Broiler Trailer Thermal Conditions during Cold Climate Transport

During cold winter conditions, Saskatoon researchers found moisture removal and the re-distribution of heat were key to providing the most comfortable conditions for broilers during transportation.
calendar icon 20 August 2012
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Thermal environments within broiler transport vehicles are dependent on ambient conditions and, if poorly managed, can be a welfare concern. In a paper published recently in Canadian Journal of Animal Science, N.A. Burlinguette and colleagues at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada state that, to manage broiler transport effectively, the environmental conditions throughout vehicles must be understood.

Under standard commercial practices, temperature and humidity levels in double-trailer broiler vehicles were examined for a range of ambient temperatures (-24 to 11°C).

During warmer ambient conditions (9.8°C) trailer roof vents and side curtains were all open, which resulted in a narrowing of the on-board temperature range (10.3 to 16.7°C).

As ambient temperature cooled, side curtains and some of the roof vents were closed. This resulted in increasingly variable and more extreme thermal conditions, with heat and moisture accumulated along the mid-line of the load near the front of the lead trailer and near the back of the rear trailer.

At an ambient temperature of -22.1°C, trailer temperatures ranged from -20.7 to 21.7°C with an estimated 58.6 per cent of the load volume being exposed to temperatures below 0°C. In addition, the trailer humidity ratio rose 14.0g per kg above ambient and conditions approached saturation (RH>80 per cent) in 55.2 per cent of the load volume.

These results support the need to find a means to remove moisture and redistribute heat on broiler trailers during cold ambient conditions, concluded Burlinguette and colleagues.


Burlinguette N.A., M.L. Strawford, J.M. Watts, H.L. Classen, P.J. Shand and T.G. Crowe. 2012. Broiler trailer thermal conditions during cold climate transport. Canadian Journal of Animal Science, 92:109-122. doi:10.4141/cjas2011-027

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August 2012
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