The Effect of Season on Dead on Arrival Rate and Meat Quality Characteristics of Broiler Chicken Transported in Commercial Slaughter Conditions
The aim of the study was to determine the effect of season on dead on arrival rate and meat quality characteristics of broiler chicken in commercial transport and slaughter conditions. The study was performed on the broiler chickens reared under similar commercial conditions from 12 different flocks (4 seasons × 3 replicates). Transportation distance was approximately 80 km and duration was 2 h per transport. Meat samples were taken on April, July, October, and December for spring, summer, autumn and winter seasons, respectively during 2018. Broilers in trucks were waited in holding barn for 1 h and the numbers of dead on arrival (DOA) were recorded per transport.
Meat colour, pH4h, drip loss, cooking loss and Warner Bratzler shear force (WBSF) were determined. The effect of season on DOA rate (P < 0.05) and all investigated meat quality characteristics (P < 0.001) was significant. DOA rate was highest in the winter while the rate was lower in spring and autumn. In winter, pH4h, a*24h and b*24h were higher than other seasons, while L*24h, drip loss and WBSF were lower than other seasons. The incidence of PSE meat was the highest in summer (31.12%), while the incidence of DFD meat was the highest in winter (55.55%). The lowest incidence of normal breast meat was in winter season.
In conclusion, transportation of broiler chickens in winter resulted with highest DOA rate, as well as decreased incidence of normal breast meat. On the other hand, the incidence of PSE meat was the highest in summer. In order to reduce the DOA rate and to improve the meat quality, transportation of broiler chickens within thermal comfort zone ranges is recommended.