Heat killing chickens in the thousands, but death rates still lower than in previous years

Illustrative photo: Miroslav Zimmer / Czech Radio

This year, 25,000 chickens across five farms have died as a consequence of overheating. Overall however, the amount of such cases has been decreasing in past years, Petr Majer from the State Veterinary Administration told the Czech News Agency on Friday.

Illustrative photo: Miroslav Zimmer / Czech Radio
Deaths through overheating have been a major killer in past years. In 2017, 100,000 pieces of poultry across 11 farms died. In the majority of cases the cause was ventilation failure and subsequent overheating. In 2018, 30,000 pieces of poultry were lost.

The State Veterinary Administration enacted new regulations in 2017 that force farmers to note down how long good living conditions can be maintained in the case of a sudden power outage in their emergency plans, as well as selecting the person responsible for keeping a reserve power source.

Although casualty numbers still range in the tens of thousands, they have been on a downward trajectory. No case of a farm’s entire poultry population dying as a result of overheating has been registered this year.

Neither has such an event been registered among the country’s pig farms this year. Although in one case 1,800 died as a result of ventilation failure.

Veterinarians recommend farmers pay special attention during hot days and make sure the animals are regularly hydrated. In enclosed farms this includes cooling down pig and cattle with showers. For those grazing in the open, farmers need to ensure there are water sources and shade spots available.

The amount of water needed to keep animals hydrated lies in tens of litres per piece. It is especially high for dairy cows, which need between 100 to 180 litres a day.

According to the administration’s annual report, veterinarians inspected 115.5 million pieces of poultry at slaughter in 2018.