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Effect of ascorbic acid in heat-stressed poultry

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 July 2012

Department of Animal Health, Faculty of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences, KP Agricultural University, Peshawar, Pakistan
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, GC University, Faisalabad, Pakistan
Department of Clinical Science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Razi University, Iran
Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bari Aldo Moro, 700100 Valenzano, Bari, Italy
Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bari Aldo Moro, 700100 Valenzano, Bari, Italy
Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bari Aldo Moro, 700100 Valenzano, Bari, Italy
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Two reviews are available in published literature relating to the effects of ascorbic acid on poultry performance. The first review was written by Pardue and Thaxton in 1986 who reviewed the role of ascorbic acid in alleviating the negative effect of heat stress in poultry birds. The second review was presented by Whitehead and Keller in 2003, who detailed the general effects of ascorbic acid in poultry birds, not taking into consideration ‘heat stress’. The first review is deficient in the literature published after 1986, while the second review does not describe the effect of ascorbic acid in heat stressed birds. The present review describes the past and present knowledge of ascorbic acid in alleviating heat stress in poultry birds with new aspects. Heat stress is associated with compromised performance and productivity through a decline in feed intake, nutrient utilisation, growth rate, egg production and quality, feed efficiency and immunity. Heat stress is also characterised by a reduced antioxidant status in birds, resulting in increased oxidative stress. Moreover, male fertility is decreased when birds are exposed to heat stress. Supplementation of 250 mg of ascorbic acid per kg of feed has been found to be optimum to improve feed intake, body weight gain, feed efficiency, egg production and quality, nutrient digestibility, immune response and antioxidant status in poultry birds. This work compiles past and present information about the role of ascorbic acid in heat-stressed poultry.

Copyright © World's Poultry Science Association 2012

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