Heat putting animals at risk

Chief executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS), James Paul, is reporting an increase in the mortality rate among chickens, though he said it had not yet reached alarming proportions.

He said yesterday the high temperatures could affect the animals’ “reproductive abilities” and “disrupt the breeding cycle of some animals, especially dairy cows”, affecting next year’s milk supplies.

“We are seeing increased mortality, but it is not something we want to shout about right now. There is increased mortality of chickens, the broilers and layers, especially layers. And where a farmer would have invested in layers for six months into getting them up to where they should be, he doesn’t want to lose that because that’s his production. Farmers, I think, would have done their due diligence to ensure that the birds are adequately watered,” he said.

Paul urged poultry farmers to ensure they kept pens ventilated so there was no build-up of hot air in them.

Some farmers canvassed by the NATION said they had lost chickens but not in large numbers. One or two said they provided iced or cool water for their chicks.

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