Evaluation of the potential killing performance of novel percussive and cervical dislocation tools in chicken cadavers

JE Martin, DEF McKeegan, J Sparrey, V Sandilands

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12 Citations (Scopus)
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1. Four mechanical poultry killing devices; modified Armadillo (MARM), modified Rabbit Zinger (MZIN), modified pliers (MPLI) and a novel mechanical cervical dislocation gloved device (NMCD), were assessed for their killing potential in the cadavers of euthanised birds of 4 type/age combinations: layer/adult, layer/pullet, broiler/slaughter-age and broiler/chick. 2. A 4x4x4 factorial design (batch x device x bird type + age) was employed. Ten bird cadavers per bird type and age were tested with each of the 4 devices (N = 160 birds). All cadavers were examined post-mortem to establish the anatomical damage caused by each device. 3. Three of the mechanical methods: NMCD, MARM and MZIN demonstrated killing potential, as well as consistency in their anatomical effects, with device success rates of over 50% indicating that the devices performed optimally more than half of the time. NMCD had the highest killing potential, with 100% of birds sustaining the required physical trauma to have caused rapid death. 4. The MPLI was inconsistent, and only performed optimally for 27.5% of birds, despite good killing potential when performing well. Severe crushing injury was seen in >50% of MPLI birds, suggesting that birds would die of asphyxia rather than cerebral ischaemia, a major welfare concern. As a result, the modified pliers are not recommended as a humane on-farm killing device for chickens. 5. This experiment provides important data on the killing potential of untried novel percussive and mechanical cervical dislocation methods, informing future studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216 - 223
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Poultry Science
Issue number3
Early online date15 Mar 2017
Publication statusFirst published - 15 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note



  • Animal welfare
  • Cervical dislocation
  • Killing
  • Percussive
  • Post-mortem
  • Poultry


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