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Broiler chickens dead on arrival : associated risk factors and welfare indicators

Leonie Jacobs (UGent) , Evelyne Delezie, Luc Duchateau (UGent) , Klara Goethals (UGent) and Frank Tuyttens (UGent)
(2017) POULTRY SCIENCE. 96(2). p.259-265
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Abstract
The pre-slaughter phase of the production process has potentially important animal welfare implications, including mortality (recorded as “Dead on Arrivals”; DOA). To reduce DOA%, specific risk factors need to be identified. DOA% can also be used as a first and quick screening of pre-slaughter broiler welfare under commercial conditions. The aim of the present study was to identify risk factors for DOA% in commercial broiler flocks and to find associations between DOA% and animal-based indicators of broiler welfare during the pre-slaughter phase. Eighty-one transported flocks to five slaughter plants were assessed. Farmers provided information on the flock and observers gathered data on pre-slaughter factors. DOA% was recorded by slaughter plant personnel. The association between risk factors and DOA% was tested using linear mixed models, with slaughter plant as the random effect. Mean (± SE) DOA% was 0.30 ± 0.05% and median was 0.19% (range 0.04 to 3.34%). Two risk factors for DOA% were identified, both related to flock health status during the production phase. Higher DOA% was found when farmers did not check chick quality upon arrival (P = 0.011), although one extreme DOA% caused this significant effect. In addition, on-farm mortality during production (including selective culling) was negatively associated with DOA% (P = 0.011), potentially due to the selective culling on farm. Further research is needed on the impact of on-farm health status on welfare during the pre-slaughter phase, as the current study provided some evidence that on-farm factors are linked to mortality during the pre-slaughter phase. No specific characteristics of the pre-slaughter phase could be identified as risk factor for increased mortality. DOA% was positively associated with five welfare indicators, including indicators of thermal stress, which indicates the potential to use DOA% as a quick, cost-efficient screening tool for those welfare aspects.
Keywords
broiler welfare, mortality, DOA, risk factor, pre-slaughter phase, POULTRY-PROCESSING PLANTS, MORTALITY, TRANSPORT, SLAUGHTERHOUSE, LAIRAGE, RATES

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Chicago
Jacobs, Leonie, Evelyne Delezie, Luc Duchateau, Klara Goethals, and Frank Tuyttens. 2017. “Broiler Chickens Dead on Arrival : Associated Risk Factors and Welfare Indicators.” Poultry Science 96 (2): 259–265.
APA
Jacobs, Leonie, Delezie, E., Duchateau, L., Goethals, K., & Tuyttens, F. (2017). Broiler chickens dead on arrival : associated risk factors and welfare indicators. POULTRY SCIENCE, 96(2), 259–265.
Vancouver
1.
Jacobs L, Delezie E, Duchateau L, Goethals K, Tuyttens F. Broiler chickens dead on arrival : associated risk factors and welfare indicators. POULTRY SCIENCE. 2017;96(2):259–65.
MLA
Jacobs, Leonie, Evelyne Delezie, Luc Duchateau, et al. “Broiler Chickens Dead on Arrival : Associated Risk Factors and Welfare Indicators.” POULTRY SCIENCE 96.2 (2017): 259–265. Print.
@article{8121185,
  abstract     = {The pre-slaughter phase of the production process has potentially important animal welfare implications, including mortality (recorded as {\textquotedblleft}Dead on Arrivals{\textquotedblright}; DOA). To reduce DOA\%, specific risk factors need to be identified. DOA\% can also be used as a first and quick screening of pre-slaughter broiler welfare under commercial conditions. The aim of the present study was to identify risk factors for DOA\% in commercial broiler flocks and to find associations between DOA\% and animal-based indicators of broiler welfare during the pre-slaughter phase. Eighty-one transported flocks to five slaughter plants were assessed. Farmers provided information on the flock and observers gathered data on pre-slaughter factors. DOA\% was recorded by slaughter plant personnel. The association between risk factors and DOA\% was tested using linear mixed models, with slaughter plant as the random effect. Mean ({\textpm} SE) DOA\% was 0.30 {\textpm} 0.05\% and median was 0.19\% (range 0.04 to 3.34\%). Two risk factors for DOA\% were identified, both related to flock health status during the production phase. Higher DOA\% was found when farmers did not check chick quality upon arrival (P = 0.011), although one extreme DOA\% caused this significant effect. In addition, on-farm mortality during production (including selective culling) was negatively associated with DOA\% (P = 0.011), potentially due to the selective culling on farm. Further research is needed on the impact of on-farm health status on welfare during the pre-slaughter phase, as the current study provided some evidence that on-farm factors are linked to mortality during the pre-slaughter phase. No specific characteristics of the pre-slaughter phase could be identified as risk factor for increased mortality. DOA\% was positively associated with five welfare indicators, including indicators of thermal stress, which indicates the potential to use DOA\% as a quick, cost-efficient screening tool for those welfare aspects.},
  author       = {Jacobs, Leonie and Delezie, Evelyne and Duchateau, Luc and Goethals, Klara and Tuyttens, Frank},
  issn         = {0032-5791},
  journal      = {POULTRY SCIENCE},
  keyword      = {broiler welfare,mortality,DOA,risk factor,pre-slaughter phase,POULTRY-PROCESSING PLANTS,MORTALITY,TRANSPORT,SLAUGHTERHOUSE,LAIRAGE,RATES},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {259--265},
  title        = {Broiler chickens dead on arrival : associated risk factors and welfare indicators},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3382/ps/pew353},
  volume       = {96},
  year         = {2017},
}

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