Dec 5, 2013
Flips and water-belly (the latter referred to as ascites), are both non-infectious causes of death common to the modern broiler regardless of breed. Both of these conditions are related to the stress that the demands of growth put on the bird’s heart. In this piece we will first discuss how the heart works. The follow up pieces will then focus on flips and ascites respectively.
The most important thing to remember is that the heart is a pump, a pump to move blood around the body. The blood carries many important substances to different parts of the body, but for the purpose of this discussion we will look only at oxygen.
The heart pumps blood into 2 different circuits on a continuous basis. The first circuit takes deoxygenated (low oxygen) blood through the lungs where it is oxygenated (high oxygen) before going back to the heart. This is called pulmonary circulation.