Ascorbic acid and heat stress in domestic chicken nutrition: A review
Ascorbic Acid (AA), also called vitamin C, had been very useful as a supplement in poultry diets under stress, particularly under heat stress. In view of the fact that ascorbic acid of tissue synthesis is not sufficient at periods of stress, and that diets do not usually contain vitamin C, the birds are liable to suffer from vitamin C deficiency, if rations are not supplemented with vitamin C. It has been observed that supplementation of diets with ascorbic acid at required levels, especially under heat stress, improves growth, egg production, egg shell strength, fertility within(male and females) and hatchability of poultry eggs. The depressant effect of high temperature on performance often compels the technique of supplementing poultry diets to ensure optimum production. Therefore, it is necessary to adopt effective measures to control heat stress and its adverse effects on livestock. Vitamin C alleviates the side effects of stress, thus increased heat tolerance in birds, and improved chickens response to cell functional immunity. Therefore ascorbic acid could be included at the rate of 250mg/kg diet, 500mg/kg diet and 400mg/kg diet for day old chicks , broiler breeders (or laying hens ) and broiler chickens, respectively.
Key words: Ascorbic Acid, Heat Stress, Domestic chicken, Growth, Reproduction, and Poultry diets, Nutrition