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Egbuniwe, I. C., Ayo, J. O., Kawu, M. U., & Mohammed, A. (2018). Behavioral and hematological responses of broiler chickens administered with betaine and ascorbic acid during hot-dry season. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 1-13.

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.

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