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One measure of the thermal status of poultry is cloacal temperature measured with a cloacal thermometer; however, this method requires handling the bird, is invasive, and can be stressful. Infrared thermography is an alternative means for assessing bird thermal status. The objective of this study was to investigate the body temperature response of pullets subjected to different environmental air temperatures during the growing phase and to evaluate the relationship between the cloacal temperature and the body parts surface temperature. A total of 648 chicks (Lohmann LSL Lite) were used in 2 different phases, phase I (day 1 through 6 wk of age) and phase II (week 7 through 17). During phase I, chicks were reared at 1 of 3 different thermal environments: thermal comfort (35°C–19°C), mild heat stress (38°C–22°C), or mild cold stress (28°C–17°C). In phase II, pullets were randomly redistributed to 1 of 4 daytime temperature treatments: 20°C; 25°C; 30°C; and 35°C, all with night time temperature of 20°C. Cloacal temperature and body surface temperature for 8 parts (head, eye, comb, chest, back, wing, leg, head area, and body area) were obtained weekly from 4 to 2 birds per treatment, respectively, during phase II. There were no effects for the interactions between the 2 experimental phases for cloacal and body parts surface temperature. There was a strong correlation (P < 0.001) between cloacal temperature and each body part temperature; cloacal temperature followed a quadratic response to environmental air temperature treatments. Pullets subjected to 35°C/20°C and 30°C/20°C had the highest body parts temperatures compared with the other 2 treatments (P < 0.05). The leg surface temperature was greatest in all treatments, and the chest the lowest. Regression between cloacal and body parts temperature had a 95% predictive accuracy of better than 0.4°C, suggesting a useful alternative to direct cloacal temperature measurement.
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Cândido, M. G. L.; Tinôco, I. F. F.; Albino, L. F. T.; Freitas, L. C. S. R.; Santos, T. C.; Cecon, P. R.; and Gates, Richard S., "Effects of heat stress on pullet cloacal and body temperature" (2020). Animal Science Publications. 674.