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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effect of Electrical Stimulation and Length of Feed Withdrawal on Chicken Gastrointestinal Contents and Intestinal Ph

Authors
item Northcutt, Julie - UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA
item Buhr, Richard
item Dickens, James

Submitted to: Applied Poultry Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 1, 2002
Publication Date: April 1, 2002
Citation: Northcutt, J.K., Buhr, R.J., Dickens, J.A. 2002. Effect of electrical stimulation and length of feed withdrawal on chicken gastrointestinal contents and intestinal ph. Applied Poultry Research. 11(1):1-5.

Interpretive Summary: Commercial poultry processors use electrical current after death to accelerate the onset and resolution of rigor for early cut-up and deboning of meat. Many processors have suggested that these systems also cause fecal voiding of carcasses. Fecal voiding would be advantageous because it reduces the amount of available material for contamination during removal of the viscera. The present study used market-aged male broilers and broiler breeders (roosters and hens) to evaluate effects of electrical current and length of feed withdrawal on intestinal contents, intestinal tissue pH, and intestinal tensile strength (maximum load). Electrical current (pulsed 2 second on, l second off for 60 second) was found to have no effect on intestinal contents, or intestinal tissue pH of full fed male broilers, or broilers held without feed for 12 hours before processing. Intestinal contents for full fed broilers was 2.6 to 3 fold greater (51 to 57 grams), based on weight of filled intestines, than intestinal contents of broilers held without feed. Electrical current had no effect on intestinal weight, or maximum load. Hens had heavier intestinal weight (14%) but they were weaker (23%) than the intestines from roosters. Electrical current applied after death does not appear to measurably alter intestine content or strength.

Technical Abstract: Commercial poultry processors using electrical stimulation (ES) systems to accelerate rigor mortis and resolution of rigor for early cut-up and deboning of meat have suggested that these systems also cause cloacal voiding of carcasses during bleeding. Cloacal voiding would be advantageous to processors because it reduces available material for carcass contamination during evisceration. The present study used market-aged broilers and broiler breeders to evaluate effects of ES and length of feed withdrawal on gastrointestinal contents, intestinal tissue pH and intestinal tensile strength (peak force). ES (200 V AC, 60 Hz pulsed 2 second on, l second off for 60 second) was found to have no effect on intestinal contents, or intestinal tissue pH of full fed broilers, or broilers held without feed for 12 hours before processing. Intestinal contents for full fed broilers was 2.6 to 3 fold greater (51 to 57 grams feces or ingesta), based on weight of filled intestines, than intestinal contents of broilers held without feed. Intestinal peak force of roosters was 20 to 26% greater than intestinal peak force of hens by as much as 160 grams (jejunal) to 200 grams (ileal). ES had no effect on viscera weight, ileal peak force and jejunal peak force, with the exception of jejunal peak force for hens which was 14% higher in ES hens as compared to non-stimulated hens. The increased intestinal peak force for ES hens (14%) was less than the peak force difference observed between genders (20 to 26%), and thus, would not provide a processing advantage.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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