The effect of reduced nocturnal temperatures on the performance of broiler chicks and hen turkey poults from 0 to 21 days of age
"The world population has increased over the past century and with this increase in the world population comes an increase in demand of animal protein for consumption. The United States produced 8.78 billion broilers and 244 million turkeys in the year 2016 (USDA, 2017a,b). The production of broilers in the United States has increased by 1% from 2015 and turkey production is up 5% from 2015 (USDA, 2017a). One could speculate that these production values will continue to increase with an increasing world population. As the poultry industry grows, the usage of natural resources for energy will continue to increase and poultry operations need to become more energy efficient but in order to enhance energy efficiency, energy must be conserved without affecting yield or production yields must increase. ... Much research has been done in order to determine if birds have the ability to adapt to differing temperatures. Studies have looked at the effect of high or low incubation temperatures during embryogenesis in an effort to improve the acquisition of thermotolerance to high or low environmental temperatures post hatch (Tzschentke et al., 2001; Tzschentke and Basta, 2002; Yahav et al., 2004a,b; Piestun et al., 2008; Shinder et al., 2009). Birds may be able to thermal adapt to high or low environmental temperatures by a process of thermal conditioning during the early postnatal period (Yalcin et al., 2005). Studies have shown that thermal conditioning at an early age can improve thermotolerance to heat and cold stress, but this effort to acquire thermotolerance can have an effect on the performance and internal organs of the birds (Yahva and Hurwitz, 1996; Shinder et al., 2002). Cyclic temperature regimes have been studied in an effort to determine if birds benefit from periods of warmer and cooler environmental temperatures during different parts of the day (Waibel and Macleod, 1994). One management strategy that has not been researched in poultry, but has been studied in the swine model is the method of reduced nocturnal temperatures. Johnston and coworkers (2013) studied this 4 management strategy in an effort to determine if it would be a viable option in reducing energy usage without affecting pig performance and therefore, making operations more economically efficient. One could suggest that reductions in nocturnal temperatures could potentially be an effective management strategy in an effort to reduce energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions, and production costs of poultry operations if birds' performance and health are not significantly altered." -- Introduction
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