CZAAWE Resource Article

Behavioral and hematological responses of broiler chickens administered with betaine and ascorbic acid during hot-dry season
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Heat stress is a major problem in poultry production in tropical regions. Assessing the impact of thermally stressful environmental conditions on the welfare of broiler chickens is of great importance. Behavioral responses in a novel environment and hematology of broiler chickens administered with betaine and/or ascorbic acid (AA) during the hot-dry season were evaluated. Broiler chickens were randomly divided into four groups: Group I (control) was given sterile water, Group II was given betaine, Group III was given AA, and Group IV received betaine + AA orally and daily for 42 days. An open-field test was used to assess behavior. Hematological parameters were obtained using a hematology auto-analyzer. The natural environmental conditions were predominantly outside the thermoneutral zone for broiler chickens. Results demonstrated that treated groups exhibited improved ability to adjust faster to a new environment and better hematological responses than controls, evidenced by enhanced behavioral responses, oxygen-carrying capacity, and immune responses of broiler chickens under unfavorable environmental conditions. Betaine and/or AA administration to broiler chickens improved some behavioral responses, hemoglobin concentrations, packed cell volume, and total leukocyte count during the hot-dry season.