Vitamin C: recipe for chickens to beat heat

Gyeonggi Province has come up with a protective plan to save chickens at risk of dying from heatstroke, the local government said Thursday.

It said it has earmarked 50 million won to provide poultry farms with vitamin C and electrolyte drugs to feed to their birds.

The measure comes after about 220,000 birds, around 0.61 percent of the 35.8 million chickens in the province have already died from heatstroke and stress due to the continuing heat wave.

Chickens and ducks are known to be susceptible to the negative effects of hot weather unlike cows and pigs. They are also held in greater density while being reared.

Vitamin C and electrolyte drugs can strengthen immunity and increase heat tolerance in chickens. They also help alleviate stress and are easily mixed into water to be fed to the birds.

The province also ordered farms to reduce the rearing density from a current 20 chickens per one square meter to 16.5 chickens per square meter. Also, 15 percent of fully grown chickens are to be shipped five days before dates previously designated in order to reduce rearing density.

“Farms are recommended to refrain from feeding chickens with fodder and water while temperatures are at their peak in the afternoon and from moving them when it’s hot. They should also avoid spraying water into the henhouse because this can cause more heat by increasing humidity,” the province stated in a press release.

The local government is also planning a long-term protective measure to prevent further poultry deaths.

The provincial office will also push for modernization and renovation of the henhouse and advise farms to apply for livestock casualty insurance. <The Korea Times/Yun Suh-young>

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