Acta Vet. Brno 2007, 76: 101-108

Mortality Rates in Poultry Species and Categories during Transport for Slaughter

E. Voslářová1, B. Janáčková2, L. Rubešová1, A. Kozák3, I. Bedáňová1, L. Steinhauser1, V. Večerek1

1Department of Veterinary Public Health and Toxicology, Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene and Ecology, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Brno, Czech Republic
2Ministry of Agriculture, Czech Republic
3Regional Veterinary Administration of the Capital Prague, Czech Republic

Received May 31, 2007
Accepted October 11, 2007

Transport-related mortality rates were compared for various poultry species and categories where published data are limited. The numbers of broilers, hens and cockerels, turkeys, ducks, and geese transported for slaughter, and the numbers that died during such transport, were recorded from 1997 to 2006 in cooperation with the State Veterinary Administration of the Czech Republic. The mortality rate for individual poultry species and categories was calculated overall, and was also recorded for the following transport distances: up to 50 km, from 51 km to 100 km, from 101 km to 200 km, from 201 km to 300 km, and over 300 km. Transport of poultry for slaughter was accompanied by varying mortality rates depending on poultry species and categories. The highest mortality rates occurred in hens and cockerels (1.013%), followed by turkeys (0.272%), broilers (0.253%), ducks (0.103%), and geese (0.056%). Differences among the mortality rates estimated were highly significant (p < 0.001). Mortality rates highly correlated with transport distance. The lowest mortality rates were for the shortest transport distances: In broilers (0.154%), turkeys (0.164%), and hens and cockerels (0.595%) for a transport distance up to 50 km; and in ducks (0.069-0.111%) and geese (0.021 - 0.053%) for transport distances up to 300 km. Highest mortality rates in hens and cockerels (1.892%), turkeys (0.341%), and broilers (0.536%) were observed for transport distances over 200 km, while in ducks (0.147%) and geese (0.253%), highest mortality rates were with transport distances exceeding 300 km. The highest mortality rates for all transport distances were in hens and cockerels, followed by turkeys and broilers. The mortality rate in turkeys for a transport distance up to 50 km was significantly higher than that in broilers. No significant differences were found between mortality rates in turkeys and broilers for transport distances of 51-100 km and 101-200 km whereas, for a distance of 201-300 km and in distances exceeding 300 km, the mortality rates in broilers were significantly higher compared to turkeys. The lowest mortality rates were observed in ducks and geese, with a significant difference between them only for transport distances of 51 to 100 km, where the mortality rate in ducks was higher, and over 300 km, where the mortality rate in geese was higher. When planning the transport of poultry for slaughter, susceptibility to stress induced by transport and transport distance (i.e. the duration of transport) of poultry species and categories should be considered.