Journal Article

Effect of ambient temperature and light intensity on physiological reactions of heavy broiler chickens 1

H. A. Olanrewaju, J. L. Purswell, S. D. Collier and S. L. Branton

in Poultry Science

Published on behalf of Poultry Science Association Inc.

Volume 89, issue 12, pages 2668-2677
Published in print December 2010 | ISSN: 0032-5791
Published online December 2010 | e-ISSN: 1525-3171 | DOI:
Effect of ambient temperature and light intensity on physiological reactions of heavy broiler chickens

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The effects of ambient temperature, light intensity, and their interaction on blood acid-base balance, metabolites, and electrolytes in broiler chickens under environmentally controlled conditions were examined in 2 trials. The experiment consisted of a factorial arrangement of treatments in a randomized complete block design. The 9 treatments consisted of 3 levels of temperatures (low = 15.6°C; moderate = 21.1°C; high = 26.7°C) from 21 to 56 d of age and 3 levels of light intensities (0.5, 3.0, 20 lx) from 8 to 56 d of age at 50% RH. A total of 540 Ross 708 chicks were randomly distributed into 9 environmentally controlled chambers (30 male and 30 female chicks/chamber) at 1 d of age. Feed and water were provided ad libitum. Venous blood samples were collected on d 21 (baseline), 28, 42, and 56. High ambient temperature significantly (P ≤ 0.05) reduced BW, partial pressure of CO2, bicarbonate, hematocrit, hemoglobin, K+, and Na+ along with significantly (P ≤ 0.05) elevated pH level, Cl, glucose, osmolality, and anion gap concentrations. Partial pressure of O2 was slightly increased in response to increased ambient temperature. There was no effect of light intensity on most of the blood variables examined. Acid-base regulation during high ambient temperature and light intensity exposure did not deteriorate despite a lower partial pressure of CO2, which consequently increased blood pH because of a compensatory decrease in HCO3 concentration. Plasma corticosterone was not affected by temperature, light intensity, or their interaction. These results indicate that continuous exposure of broiler chickens to varying light intensities had a minor effect on physiological blood variables, whereas high ambient temperature markedly affected various blood variables without inducing stress in broilers.

Keywords: temperature; light intensity; acid-base balance; broiler; well-being

Journal Article.  5569 words.  Illustrated.

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