Submitted to: Proceedings of the Atalantic Poultry Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 12, 2007
Publication Date: February 15, 2007
Citation: Northcutt, J.K., Buhr, R.J. 2007. Pre-catching management: Effects on broiler performance, live shrink and gastrointestinal tract contents. Proceedings of the Atalantic Poultry Conference. p. 55-61. Technical Abstract: Poultry production and processing involve a series of interrelated steps without the ultimate goal of producing safe and wholesome products for consumers. Events that occur before and after death have a significant influence on the overall quality and microbiological safety of poultry meat. A series of research projects were conducted to evaluated broiler growth versus live shrink, live shrink and broiler recovery after an unscheduled feed outage, impact of a novel replacement finisher feed, and forced carcass cloacae evacuation prior to scalding. The rate of live shrink in broilers or weight loss due to feed deprivation may vary from 0.06% (0 hour feed withdrawal) to 0.5 % of the body weight per hour of withdrawal depending upon the conditions. Sixty to 70% of the intestinal contents are evacuated during the first 4 to 6 hour of feed withdrawal if birds are held under continuous lighting and given access to water. After an unscheduled feed outage (12 hours), feed consumption increased by ~3.7 grams/hour per bird for a 12 hour refeeding period. Research on an experimental feed (maltodextrin) showed that it could be rapidly metabolized and cleared from the broilers’ gastrointestinal tract quicker than traditional feed. Bird lost less weight before processing when they were fed the experimental feed. Forced evacuation of full-fed carcasses resulted in weight loss of 6 grams per bird (evacuation and washing) compared to carcasses that were washed without evacuation which gained 2.5 grams per bird. Carcasses that were forced to evacuate were microbiologically indistinguishable from those that were not forced to evacuate; however, forced evacuate significantly reduced the likelihood that fecal material would be deposited in scalder water or expressed during picking. Implementation of this unit to the processing line could improve carcass uniformity and decrease carcass contamination and cross-contamination. Broiler carcass yield and microbiological safety are influenced by a number of factors, and in particularly, those events that occur during the last 24 h before processing and during the conversion of muscle to meat. Current issues associated with animal welfare, carcass defects and food safety require consistency and cooperation between production and processing personnel. These issues will continue to be emphasized by regulatory officials and must include pre- and post-harvest management practices.