Rearing, bird type and pre-slaughter transport conditions I. Effect on dead on arrival

  • Morris Villarroel Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, ETSIAAB, Dept. Producción Agraria, Avda. Puerta de Hierro 2, 28040 Madrid
  • Fernando Pomares COREN, Sociedad Cooperativa Galega, 32003 Orense
  • Miguel A. Ibáñez Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, ETSIAAB, Dept. Economía Agraria, Estadística y Gestión de Empresas, Avda. Puerta de Hierro 2, 28040 Madrid
  • Almudena Lage COREN, Sociedad Cooperativa Galega, 32003 Orense
  • Paula Martínez-Guijarro Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, ETSIAAB, Dept. Producción Agraria, Avda. Puerta de Hierro 2, 28040 Madrid
  • Jesús Méndez COREN, Sociedad Cooperativa Galega, 32003 Orense
  • Carlos de Blas Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, ETSIAAB, Dept. Producción Agraria, Avda. Puerta de Hierro 2, 28040 Madrid
Keywords: poultry, slaughterhouse, mortality, welfare


The transport of broilers to slaughter normally results in a small percentage of dead on arrival (DoA) but little is known about the effects of flock thinning or bird weight. A multivariable linear model was used to analyse the incidence of DoA over one year in 1,856 flocks of Ross broilers (9,188 shipments). Each flock was categorized according to broiler type (yellow-skinned females and males, white-skinned females and males and roaster females) and thinning (birds transported after thinning, remaining birds after thinning and non-thinned flocks), in addition to transport distance, waiting time, maximum and minimum daily temperatures, precipitation and maximum wind speed. The overall percentage of DoA was 0.187%. The effect of the daily maximum outside temperature on DoA was quadratic with minimum DoA at 21.5ºC. Arrival time to the slaughterhouse and waiting time increased DoA by 0.0044% and 0.0021% for every 60 min increase, respectively. DoA were higher in males (which were heavier than females), and in the flocks that were previously thinned. An interaction between thinning and bird type was found, so that DoA were higher in previously thinned flocks of male broilers and roaster females. Despite the high incidence of thinning and larger bird weight, the percentage of DoA was comparable to previous studies. This research provides one of the largest detailed analyses of DoA in commercial broiler production in the Iberian Peninsula. The models described allow to quantify how increases in temperature, transport distance, waiting time, bird weight and the practise of thinning can all increase broiler mortality.


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How to Cite
VillarroelM., PomaresF., IbáñezM. A., LageA., Martínez-GuijarroP., MéndezJ., & de BlasC. (2018). Rearing, bird type and pre-slaughter transport conditions I. Effect on dead on arrival. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 16(2), e0503.
Animal health and welfare