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Euthanasia for Broiler Chickens: Manual and Mechanical Cervical Dislocation Methods



Authors as Published

Leonie Jacobs, Assistant Professor, Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech; Dianna V. Bourassa, Assistant Professor, Poultry Science, Auburn University; Caitlin E. Harris, Graduate Student, Poultry Science, The University of Georgia; R. Jeff Buhr, Research Physiologist, U.S. Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, U.S. National Poultry Research Center

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When a broiler chicken is injured, stunted in growth, immobile or unable to eat or drink, it is in the animal’s best interest to take the bird out of the flock for euthanasia rather than to leave the bird to eventually die. Euthanasia, or “good death” is not a pleasant job, so it is important that it is effective, relatively quick and easy to administer. For the bird, it should be done with minimal unavoidable pain or distress. Manual cervical dislocation (CD) is the most commonly applied method for euthanizing broiler chickens, but uniform application for numerous birds can be challenging. Therefore, using a tool (the mechanical method) such as the Koechner Euthanizing Device could be an alternative when multiple birds are to be euthanized such as during flock depopulation. For this research study, we evaluated the Koechner Euthanasia Device and manual cervical dislocation of 200 broiler chickens ranging from 36 to 43 days old, at scheduled flock termination.

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Publication Date

October 15, 2019