Click here to view as a pdf: Heat Stress In Poultry
By Stephanie Hutsko, PhD
Simply put, heat stress occurs when a bird’s core temperature is higher than its thermoneutral zone (Figure 1). A thermoneutral zone is a temperature range in which an animal does not use any additional energy to maintain its normal core body temperature. Heat stress is a result of a negative balance between the energy transfer from the bird’s body to its environment and the amount of heat energy produced by the bird. This imbalance can be caused by multiple factors such as ambient temperature, humidity, air movement, metabolism rate and thermal irradiation. Effects can range from mild distress to death.