Indexed on: 13 Jun '15Published on: 13 Jun '15Published in: Poultry science
An important priority of poultry producers is to guarantee animal welfare during animal production; however, broilers are exposed to unavoidable chronic stress (also known as allostasis) when they are captured, caged, and transported to the processing plant. This antemortem management causes allostatic load, animal injuries, and poor carcass quality. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of an allostatic modulator (AM) on antemortem stress by measuring the appearance and microbiological quality of broiler carcasses. The AM consisted of a liquid formula containing ascorbic acid, acetyl salicylic acid, and electrolytes, administered orally 48 h before shipment to the processing plant. A total of 600 chickens (49-days-old) were used under a factorial arrangement 2 × 2 × 2 [2 commercial hybrid lines, 2 feed withdrawal programs (10 and 16 h), and 2 water treatments (control and AM)]. Each treatment included 25 chickens per pen and was carried out in triplicate. The broilers were shipped, slaughtered, and processed in a commercial processing plant where carcass defects (bruises and broken bones caused by antemortem management), crop pH, and carcass bacterial counts were evaluated in all experimental groups. Broilers under AM treatment showed a reduction in carcass defects (P = 0.015), crop pH (P = 0.0001), coliforms counts (P = 0.014), and total aerobic mesophilic bacteria (P = 0.0001) when compared to the control treatment. The present study indicates that the AM can be used to improve carcass quality in broilers. Our study provides a novel and economic alternative to reduce the allostatic load in broilers.