Submitted to: International Journal of Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 31, 2008
Publication Date: April 18, 2008
Citation: Purswell, J.L., Lott, B.D., Dozier III, W.A., Roush, W.B., Branton, S.L. 2008. Assessing Thermal Comfort of Broiler Chicks During Brooding. International Journal of Poultry Science 7(3):202-206. Interpretive Summary: Brooding programs used in the broiler industry are prescriptive, but little information exists about thermal comfort in chicks. Identifying thermal conditions that chicks prefer would allow for better management of the thermal environment during brooding. Air temperature surrounding young chicks during brooding was measured during the second week of production with a novel application of miniature dataloggers. The air temperature measured by the chicks was significantly warmer than that of the house, showing a preference for approximately 33 C. Better understanding of thermal comfort in chicks will allow for improved management of the thermal environment during brooding.
Technical Abstract: Proper management of the thermal environment during brooding is essential to performance in broilers. Brooding programs used in the broiler industry are prescriptive, but little information exists about thermal comfort in chicks. Identifying thermal conditions that chicks prefer would allow for better management of the thermal environment during brooding. The objective of this study was to determine thermal conditions that are preferred by broiler chicks. Thirty broiler chicks at seven days of age were fitted with a harness holding a miniature temperature data logger; air temperature directly above the chicks’ backs was measured every 3 minutes for 7 days from 8 to 14 days of age. Air temperature in the room was measured in 25 locations on the same interval as the harnesses. The room was held at 32.2 °C for the first week and reduced to 29.4 °C the second week. Air temperature, as measured by the bird harnesses, was significantly higher than measured in the room. Overall least squares means for harness and room temperatures were 33.0 and 29.2 °C, respectively, and were significantly different (P < 0.0001). The estimated difference between harness and room temperature was 3.8 °C with a standard error of 0.06 °C; the least significant difference was calculated as 0.15 °C.