The low water supply as a result of the dry season in the country officially declared by the Philippine Atmospheric Geographical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) this year, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources, Research and Development (PCAARRD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) offers science and technology (S&T) options for poultry and livestock raisers.

          S&T options are drought resistance and drought avoidance strategies to mitigate the effect of inadequate water supply from the dry period.

          A hot environment can cause discomfort and stress in farm animals which commonly reduced productivity or mortality. Stress, in general, can lower the animals’ resistance or immune competence, thus making them more susceptible to diseases.

          An animal that is under stress will perform poorly-less gain in weight, lower milk production, lower egg production, or higher incidence of reproductive failures as the case may be.

          Farmers cannot do much about long periods of dry spell except to relieve the animals from the extremely hot weather.

          The following are practical tips that animal raisers can do to reduce the negative effects of heat stress for chicken.

          • Provide cool drinking water at all times to prevent dehydration and to help them regulate body temperature.

          •Allow maximum air circulation or ventilation inside the house and pens.

          •Insulate galvanized iron (GI) roofing with appropriate local materials such as rice straw, cogon blades, and coconut fronds.

          •Reduce stocking density (by a third for broilers and as much as half for breeders). This will give animals more space and reduce heat generated within the pens.

          •Cull unproductive or undesirable chicken.

          •Give more feeds during the cooler part of the day (early morning, late afternoon or at night) and provide them with vitamins and electrolytes. It is best to add the vitamins and electrolytes to the water early in the morning so that the animals get the needed boost before the temperature gets warmer.

          •Remove accumulated manure under the chicken house. Heat is generated from the decomposing manure. Removing manure will also minimize exposure of those to toxic gases that could aggravate the already stressful condition.