Poultry International - November 2017 - 7
PoultryInternational ❙ 7
lines, per company requirements based on flock health
status and water quality, will contribute to good welfare,
as does ensuring that water and feeding equipment is
kept at the proper height, so maximizing access. Simple
daily monitoring of water consumption, for example, can
alert producers to potential health or equipment issues.
Proper litter management is also critical to broiler
welfare. Dry, well-managed litter not only helps to ensure health and welfare, but raises performance through
fewer condemnations and higher carcass yield. Wellmanaged litter promotes footpad health, and keeps air
quality high and ammonia levels low. It protects birds
from cold floors, and encourages natural behaviors, such
as dust bathing.
Plan for the unexpected
Knowing when, and to whom, increased mortality
and morbidity should be reported, will ensure that any
health problems are tackled quickly, so minimizing any
impact on welfare.
All producers should have a regularly revised emergency plan that can be implemented should things go
wrong. Staff must fully understand what to do, and need
to be regularly updated, particularly when there is staff
turnover. It is also worth identifying stakeholders who
may be able step in when needed.
Backup systems -- for example, for water and generators -- must be in place and checked regularly so that
they can be used immediately if needed. With a good
plan in place, dealing with real disasters can be faster
and more efficient.
Additionally, those that work with broilers should understand the basics of bird behavior and what behaviors,
social interactions and flock appearance may reveal. The
better these behaviors are understood, the more quickly
remedial action can be taken if necessary.
Welfare at slaughter
At slaughter, pain and fear needs to be prevented.
Birds should not simply be tipped out of their transport
containers, as this can result in stress, flapping and
injury, which can have a detrimental effect on the end
product, explained Jade Spence, technical officer, The
November 2017 ❙ www.WATTAgNet.com
Humane Slaughter Association.
Where water bath stunning is used, there are many
elements that need to be carefully monitored to ensure
To watch Global focus on poultry welfare
in full, go to https://goo.gl/zhD51a
Ideally, shackles should be tapered to suit a range of
broiler leg sizes, and wetted to avoid electrical resistance
at the contact point with broilers' legs. In addition to
daily cleaning, shackles should be cleaned at least once a
week with acid to remove any scale.
Shackle lines should be as straight as possible, without inclines or dips, and short enough to limit the duration of shackling to no more than 20-60 seconds.
To improve welfare on the shackle line, breast contact strips or support conveyors can be used to reduce
struggling and flapping. Breast support technology,
however, is still in its infancy, and it is important to
ensure that birds are on the conveyor comfortably, with
no breathing difficulties, and cannot escape the shackles
with one or both legs.
Occupied shackles should be in constant contact with
an earthed electrode or rubbing bar to reduce pre-stun
shocks and carcass damage.
To further prevent pre-stun shocks, an electrically
isolated height-adjustable entry ramp can be employed.
This can facilitate a rapid, but gentle, swing of the bird's
head into the electrified water.
The bird's head must fully enter the water bath as,
Dips and inclines on shackle lines should be avoided and
shackling should be limited to 20-60 seconds to minimize
discomfort. Roman edoshkavsky | Dreamstime