Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Chicken farmers urged to be cautious during heat

The Chicken Farmers of Ontario marketing board is urging its members, truckers and processors to take precautions handling birds during the current heat wave.

On its website this week, it says “consultation among industry stakeholders, including farmers, catchers, transporters and processors during extreme heat and humidity is essential for making the appropriate judgment call regarding loading and transportation.

“Suggested best practices dictate participation in animal welfare training such as the required Animal Care Program for CFO farmer-members, the Canadian Livestock Transport (CLT) Certification Program for transporters, and the OMAFRA broiler catching course for catchers, transporters and processors.

“Industry stakeholders should be able to recognize visible signs of heat stress. 

“These include wing spreading, open mouth breathing, increased water intake, increased mortality, wet droppings, reduced feed intake, and in the later stages, staggering and terminal convulsions. 

“Consider adjusting the time when birds are loaded to avoid the midday sun, reducing catching and transport time, rescheduling processing for an alternate date” and reducing housing density, it said.