Adapting the nutrition of monogastric animals during heat stress

Partenaire(s) : Deltavit

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Focus on poultry production

Heat stress considerably reduces feed consumption, which has a negative impact on poultry performance. It is therefore advisable to concentrate feed formulas to help birds cover their needs and limit this drop in performance.  Covering requirements is not enough to counter the consequences of heat stress, such as inflammation, oxidative stress, altered intestinal integrity and imbalanced blood parameters, which is why specific supplements via feed or drinking water are recommended.

To find out more about the consequences of heat stress : Article 1 – Impacts of heat stress on livestock

For all poultry, fats (and oils in particular) are a good way of supporting the energy requirements of the animals and help to increase palatability in order to restore an adequate feed intake. An increased level of protein is needed to ensure that basic requirements are covered.

Compared with starch, oil concentration offers better net energy. It is therefore more effective under conditions of thermal stress, as it limits the extra heat produced.

With feed intake decrease, the concentration of formulas is an important lever during hot periods.

In terms of micronutrition, supplementation with selected trace elements and plant secondary metabolites also helps to effectively reduce the consequences of heat stress:

  • Electrolytes (Na+ , K+ ) to offset the electrolyte imbalance caused by the increased respiratory rate
  • Minerals (Zinc, Selenium), which act as co-factors in the antioxidant system,
  • Vitamins (A, C, E) and betaine, which contribute to detoxification reactions and the elimination of oxidative stress metabolites,
  • Bio-available active ingredients extracted from plants (turmeric, grapes or green tea, for example) that have demonstrated their ability to combat the oxidative stress and inflammation generated by heat stress.

The active ingredients in green tea and turmeric are among the plant extracts that have been shown to have a positive impact on managing the oxidative stress generated by heat stress.

A similar approach in pig production

To promote animal comfort and maintain performance levels, less thermogenic feed should be favoured. This involves :

  • a slight concentration of energy in the feed,
  • rather in the form of fats,
  • as well as limiting the level of fibre and indigestible protein (while maintaining levels of essential amino acids)

Adapting micronutrient intake to act on increased oxidative stress (vitamins E, C, plant secondary metabolites, zinc and selenium) and supplementing with methyl donors (betaine) can be beneficial in conditions of heat stress.

In pig production, nutritional adaptation in hot weather also involves energy concentration and feed supplementation.

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