Aviagen Turkeys Present Valued Industry Knowledge at Second Technical Talk

Many valued customers were welcomed to our second Aviagen® Turkeys (ATL) Technical Talk, which was held on Tuesday 20th April 2021. 

The morning started with a presentation by Marcus Kenny, Company Nutritionist, who discussed how turkeys respond to warm weather conditions and ‘Managing Summer Feeding’.

Marcus highlighted that feed intake may reduce as much as 30% during warm weather conditions and that heat stress decreases the efficiency of digestion, meaning intake of critical nutrients required for optimal productivity and efficiency are compromised.   

To combat these effects, Marcus discussed how adjusting the nutrient specification levels of diets during a heat stress event can be beneficial. One approach is to reduce intact protein and increase the use of synthetic amino acids to create a better amino acid balance. 

Marcus explained that insufficient digestible amino acid intake is one of the main reasons for productivity loss during hot weather and that minimising excess dietary crude protein reduces the metabolic load on the bird.

The presentation then moved towards feed physical quality. Feed conversion and growth is enhanced when feed physical quality is improved. He explained that this response is related to reduced energy expended during eating, resulting in more metabolisable energy available for the bird to cope with heat stress and for productive purposes.

Other areas Marcus discussed are the importance of minerals and electrolytes, which become more important in higher temperatures. Also how sufficient water space and cool water temperatures will encourage birds to drink.

Dr Carlo Norci, Management Specialist at ATL, then took the lead and presented about ‘Summer Ventilation’ and the physical effects of hot weather on commercial birds and the techniques to manage them.

Firstly, Carlo explained how the birds themselves are a main source of heat inside the house and how much of the bird’s energy is used to produce this heat. He also explained the different ways heat is expelled from the birds and the effects this has on them in hot weather, such as decreased feed intake and growth rate and possibly higher mortality.  

Carlo explained there is a thermo-neutral temperature zone in which the bird expresses its maximum genetic potential for growth and feed conversion. If the temperature leaves this thermo-neutral zone, part of the energy produced by the birds is not converted into weight or better conversion, but is used to disperse excess heat or to increase the maintenance requirement in the case of excessive chill.

Carlo’s key management advice to cool down an environment during the hot season is by using air movement to produce the “wind chill” effect. This is the perceived decrease in air temperature felt by a body due to the airspeed: the greater amount of airflow, the greater cooling effect is produced.

Carlo then went on to discuss the different ways to achieve increased airflow. Wind tunnel ventilation and cross ventilation are some of the most common methods. Whilst discussing these options, Carlo demonstrated with visual examples of how to calculate air speed, position air inlets and exhaust fans. To finish, key points were summarised and attendees were welcomed to ask any questions. 

From everyone here at Aviagen Turkeys Ltd, we would like to say a huge thank-you to all of our customers who took the time to attend April’s Technical Talk.