International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 259–265 | Cite as

Ambient temperature: a factor affecting performance and physiological response of broiler chickens

  • A. Donkoh


An experiment was conducted to elucidate the influence of four constant ambient temperatures (20°, 25°, 30° and 35°C) on the performance and physiological reactions of male commercial broiler chicks from 3 to 7 weeks of age. A 12 h light-dark cycle was operated, while relative humidity and air circulation were not controlled. Exposure of broiler chickens to the 20°, 25°, 30° and 35°C treatments showed highly significant (P<0.0001) depression in growth rate, food intake and efficiency of food utilization, and a significant increase in water consumption for the 30° and 35°C groups. Mortality was, however, not affected by the temperature treatments. Changes in physiological status, such as increased rectal temperatures, decreased concentration of red blood cells, haemoglobin, haematocrit, and total plasma protein were observed in birds housed in the higher temperature (30° and 35°C) environments. Moreover, in these broiler chickens, there was an increased blood glucose concentration and a decreased thyroid gland weight. These results indicate that continuous exposure of broiler chickens to high ambient temperatures markedly affects their performance and physiological response.

Key words

Heat stress Growth performance Physiological response Broiler chickens 


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Copyright information

© International Society of Biometeorology 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Donkoh
    • 1
  1. 1.Animal Science DepartmentMassey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand

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