Hens in danger of heat exhaustion

PETALING JAYA: Heat and a prolonged drought can affect chickens as they end up with poor appetites, which in turn, impact the production of eggs, said Federation of Livestock Farmers Associations Of Malaysia adviser Datuk Jeffrey Ng.

“The production of eggs will be reduced because when it is hot, the chickens don’t eat. Even under the shade, they get uncomfortable due to the heatwave,” he said.

He estimated that 75% of the farms are out in open spaces, which meant that the chickens are exposed to the heat.

“There is nothing much we can do other than wait out the dry spell. Sometimes farms will have to procure water to ease the situation and this can cause an increase in the cost of production.

“But then again, we have to see the period of the dry spell. Usually, the livestock can recover within a week or two but prolonged weather conditions can take more than a month of recovery,” he said.

He said this in reference to a forecast by the Malaysian Meteorological Department that most parts of the country would experience more days without rain or with low rainfall, now that the southwest monsoon is here till mid-September.

During this period, the winds would blow constantly from the southwest with lower air humidity and stable atmospheric conditions, resulting in a lack of rain cloud formation.

The haze could also occur, especially from August to October, if open burning is not controlled.

This would impact the people, said Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia professor of public health Dr Sharifa Ezat Wan Puteh, citing the likelihood of dehydration, irritation of skin, eyes and throat when the dry weather and haze come into the picture.

She said people who have allergies would be the ones most affected.

As such, she recommended that people continue masking up and staying indoors.

“In some instances, we will likely see kids skipping school or adults not being able to go to work because of sickness.

“If you are dehydrated, you urinate less, which can also cause urinary tract infection or lead to kidney stones.

“So if you have less access to clean water, it is best to double boil the water or use a water purifier before consumption,” she said.

Dr Sharifa said that in countries like China and India where pollution is high, researchers carried out studies which showed links to non-communicable diseases and cancer.

Thus, she said that people must be more aware of the consequences of air pollution on overall health.

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