Study quantifies blood loss during broiler exsanguination

Research from the University of Georgia could provide insight into optimizing blood collection in poultry processing facilities.

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factory for the production of chicken meat. technological process.
factory for the production of chicken meat. technological process.
Ahmet Naim |

Research from the University of Georgia could provide insight into optimizing blood collection in poultry processing facilities.

“Really, no one has looked at blood loss at all since the 1980s,” said Rachel C. Osborne, graduate teaching assistant, Department of Poultry Science, University of Georgia, who shared the study’s findings during the International Poultry Science Forum in conjunction with the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Georgia.

“I think it’s really valuable to look at it with new eyes and to evaluate why we do what we do and the order that we do them in.

A broiler processing byproduct

Although blood makes up a relatively small proportion of the overall body composition of a bird, it is one of several byproducts generated during processing.

“From an economic standpoint, blood might be kind of an overlooked byproduct,” Oborne said. “If we can maximize the amount of blood that we are able to collect and then send to rendering, that allows us to be more efficient.”

Finding ways to minimize the amount of blood and other byproducts in poultry wastewater can also have sustainability benefits for the broiler industry, she added.

How the research was conducted

The research measured blood loss in male broilers following four common exsanguination methods – decapitation at base of head, decapitation at base of neck, neck cut on one side and neck cut on both sides – recording bodyweight every 15 seconds.

“During the first 30 seconds or so, you see that decapitation treatments lose more blood initially compared to if you have a neck cut,” Osborne explained. “But then if you extend the time period to 30 to 90 seconds, you see a reversal, so it’s kind of like if you have a shorter bleedout time.”

In the future, Osborne plans on quantifying blood loss in birds of different ages, weights and sexes.

Current bleedout standards are still appropriate

Most importantly, the study provided confirmation that current industry standards for bleedout are still appropriate.

“When we look at the rate of blood loss around 90 seconds (which is approximately industry average for bleedout times prior to entering scalder), we see little to no change, and only about 8-9% of total blood loss will occur after 90s. We can take this as confirmation that current industry standards for bleedout time are more than sufficient to ensure a blood loss both from an animal welfare and a blood collection standpoint,” Osborne concluded.

Read more from IPPE.

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