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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Poultry Microbiological Safety and Processing Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #315306

Title: Feather retention force in broiler carcasses slaughtered and held up to 8 hours postmortem prior to scalding

item Buhr, Richard - Jeff
item Bourassa, Dianna
item WILSON, KIMBERLY - University Of Georgia
item HARRIS, CAITLIN - University Of Georgia

Submitted to: Poultry Science Association Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/13/2016
Publication Date: 8/13/2015
Citation: Buhr, R.J., Bourassa, D.V., Wilson, K.M., Harris, C.E. 2015. Feather retention force in broiler carcasses slaughtered and held up to 8 hours postmortem prior to scalding [abstract]. Poultry Science Association Meeting Abstract. Poultry Science. 94:(E-Suppl.1)269. p.92.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: One factor that could impact the feasibility of commercial on-farm slaughter of broilers is the time delay from on-farm slaughter to scalding and defeathering in the commercial plant that could be 4 h or more. This experiment evaluated feather retention force (FRF) in broilers that were slaughtered (stunned and exsanguinated) and remained shackled by their feet for 0, 1, 2, 4, or 8 h prior to scalding. Commercial male broilers were individually weighed, shackled in batches of 5, stunned, exsanguinated, and then carcasses transferred to stationary shackles and held. The wing secondary remiges (pulled distal to proximal #4-#9) and tail rectrices (pulled lateral to medial #7-#2) feathers were extracted parallel to their insertion and maximum FRF recorded with a digital gauge. Feather tracts were sampled contralaterally alternating left or right side before and after scalding. For the wings FRF values were similar for 0 to 4 h postmortem (3,150 to 3,343g) but significantly declined at 8 h (2,681g). For the tail FRF values were similar at 0, 1, and 2 h (1,237 to 1,115g) but declined at 4 and 8 h (975 and 1,035g). Scalding lowered wing FRF from 3,150g to 421g at 0 h and values remained significantly higher (640 to 755g) for carcasses held for 1 to 8 h. Scalded tail feathers had the lowest values at 4 h (677g) and highest values at 1 and 2 h (841 and 869g). When carcasses were held for 4 or 8 h at 4ºC FRF was elevated for both wing (10 to 41%) and tail (31 to 41%) feathers. In contrast holding carcasses for 4 or 8 h at 40ºC resulted in lower FRF for the wing (-69 to -76%) and the tail (-67 to -80%) feathers. This pattern persisted following scalding, carcasses held at 4ºC had elevated wing (71 to 84%) and tail (50 to 76%) FRF and carcasses held at 40ºC had lowered FRF after scalding for wing (-75 to -79%) and tail (-70 to -86%) feathers. Scalding lowered FRF of wing feathers (79%) more than tail feathers (30%) assumed to be associated with the thinner tissue layers surrounding the feather follicles in the wing. Holding slaughtered carcasses for 4 h should not impact the efficiency of defeathering as measured by FRF.