Treatment of thirst in broilers in a low-throughput abattoir

08 Mar 2019

Cranley, J. J.

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Thirst in broilers was satisfied by water provision while awaiting slaughter at a one-day-per-week poultry abattoir in England. Two consignments, of 7000 broilers in total, during high summer and in April were compared. The ambient temperature by the end of slaughter was over 29°C at 16.00 hours in summer, whereas in spring the peak was 14°C. Broilers were given water from a bubbling hose or water dish, the walls of the module drawer were dripped with water, and an industrial electric cooling fan was used during hot conditions. Nipple-watered birds, once their fear of the plastic hose subsided, drank enthusiastically as depicted on the video. Thirst became more severe, as the period of water deprivation, heat and travel stress increased to eight hours or more, especially once the ambient temperature exceeded 17°C. Broilers responded as did thirsty horses, cattle or pigs.