Catching and Hauling Live Birds
AT the end of the growing phase, essentially all birds are caught, loaded into cages or coops and transferred to a processing plant that may be located either close to or far from the farm. Transferring the live birds from the farm to the processing plant is a relatively short operation; however, significant problems may occur at this stage that potentially increase the rate of downgrading. Catching, loading and transportation exposes the birds to a number of new/unfamiliar conditions and environments. This, in turn, may increase stress/anxiety and negatively affect meat quality. This chapter will describe the common methods of catching and transporting birds to the plant, with an emphasis on steps to monitor and reduce stress. A discussion of manual vs. mechanical catching and loading is also provided, as well as ways to monitor and improve the thermal environment in the transport vehicles.