August 5, 2008


Heat wave killing chickens in top US poultry state


A heat wave has killed hundreds of chickens in south-east Arkansas, despite measures taken in farmers to steps to combat heat stress.


Some farmers have switched on their fans and cooling cells non-stop and yet are losing birds to the heat wave, The Morning News, a state newspaper quoted a University of Arkansas agricultural extension agent as saying.


Although heat stress is not a new problem for poultry farmers, the practice of poultry companies mandating larger-sized birds meant that the chickens would not be able to dissipate heat that well. Last year, Arkansas-based Tyson offered its contract farmers higher cash to grow larger birds. 


The heat is also making it hard for the chickens to put on the additional weight that the poultry companies want as the birds have less appetite on extremely hot days, the newspaper reported.

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