As ascites is an imbalance between demand and supply of oxygen, many factors will influence the occurence of this metabolic disorder.

Ventilation of the poultry house will have a direct influence, as one of the functions of ventilation is to provide fresh air with sufficient oxygen to the bird and remove air with too high levels of carbon dioxide. If carbon dioxide levels are too high, the lungs of the birds can not adequatly take up oxygen anymore, and as the demand of oxygen will continue, the bird will start to develop ascites.

Burning fuel to heat the house takes up oxygen and produces carbon dioxide as well, therefore putting more limitations on the available oxygen for the birds. Heaters should therefore take their air directly from the outside, and not use the air inside the house for the purpose of burning.
Heating systems that do not burn their fuel directly in the house and therefore limit the output of carbon dioxide in the house (central heating systems), have an advantage over systems that use open fire.

If ventilation is too limited early in life, the birds can develop ascites later in life, since the sequence of events that lead to ascites can take several weeks for full development. It is therefore important to ventilate sufficiently during this period. The carbon dioxide levels inside the house should not exceed 2500 to 3000 ppm.

Further to this direct influence, ventilation however can have also an indirect effect. As when due to ventilation, the bird experiences a relatively low temperature and will use more energy to keep its body temperature at the desired level.

This increased demand of energy asks for an increased demand of oxygen therefore, the demand that the tissues asks from the lungs will also increase. Subsequently, the cardiovascular system of the bird has to work harder to supply the tissues with oxygen thus, triggering ascites to develop.