Submitted to: Applied Poultry Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 11, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Early turkey poult mortality is known to be influenced by many factors. These factors include stressors such as temperature, hatchery servicing procedures, prolonged holding without feed or water, incubation temperature, time of removal from the hatcher and poult sex. Newly hatched poults contain little carbohydrate reserves. Thusly, any stressful agent which draws on this limited supply may potentially place the poult at risk. In this study, poults were exposed to high levels of carbon dioxide to determine its effect on carbohydrate reserves and plasma metabolic hormone levels. It was demonstrated carbohydrate metabolism is altered under these conditions, which under normal production practices may place the poult at risk from depleted energy stores. This research will be of interest to poultry producers.
Newly hatched, unfed turkey poults are exposed to several post-hatch stressors, each of which can increase the risk of early mortality. The known risk factors for early poult mortality, such as hatchery servicing stressors, prolonged holding without feed or water and temperature are associated with lower than normal carbohydrate reserves and increased reliance on gluconeogenesis. Sub-standard ventilation conditions during holding, transport or brooding of poults are considered stressful because carbon dioxide levels rise (hypercapnia). Poults were exposed to elevated (0.4%) carbon dioxide for 16 hr post hatch. We conclude from the metabolic effects observed that hypercapnia is a stressor and thus may be an additional risk factor for early poult mortality.