Effect of Feed Withdrawal and Heat Acclimatization on Stress Responses of Male Broiler and Layer-type Chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus)

  • Mahmoud, Kamel Z. (Department of Animal production, Faculty of Agriculture Jordan University of Science and Technology) ;
  • Yaseen, A.M. (Department of Animal production, Faculty of Agriculture Jordan University of Science and Technology)
  • Received : 2004.09.22
  • Accepted : 2005.04.14
  • Published : 2005.10.01


This experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of feed withdrawal (F) and heat acclimatization (A) on malebroiler and -layer chickens responses to acute heat stress (AHS) at four weeks of age. Totals of ninety male chicks of broiler or layer type were randomly allocated into 30 pens of grower batteries with raised wire floors. Chicks were subjected to F and A three times a week through the first three weeks of age. At each time, feed withdrawal and heat acclimatization (T = $35^{\circ}C$) lasted for six and four hours, respectively. Feed consumption (FC), body weight (BW), and feed conversion ratio (FCR) were recorded weekly for broiler type chickens only. At four weeks of age, all groups of chickens were exposed to AHS (T = $39{\pm}1^{\circ}C$) for three hours. Before and after AHS challenge, body temperature (Tb), heterophil (H), and lymphocyte (L) counts were recorded, and H/L ratio was calculated. Antibody (Ab) response to sheep red blood cells (SRBC) was assessed from all treatments without being exposed to AHS. Group F of broiler-type chickens weighed less (p<0.05) compared to control group. Also, both A and F groups of broiler-type chickens consumed less (p<0.05) feed when compared to control group. Acute heat stress elevated Tb of all treatment groups, however the increase was more profound (p<0.001) in broiler chicks. Broiler chicks of both A and F groups showed a tendency to have higher (p = 0.08) Tb when compared to control group. Acute heat stress elevated (p<0.001) H/L ratio in both types of chickens. Broiler chicks maintained higher (p<0.001) H/L ratio. Both F and A groups reduced (p<0.01) the level of elevation in H/L ratio compared to control groups of both types of chickens. Neither A nor F group affected the Ab production in response to SRBC. However, there was a tendency towards higher Ab responses in F group when compared to other groups in both types of chickens. Results of the present study demonstrate that previous history of feed withdrawal or episodes of heat exposures improved chicks'physiological withstanding of AHS and a tendency to improved humoral immune response.


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