Cooler Chickens for a Warming Earth

Cooler Chickens for a Warming Earth


Global warming has been a widely known issue for environment experts as well as for ordinary people. It affects all the living creatures on earth including chickens. And based on the theory, the earth would probably get warmer as years pass by.

As the planet warms, farmers that raise both meat chickens and egg layers will soon have to deal with the crippling effects of heat stress, and might find the traditional North American breeds — birds like Jersey Giants and Rhode Island Reds — newly susceptible to complications such as higher mortality rates, lower appetite and an increased risk of disease. And with demand for chicken on the rise — in 2015, the Food and Agriculture Organization projects, global production of poultry will top 100 million tons per year and by 2030 will rise to 143 million tons — sick birds are simply not an option on a planet that’s already having trouble raising enough food for its population.

This is the main reason why a group of scientists from the University of Delaware has conducted a study on how to breed a heat-resistant chicken. Theory is— having less feathers would help.


Schmidt samples the DNA of a chicken in Uganda

That’s the theory behind the work of the geneticist Carl Schmidt and his team at the University of Delaware.

We’re going to be seeing heat waves that are both hotter and longer,” Schmidt said. “And we need to learn how to mitigate the effect of climate change on animals — we need to figure out how to help them adapt to it.”>/div>

You talk to farmers today and they’re not concerned,” Schmidt said. “These people are thinking one flock, one generation at a time. But that’s the reason this kind of work needs to take place in an academic environment. Is it important for next year? Probably not. But is it important a decade or so down the line? Absolutely.”


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