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Statistical analysis The experimental data were analyzed using Excell2003 and means were compared by independent-sample T-test (SPSS17.0 software).
Data are expressed as mean ±standard error of the mean (SEM). 1A, heat stress significantly affected chicks' lying behavior.
Moreover, the immune system of heat-stressed poultry may be affected.
The immune organs of chicks at different ages submitted to heat stress of displayed significant atrophy and edema, necrosis of bursa cells and reduced both cell-mediated and humoral immunity ().
In the PHS group, at 8 days of age, chicks were submitted to persistent heat stress for 1, 2 or 3 weeks.
Thus, observing the effects of heat stress on different behaviors of the young chicks may reveal the characteristics and regular patterns of their response to acute heat stress (AHS) and to previous heat stress (PHS) of chicks.
An earlier study reported that, under heat stress, chickens displayed a number of clinical symptoms, including open-mouth breathing, asthma stretches, rude respiration, stretched and shrunk chest and abdomen, staggered legs, stretched body, restlessness, and weakness.
The severely affected birds also presented prostration, convulsions, and even death due to heat exhaustion ().
Therefore, poultry often suffer from heat stress, which causes inestimable and negative impacts on their growth, development, production, and reproduction (). While their growth rate is fast, their ability to adapt to the changes in environment conditions is poor.
Moreover, since they do not present sweat glands in the skin, chickens are highly sensitive and vulnerable to heat stress, particularly when they are young.