Poultry International - July 2018 - 36
36 ❙ PoultryInternational
HOW PREVENTING WING FLAPPING IMPROVES CHICKEN PROCESSING
This same care needs to be demonstrated when
placing birds into cages or other containers for transport, without compromising the speed of operation.
In some companies, metal cages with various levels
are still used. Wear and tear can result in the cage bars
bending, loosening or coming away altogether. This
may allow birds to poke their heads or wings through
any resultant gaps, and these may become trapped during handling or loading onto trucks.
Installing plastic tubing along the approach to the automatic
killer can help to reduce wing damage. | Eduardo Cervantes López
fortably and do not flap, given that their breasts are in
constant contact with the breast comforter, and assuming that everything else is as it should be.
However, this is not the case when birds weighing 3.5
to 3.8 kilograms are hung. Quite simply, they will not fit
comfortably into the space provided, and consequently,
they flap their wings continuously on the way to being
stunned. In some plants, the solution is to increase the
voltage in the stunning bath. When this situation arises,
wings may be damaged, and there can be an accumulation
of blood that is not fully drained during bleed out.
This will be evidenced at the exit from the last
plucker where it will be possible to see blood vessels
that are still full of blood, affecting the appearance of
carcasses and raising the number of rejects.
Due to the above, some plants have increased the
distance between the hanging shackles to 8 inches.
This would appear to be successful and has no negative impact when processing smaller birds.
Exit from the stunner
Should poorly maintained containers of this type
be in use, they should be covered with a plastic mesh,
with holes of an adequate size to still permit good air
Similarly, where cages are used, they should have
lids. It is worth remembering that as soon as a broiler
is caged, it will want to escape. In raising its head out
of the cage at the moment that another cage is placed
on top, the risk increases of fracturing a bird's skull. In
the best case, the bird will die instantly, in the worst, it
will bleed to death en route to the processing plant.
At the plant
The move toward processing larger birds, in excess
of 3 kilograms, presents new challenges where wing
flapping is concerned.
Traditionally, the distance between the shackles
on the overhead conveyor has been 6 inches, for birds
weighing less than 2.5 kilograms. With this much
space between smaller birds, they can be moved com-
When birds are stunned successfully, they will
leave the stunning bath shaking, the tonic phase. If
birds are big and there is insufficient space between
each one, they can knock against each other. This can
result in significant damage to the wings.
If broilers do not relax enough prior to entering the
guides leading to the automatic killer, during the clonic
phase, they may rise above these guides, adding to the
work of those responsible for ensuring that all birds are
Additionally, depending on the type of guides used,
when birds flap their wings during this stage, they will
come into contact with the stainless steel equipment,
and again may be damaged. Installing a plastic tube
running along the route to the automatic killer can help
to reduce any impact on the wings at this stage. ■
Eduardo Cervantes López is an international consultant
based in Colombia. He can be contacted at icproave@
hotmail.com or via www.icproave.com.
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ July 2018