Performance and Heat Tolerance of Broilers as Affected by Genotype and High Ambient Temperature

  • Al-Batshan, H.A. (Department of Animal Production, College of Agriculture, King Saud University)
  • Received : 2002.02.15
  • Accepted : 2002.04.30
  • Published : 2002.10.01


This experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of the broiler's genotype ($G_t$) and ambient temperature ($T_a$) on performance and core body temperature ($T_core$) of broiler chicks. A factorial arrangement of two $G_t$ (Hubbard and ISA J57 chicks) and two $T_a$ (moderate, $23{\pm}0.5^{\circ}C$ and hot, $33{\pm}0.5^{\circ}C$) were used in this study. Performance data (body weight gain, feed intake and feed:gain ratio) were determined weekly for six weeks. Chicks' $T_core$ was measured using a biotelemetric system between Weeks five and six. Results showed that body weight gain and feed intake were significantly high, and feed:gain ratio was significantly low for Hubbard chicks compared to those of ISA J57 chicks. High $T_a$ significantly reduced weight gain and feed intake. Furthermore, the reduction in body weight gain and feed intake under the hot $T_a$ was more pronounced for Hubbard chicks than those of the ISA J57 chicks resulting in significant $G_t$ by $T_a$ interaction. Chicks grown under moderate $T_a$ had significantly lower $T_core$ than those grown under hot $T_a$. The $T_core$ of the Hubbard chicks was significantly lower than that of the ISA J57 at the moderate $T_a$ while under the hot $T_a$, the magnitude of the change in $T_core$ was more pronounced in Hubbard chicks than that of ISA J57; this resulted in a significant $G_t$ by $T_a$ interaction. The results of this study indicate that chicks with higher potential for growth under thermo-neutral temperature are more susceptible to heat stress than chicks with lower potential for growth. This maybe due, at least in part, to their lower body $T_core$ under moderate temperature and to the lesser ability of these fast growing chicks to regulate their $T_core$ when exposed to heat stress, as was clearly shown on these birds' performance.


Supported by : Agriculture Research Center


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