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Heat stress in layers: Biovet Alquerfeed product line

Heat stress in layers is under control thanks to Biovet's Alquerfeed product line

Alquerfeed Layers and Alquerfeed Ovoponedoras prevent eggshell quality problems due to heat stress

In warm seasons, the basic thermoregulation mechanisms are insufficient and heat stress causes problems in the birds. Initially, lethargic birds are observed, with stretched wings, increased water consumption, decreased feed intake and low productive performance.

Thermoregulation of birds and the consequent loss of calcium

Birds lose heat by evaporation through panting, but, along with heat loss, there is also excessive loss of blood CO2, which leads to metabolic alkalosis. In order to restore the CO2 blood levels, birds mobilize it from the bones as calcium carbonate (CaCO3). This causes a general decalcification of the animal, which is aggravated by the elimination of calcium as CaO through the urine. The loss of this mineral has a direct impact on the quality of the eggshell since calcium is an essential element for its formation.

Consequences of heat stress in laying hens

Due to the low availability of calcium for the shell formation, the percentage of broken eggs increases and a high percentage of eggs without shell may appear. Another consequence of the loss of calcium is the cage layer fatigue syndrome characterized by the inability of the hens to stand up due to the fragility of the bones after the mobilization of calcium carbonate to the blood. For the same reason, fractures of the femoral head are also observed.

To make matters worse, when heat stress lasts a long time or birds are exposed to extremely high temperatures, mortality increases due to cardiorespiratory failure.

Effective solutions to specific problems

Biovet, S.A. has developed solutions for laying hens affected by heat stress. In order to avoid the metabolic alteration that leads to the mobilization of calcium from the bones, Biovet, S.A. has developed Alquerfeed Ovoponedoras, a vitamin-mineral supplement designed to be incorporated in the feed or drinking water of laying hens to avoid the loss of calcium in the kidneys and, thus, to improve the eggshell quality. This product reduces economic losses due to broken eggs, which generally increase during the warmest periods of the year, and it reduces the incidence of cage layer fatigue syndrome.

Field trials support the efficacy of Alquerfeed products

The positive effect of Alquerfeed Ovoponedoras has been tested in several field trials. The graph below shows the results of a trial where the reduction of broken eggs can be observed thanks to the addition of Alquerfeed Ovoponedoras in drinking water at 0.5 ml/l in 76-week-old hens.

As seen in the chart, the product was administered through drinking water 5 days after the farm suffered an increase in the percentage of broken eggs as a consequence of heat stress. An immediate reduction in the percentage of broken eggs was obtained. After only 4 days of administration, a 56.44% reduction in broken eggs was obtained. On the 19th day with the product, the number of broken eggs remained stable  and the reduction was 64.22% from the beginning of the administration of Alquerfeed Ovoponedoras, which consolidates the efficacy of the product.

Biovet, S.A. has developed Alquerfeed Layers for situations in which restoring metabolic disbalances caused by heat stress is not enough to minimize the percentage of broken eggs, because a greater amount of calcium is required. This product combines the technology of Alquerfeed Ovoponedoras with mineral metabolism pronutrients. The latter are active natural molecules that increase the absorption of calcium and other essential minerals in the intestine, which optimizes the laying process, especially in birds during high production periods.

Heat stress, a problem also in broilers

In broiler production, heat stress is quite common and associated with significant economic losses. It is especially important in periods of stress, such as in chick reception, in the fattening farms, or when densities are high. A decrease in the growth and daily consumption are commonly observed, which worsens the feed conversion rate and, when birds tend to dissipate too much heat by panting, animals may suffer from fractures of the femoral head due to the loss of calcium, as it occurs in layers.

The inclusion, in drinking water, of additives rich in electrolytes and vitamins is highly recommended to compensate disbalances and prevent heat stress consequences. For this purpose, Biovet, S.A. has developed Alquerplus Revital, which provides the correct proportions of ions, glucose (which facilitates intestinal absorption of ions), water-soluble vitamins and citric acid, which facilitate digestion. In addition, AVAL Premium, another solution developed for this purpose, is a general restorative that also includes pronutrients that act as liver and intestinal conditioners, and immunostimulants, which help palliate the effects of the heat stress and recover the proper production levels.

In conclusion, it is necessary to identify how heat stress affects each single farm and apply a specific prevention measure to improve the profitability of farms in the seasons when birds are most susceptible to this type of stress.

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