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Animals 2018, 8(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8010011

Depopulation of Caged Layer Hens with a Compressed Air Foam System

1
Department of Poultry Science, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension, College Station, TX 77843, USA
2
Veterinary Services, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service- US Department of Agriculture, Riverdale Park, MD 20737, USA
3
Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, US Department of Agriculture, College Station, TX 77843, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 November 2017 / Revised: 21 December 2017 / Accepted: 8 January 2018 / Published: 11 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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Abstract

During the 2014–2015 US highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak, 50.4 million commercial layers and turkeys were affected, resulting in economic losses of $3.3 billion. Rapid depopulation of infected poultry is vital to contain and eradicate reportable diseases like HPAI. The hypothesis of the experiment was that a compressed air foam (CAF) system may be used as an alternative to carbon dioxide (CO2) inhalation for depopulating caged layer hens. The objective of this study was to evaluate corticosterone (CORT) and time to cessation of movement (COM) of hens subjected to CAF, CO2 inhalation, and negative control (NEG) treatments. In Experiment 1, two independent trials were conducted using young and spent hens. Experiment 1 consisted of five treatments: NEG, CO2 added to a chamber, a CO2 pre-charged chamber, CAF in cages, and CAF in a chamber. In Experiment 2, only spent hens were randomly assigned to three treatments: CAF in cages, CO2 added to a chamber, and aspirated foam. Serum CORT levels of young hens were not significantly different among the CAF in cages, CAF in a chamber, NEG control, and CO2 inhalation treatments. However, spent hens subjected to the CAF in a chamber had significantly higher CORT levels than birds in the rest of the treatments. Times to COM of spent hens subjected to CAF in cages and aspirated foam were significantly greater than of birds exposed to the CO2 in a chamber treatment. These data suggest that applying CAF in cages is a viable alternative for layer hen depopulation during a reportable disease outbreak. View Full-Text
Keywords: HPAI; depopulation; compressed air foam; caged layers HPAI; depopulation; compressed air foam; caged layers
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Gurung, S.; Hoffman, J.; Stringfellow, K.; Abi-Ghanem, D.; Zhao, D.; Caldwell, D.; Lee, J.; Styles, D.; Berghman, L.; Byrd, J.; Farnell, Y.; Archer, G.; Farnell, M. Depopulation of Caged Layer Hens with a Compressed Air Foam System. Animals 2018, 8, 11.

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