The NFU is urging all poultry keepers to monitor environmental conditions within poultry buildings as part of their routine management procedures due to the milder weather.
This represents a significant change from the recent cold spell that many have been experiencing, which saw large parts of the UK experience sub-zero temperatures. This reminder comes particularly in light of the current Avian Influenza Protection Zone measures that are in place which include a housing element for all free-range poultry.
Poultry vet and managing director of Avivets, William Garton, said: “With unseasonal increases in temperature forecasted it is important for all poultry producers to ensure their ventilation systems are in working order. This is ever more important given the current Defra imposed housing order.
“Birds housed with compromised ventilation might be subjected to high carbon dioxide and/or ammonia levels. Carbon dioxide levels should be kept below 3,000ppm and ammonia levels below 20ppm.
“Poultry producers should be aware of the odour of increased ammonia and ensure CO2 meters are working. Birds suffering from high CO2 levels may appear drowsy and lethargic.
“Should temperatures dramatically increase, then producers should be aware of the early signs of heat stress which include lethargy but also open mouth breathing, holding wings away from the body and in extreme cases weakness and death.”