Corn is a common ingredient in poultry and other livestock feeds. It is a high starch grain, and high starch content equals high energy content. In some living conditions, this is ideal for poultry and other animals. In others, it is not.
Chickens and other domestic or wild fowl thrive in different environments across the world, but their health depends largely on their diet. Poultry in cool or even cold parts of the world require higher energy in their diet—coming from grains such as corn. The energy in the feed grains converts to heat in the body of the bird, which raises the internal body temperature.
Just as this can be beneficial in cooler climates, it can be harmful in warmer climates. Heat stress is a danger to both the productivity and possibly the lives of your chickens. Hot air temperatures, humidity, or a lack of ventilation—compounded by a high energy diet—can all lead to an overheated flock. Switching to a low starch (corn-free) diet and offering chilly treats during hotter months can lower the risk of heat stress.
How to Spot Heat Stress in Poultry
Not familiar with the signs of heat stress in poultry? Here are some signs and symptoms to look for:
Decreased egg production
Lack of energy
Outstretched wings and/or legs
If any of your beloved chickens are displaying these behaviors, get those fans rocking, provide plenty of shade, and start taking a closer look at your flock’s diet.
Know the Risks of Conventional Corn
Conventional corn is also known for being a common home for different mycotoxins, primarily aflatoxin, produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus. Mycotoxins are byproducts of various molds, and any given one can be hormonally disruptive. You guessed it! That means they can impact the productivity of your laying hens! Mycotoxins can also block the uptake of critical nutrients in your chickens’ diets and alter the overall health of your birds.
Fortunately for our New Country Organics customers, we carefully test our grains before mixing each batch. While our feeds containing organic corn are perfectly safe to feed, some customers still prefer to avoid corn.
You Are What You Eat (Eats)
Do you have a corn allergy? Over the years, we have gathered impressive anecdotal evidence that customers can tell when their laying hens or broilers eat grains that they themselves have sensitivities to. To offer excellent quality, certified organic feeds to everyone with sensitivities or certain preferences, we offer soy-free, corn-free options for every stage of life! Visit our online store to see the other specialty feed formulas available (including a no-wheat layer feed).