Stress means “Pressure, Burden or Compulsion when much energy is required.” Stress is a condition where the body is not able to maintain normal body functions. This is found invariably that birds are always under stress specially in Indian Open Farming model & comes across a large number of stressor during their lifetimes like Seasonal, Climate, Management, Production & Others. This leads to huge economic losses. Stress is major hidden enemy.

Birds are having various stress factors in everyday life like-

  1. Adverse Environment
  2. Managemental Stress
    1. Vaccination
    1. Medication
    1. Transportation
    1. Frequent handling
    1. Beak trimming
    1. Overcrowding of birds
  3. Managemental problems-
    1. Handling for the purpose of weighing and moving
    1. Pecking/cannibalism
    1. Wet liter/Ammonia
  4. Poor quality feeds-
  1. Imbalanced diets
    1. Feeds containing toxins
    1. Inadequate intake
  2. Inadequate measures for health
    1. Lack of biosecurity
    1. Poor hygiene
    1. Poor water quality
    1. Disease stress

The adverse effects of Stressors are additive and need to reduce the number and intensity of these stressor in all poultry operations.

Technically, Stress leads to increased Corticosterone levels (Stress hormone) which is release by Adrenal gland in the blood that results in rapid release of glucose into the blood resulting in depletion of Glycogen. The Respiratory rate is changed. There is alteration of Ph levels in intestine which upset the balance of microflora in the gut. The Increased blood glucose occurs as body wants to conserve energy to fight any sudden requirements of energy by vital organs like brain, heart and kidney.

Due to higher blood glucose levels birds does not feel hungry and reduces feed intake. Longer duration of stress affects immunity and hamper metabolism of Carbohydrate, Protein, Fat and Minerals. Finally, birds directly suffered with egg production and body weight gains.

Improvisation of stress through Nutrition-

  1. Energy – Increase the energy content of diet.
  2. Protein – Balancing amino acids
  3. Calcium and Phosphorus – Increase calcium intake & maintain Ca:Ph ratio
  4. DEB – Maintain appropriate DEB ratio as per region and season
  5. Osmoregulators/Stress        Balancers/Electrolytes/Buffering           agents/ Supportive agents
  6. Vitamin C – Synthesis of vitamin C is not constant. The ability of kidneys to synthesize vitamin C changes with age, management, environment, disease, nutrition and stress. This is why supplementation of coated vitamin C is must.
  7. Antipyretic – Salicylic acid, Aspirin in diets are helps as antipyretic. This helps in maintain body temperature and supplementation in diet of heat stressed birds improved performance as well as welfare.
  8. Chromium – Helps to maintain hormonal balance by managing stress hormone and energy uptakes
  9. Betaine – Good quality betaine manage Osmoregulation and combat stress
  10. Changes in feeding practices-
    1. Early feeding and in late hours of the day
    2. Stored feed for a week in hot and humid climates

Dr Manoj Kumar Dev Sarma,

Director Bhuvana Nutribio Sciences