Submitted to: Applied Poultry Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 17, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Early turkey poult mortality is known to be influenced by many factors, including temperature extremes, hatchery procedures, prolonged holding without feed or water, incubation temperature, genetics and sex of the poult. Because of the limited energy stores available during incubation or at post-hatch, the poults capacity to respond to stressful conditions is limited. This research was conducted to determine if an elevation in environmental carbon dioxide levels would affect carbohydrate stores and poult mortality. It was concluded that lowered oxygen levels at hatching can act as a stressful agent to newly-hatched poults. This study demonstrated that careful attention must be given to hatchery environmental conditions to avoid stressing young poults. This study would be of interest to commercial turkey 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 include hatchery servicing stressors, prolonged holding without feed or water, and temperature stress, all which are associated with lower than normal carbohydrate (glycogen) 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.