With temperature soaring above 35 degree Celsius on July 20 in Gelephu, poultry farm owners claim that the heat killed more than 600 poultry birds in Sompangkha gewog.

More birds are reported to be weak.

A poultry farm owner, Nima Lama, lost about 385 birds on July 20. More than 20 died the following day.

Nima Lama is also the chairman of Sarpang layer corporative.

He said that the birds were inside the shed that has a CGI sheet roof. “Watering the roof did not help much. If we don’t see rain sooner, many more may die.”

More than 10 farmers lost between 15-300 poultry birds that day.

Nima’s neighbour, San Bahadur Subba, lost 135 layers.

He had 4,000 layers in his farm. After the incident, he has been constantly watering the CGI roof to control the temperature.

Farmers say the heat is affecting their poultry business.

In Rinzin Dorji Tamang’s case, although he lost 20 birds on July 20, more than 100 appear unhealthy and weak.

It had his second batch of birds brought in February this year. “They started laying eggs two months ago and the production is severely affected,” he said.

Last month, he sold at least 10 cartons of eggs a week but this month he has not been able to make six cartoon boxes.

“The colour of eggs has also changed to almost white,” he said.

Another farmer, Dal Bir Mongar, saved his birds by letting them out of the shed. He said the shed was built according to standards provided by the gewog livestock officials. The roof is 8ft high. “This has never happened in the past.”

Meanwhile, livestock officials visited the affected farmers and confirmed that the heat caused the death of the birds.

Livestock officials said poultry birds would not be able to resist heat more than 30 degree Celsius.

“In extreme heat, birds begin to open their beaks for respiration releasing moisture content. Doing so increases the PH level in the blood, which makes their body weak and cause death.”

The birds suffered from swollen liver and died, livestock officials told farmers.

Nirmala Pokhrel