India is land with an extraordinary variety of climatic regions, ranging from tropics in the south to temperate and alpine in the Himalayan north. The population living in India encounters many climates. Winter season is one of those climates that not only adversely affect human well-being but our animals and poultry population also. Winter season has a treacherous effect on poultry as it decreases the temperature of encompassing. During winter when the temperature goes down beyond 55°F, poultry has to confront several issues like a decrease in egg production, reduction in water consumption, diminution in fruitfulness and hatchability, poor FCR in the broiler, decreased weight gain, reduction in fertility, increase in bird mortality and so forth. In winter, there is a drop in mercury level and alteration in weather from warm to cold, poultry ranchers may have to combat some challenges of low environmental temperature, poor ventilation, and decreased photoperiod. These climatic variations may directly or indirectly affect egg and meat production. Hence, poultry agriculturists must be prepared to accept these challenges by espousing some cold stress-relieving measures to overcome economic losses. It has been perceived that the infrastructure of poultry sheds especially in rural India is substandard due to a lack of basic amenities like electricity.
Winter is one of the seasons which presents very harsh temperature extremes and maintaining livability and production becomes very difficult without taking extra measures. Management in winter is very difficult and often described as double edges sword, as a very perfect balance is required between climate management and ventilation management. Similarly, very careful decision-making is required to reduce the cost of production and to provide a healthy environment at the same time. It requires ample of experience to understand the economic feasibility of cost-involving management practices. Poultry can only regulate their body temperature within a narrow range of environmental temperatures. In the tropics, environmental temperatures are usually above this zone during most part of the year. Low ambient temperatures adversely affect the performance of poultry with meat-type birds being more susceptible than egg-type birds. There are several constraints affecting the growth of the poultry industry, among which temperature-associated environmental challenges, especially adverse environmental condition (cold climate) imposes severe stress on birds and leads to reduced performance. Thermal discomfort may result in improper expression of genetic potential in birds and production performances of broiler chicken are greatly affected due to adverse ambient temperatures. At present, climatic variation is a key threat to the poultry industry, especially for marginal poultry farmers in open-house systems; therefore, the management of poultry during winter is an important concern for poultry farmers. The following points should be considered to get better production from poultry during the winter season:
FEEDING MANAGEMENT —-
As the temperature drop, birds need more calories of energy to maintain their body temperature. So bird consumes more feed to compensate for heat loss from the body which led to poor feed efficiency. When bird consumes more feed it will also increase their intake of protein and other nutrients this feed. Protein and other nutrients used for energy production become waste. To avoid this wastage the ration should be altered in such a way that the energy content of the ration is increased by using energy-rich sources like oil, fat, etc, and reducing protein and other nutrient content of the ration by keeping energy at the same level. In winter the number of feeders should be increased as compared to summer. The feed should be available to the bird whole of the day. For proper growth of broiler during summer, a diet containing 23% protein and a 3100 Kcal ME/kg diet is needed. While in winter 3400 Kcal/kg ME and 23% protein are needed.
During the winter season, birds take less water so far maintenance of water in the body, it is necessary to give a continuous supply of fresh water which can be taken by the bird. Water must be fresh and clean. The drinking water should be maintained at a suitable temperature to promote water intake. Many vaccines, medicine, or antistress vitamins are given to poultry through water. As water consumption of birds is reduced during the winter season. Therefore, care should be taken that waterers are removed a few hours prior to water medication and medicine, and the vaccine is given in less amount of water so that birds can consume total water and each bird gets the benefit of medicine, vaccine, or other supplements.
HOUSING AND VENTILATION MANAGEMENT——–
Poultry houses should be providing all the comfort during winter. House should be designed in a way that maximum sunlight enters the shed during day time. Birds should be protected from chilled winds, for these gunny bags should be hung at the places from where the cold air enters. These gunny bags should be hung down as soon as sunlight goes in the evening till the arrival of sunlight the next morning. An external heat source is provided to keep the poultry shed warm and dry. A false ceiling is often used to reduce the volume of the shed. The restricted ventilation causes ammonia build up in the air which causes respiratory problems. So, proper ventilation to provide fresh air and remove gases inside the house is always required they need plenty of fresh air circulating around the house. For this purpose sliding windows are useful as they can be opened during the day and closed during the night. There should also be an arrangement of exhaust fans to remove impure air.
A good quality litter serves as an insulator in maintaining uniform temperature, also absorbs moisture, and promotes drying. The rearing surface and bedding material should be always warm and dry. Around 6 inches of litter is needed in houses during winter. The litter gives warmth to the birds during winter. If litter management is proper, it will be felt quite warm when taken in hand. The wet litter and humid conditions provide a very suitable environment for gut pathogens like Coccidiosis and Clostridium..….click here to read the full news