rate (breath/minute) were 96.34, 78.88, 69.43, 74.25 and 82.75 for birds on T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5 respectively and was higher (p<0.05) for birds on T1. Rectal temperature of birds from weeks 3-6 were similar (p>0.05) and within the normal range except at week 7 for birds. Heterophil:Lymphocytes ranged from 0.33-0.50 and values were similar (p>0.05) for all treatments. Water intake of birds was not affected by the treatment (p>0.05). Mortality of birds on T1, T2, T3, T4, and T5 were 5%, 2.5%, 0%, 2.5% and 0% respectively. Supplemental electrolytes and AA lowered the respiratory rates and level of mortality of heat stressed broilers in this trial.
Keywords: Supplemental electrolytes, Ascorbic acid, Heat stressed broilers, Rectal temperature, Respiratory rate