Equipment and methods for poultry euthanasia by a single operator


Euthanasia of large poultry can be particularly challenging due to the difficulty of manual cervical dislocation of large older birds. Euthanasia is intended to swiftly render the animal unconscious and rapidly lead to death using humane methods. Euthanasia by a single operator can be challenging when euthanizing mature broiler breeders and turkeys weighing from 4 to 30 Kg. Owing to the difficulty of manual cervical dislocation on large poultry, development and assessment of alternative methods for euthanasia are necessary. Four American Veterinary Medical Association approved alternative euthanasia methods including mechanical cervical dislocation, nonpenetrative captive bolt, carbon dioxide, and electrical euthanasia were evaluated on broiler breeders, Beltsville Small White turkeys, and Broad Breasted White turkeys. A mobile bird euthanasia apparatus was designed allowing for individual bird euthanasia by a single operator. Mechanical cervical dislocation and nonpenetrative captive bolt devices were commercially available. The carbon dioxide and electrical euthanasia devices used were developed for this work. Each of the 4 euthanasia methods were assessed for kill success defined as one euthanasia attempt with no signs of recovery. In addition, the costs associated with purchase or construction of each device are reported. All four euthanasia methods resulted in successful euthanasia of 436 birds. The overall single application euthanasia success rates were 97% for mechanical cervical dislocation, 98% for captive bolt, 97% for carbon dioxide, and 99% for electrical euthanasia. Each method can be used to successfully euthanize broiler breeders and turkeys and can be used safely when the use of manual cervical dislocation is not feasible.



broiler breeder, euthanasia, turkey