Large groups of poultry, including ducks and turkeys, are killed for disease control purposes with CO2. In this study, we examined the physiological reaction of White Pekin ducks and turkeys to increasing CO2 concentrations. Additionally, we examined the suitability of killing both species with increasing CO2 concentrations. Blood gas values showed similar reaction patterns for both species: a strong increase in pCO2 from approximately 40 to 200 mmHg, decreasing pO2 and O2 saturation, a decrease in pH from 7.4 to 6.7, and a strong shift in acid-base equilibrium (averaging 0 to -23). On the electroencephalogram, theta and sigma waves occurred at 21 to 23% CO2, and suppression to a near isoelectric electroencephalogram occurred between 41.8 and 43.4% CO2 in inhaled air. Heartbeat declined from approximately 300 beats per min (bpm) at the start to 225 bpm at loss of posture to 150 bpm at 1 min before the heartbeat ceased. During the last phase of heart activity, an irregular rhythm and fibrillation were observed in addition to a decline in bpm. Blood gas values and electrophysiological data confirmed that ducks and turkeys lose consciousness before a level of 25% CO2 in inhaled air is reached and that both ducks and turkeys die within 13 min in an environment of 45% CO2 in inhaled air.
- one-minute inhalation
- spontaneous electroencephalogram