Simulated mode of transportation and handling equipment on mortality rate and live weight shrinkage of finished broilers
The aim of this experiment was to examine the effect of the two most used handling equipment (cages and sack bags) and mode of transportation (car, tricycle and motorcycle) in Nigeria on the live weight changes and mortality of finisher broilers. 84 finished broilers were bought from 3 farms in Uyo metropolis and used for the experiment. The birds were assembled and quarantined for 2 weeks. The birds were randomly divided into 2 groups (group A and B) of 42 birds each. Birds in group A were handled in cages and transported while birds in group B were put in sack bags and transported. Birds in both groups A (cage handled) and B (sack bag handled) were further randomly divided into three groups (A1, A2 and A3; B1, B2 and B3) of 14 birds per subgroup. Birds in subgroup A1 and B1 were transported using motor car (closed boot), birds in subgroup A2 and B2 were transported using tricycle, and birds in subgroup A3 and B3 were transported on motorcycle. Each subgroup was replicated twice with 7 birds per replicate before they were transported. The distance that the birds were transported was 32 kilometer. Data were obtained on mortality rate and weight loss. Birds put in sack bags and transported in car, tricycle and motorcycle recorded mortality rate of 0.17, 0.12 and 0% respectively. On the other hand, birds housed in cages and transported either in car, tricycle and motorcycle recorded 0% mortality. In the same vein, the highest average weight shrinkage (1.28 kg) which was significantly (p<0.05) different from other handling and transportation methods was recorded by birds put in sack bags and transported in car. Birds handled in cages and transported in motorcycle also recorded the least average weight shrinkage (0.09 kg). Both handling equipment and mode of transportation affected the weight and mortality of finished broilers negatively, resulting in weight shrinkage of 0.49% and mortality rate of 0.29%. However, birds handled in sack bags and transported in car had the highest toll on birds’ mortality and weight loss. Thus birds should be put in cages and transported to slaughter houses in a well-ventilated vehicle to enhance adequate airflow, birds’ welfare and high economic returns.
Keywords: Handling equipment; mode of transportation; broilers; mortality; weight shrinkage