A multilevel analysis was performed to identify and quantify risk factors associated with mortality and bruises occurring between catching and slaughter of broiler flocks. The effect of each factor in the final model was expressed as an odds ratio (OR). Data included 1,907 Dutch and German broiler flocks slaughtered in 2000 and 2001 at a Dutch processing plant. The mean dead on arrival (DOA) percentage was 0.46. Percentage of bruises was corrected for economic value. The mean corrected bruises percentage was 2.20. Factors associated with corrected bruises percentage were season, moment of transport, and ambient temperature. Unfortunately, these factors are quite difficult to manipulate. Factors associated with DOA percentage were ambient temperature, moment of transport, catching company, breed, flock size, mean BW, mean compartment stocking density, transport time, lairage time, and the interaction term transport time x ambient temperature. The most important factors that influence DOA percentage, and which can be reduced relatively easily, were compartment stocking density (OR = 1.09 for each additional bird in a compartment), transport time (OR = 1.06 for each additional 15 min), and lairage time (OR = 1.03 for each additional 15 min). In particular, reduction of transport and lairage times might have a major influence due to their large variations. Reducing or removing these factors will reduce DOA percentage. Consequently, profitability and animal welfare will increase.
- processing plants
- glycogen reserves