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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 #324493

Title: Recovery of consciousness in broilers following combined dc and ac stunning

item Bourassa, Dianna
item Bowker, Brian
item Buhr, Richard - Jeff

Submitted to: Poultry International Exposition
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/30/2015
Publication Date: 1/25/2016
Citation: Bourassa, D.V., Bowker, B.C., Buhr, R.J. 2016. Recovery of consciousness in broilers following combined dc and ac stunning. Poultry International Exposition [abstract]. 94:(E-Suppl.1)M23:8.

Interpretive Summary: none

Technical Abstract: Broilers in the United States are typically electrically stunned using low voltage-high frequency pulsed DC water bath stunners and in the European Union broilers are electrocuted using high voltage-low frequency AC. DC stunned broilers regain consciousness in the absence of exsanguination and AC stunned broilers die due to cardiac fibrillation. Questions regarding the status of consciousness of stunned broilers during exsanguination using US DC systems have been raised. This work evaluated an alternative stunning method adding an AC stun after DC stunning and the recovery of consciousness determined. On two processing days individual broilers (1,900-2,000 g) and broilers in groups of 5 were divided into 4 treatment stun groups: 15V DC+100V AC, 25V DC+100V AC, 15V DC+120V AC, and 25V DC+120V AC. For each treatment, shackled broilers were stunned with DC for 10 s in a water bath brine stunner immediately followed by AC for 5 s on a stunning plate. During stunning, maximum mA readouts for both DC and AC stuns were recorded. Broilers remained shackled for 2 min at which time the ability to recover was assessed and when they did not recover, deep breast muscle pH was measured. Individual broilers DC stunned at 15V or 25V averaged maximum currents of 19 mA or 117 mA, respectively. During AC stunning at 100V or 120V the maximum currents recorded were 101 mA or 133 mA, respectively. When broilers were stunned individually only 4 of 85 broilers were able to recover consciousness (2 at 25V DC+100V AC, 1 at 15V DC+120V AC, and 1 at 25V DC+120V AC). However, the maximum mA recorded during the AC stun for 3 of 4 broilers that recovered was only 43-51% of the average mA recorded, indicating a possible issue with stunning plate contact. Only one broiler stunned at 25V DC+100V AC with maximum mA within the standard deviation was able to recover. When broilers were stunned in groups of 5 there was no recovery in any of the treatment groups. No significant differences were detected in deep breast muscle pH (6.55). These data indicate that stunning parameters combining DC and AC stunning may be a viable alternative to currently utilized protocols. Further work assessing effects of the addition of AC stun on carcass and meat quality will be assessed.