Turkey farming

Managing heat stress

Turkey farming becomes a particular challenge in the summer months. Turkey fatteners such as Rainer Melle can combat heat stress with specific measures.

Rainer Melle knows from experience that turkeys are sensitive to heat. The farmer from Grossenkneten-Hespenbusch has been fattening turkeys for some 30 years. “One summer, we paid dearly for our mistake when there was a long hot period with sharp differences in temperature over the individual days,” recalls Melle. “Animals in the final fattening period in particular are unable to withstand heat. As a result, we have invested in a shed air conditioning system, which optimises management and we help their organism with supplement feeds.”

Tip from the experts

Managing heat stress:

  • Keep air moving
  • Use spray cooling
  • Postpone feeding until evening
  • Pass through sheds on a regular basis to ensure animals stand up
  • Add supplement feed to drinking water

Rainer Melle considers it important to be prepared when heat sets in. He is now forewarned of impending heat with the Miravit ThermoTool app, which he has downloaded onto his smartphone. Calculated based on temperature and air humidity, a heat stress index provides a forecast for the next few days. “I now know what to expect and can make precise adjustments in advance,” says the farmer, pleased with the digital support.

Adjustments to cooling and feeding

The farm manager installed summer fans in each shed in 2015. Despite the investment, he sustained major losses during a heatwave that very same year. As a result, Melle installed a spray cooling system which distributes water throughout the shed via fine nozzles at regular intervals when a pre-set temperature and air humidity level are reached. “The animals must not get too damp, otherwise they catch cold,” explains Melle. “This way, I can lower the temperature by 3 to 8 degrees Celsius.” The turkeys are fed with P3 to P6 turkey fattening feed, depending on the fattening phase. The broken maize that the feed contains helps to improve gizzard activity and intestinal health. The optimised nutrient composition also ensures effective feed digestibility, which helps turkeys, especially in the summer months. Adding supplement feeds means Melle improves well-being, above all, for large animals from their 18th week of life at high temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius. Combined use of Miravit Asco Stabil and Miravit Hydrolac has proven successful for the turkey farmer.

Turkey farming heat stress

Providing guidance on what to do in hot weather (from left): Andre Stevens (Product Manager for Poultry), farmer Rainer Melle and Michael Eilers-Rethwisch (Production Consultant for Poultry).

The Miravit ThermoTool app is available from the Google Play Store and iTunes Store.