2024 IPSF: Evaluation of wing damage during processing

Wing damage was checked at various points in a commercial poultry processing plant
calendar icon 15 April 2024
clock icon 2 minute read

Broiler wing damage is a common occurrence in processing facilities that can negatively affect both the company’s efficiency and profitability. There are multiple areas during production and within a processing plant that can result in wing damage including live production, harvest, tipping, shackling, stunning, bleeding and picking, said Auburn University graduate student Madalyn Jennings during the 2024 International Poultry Scientific Forum.

Jennings and fellow students evaluated the appearance of wing damage at various time points in a commercial processing plant. Broilers were evaluated at live haul, looking for birds with visually damaged wings. For any bird with a damaged wing, the wings were photographed, the bird was banded, and then placed in the same crates as the birds with undamaged wings. Then birds were sent through the processing line and the carcasses were removed from the line at two different time points, post-bleeding, and post-picking, she said.

For the first trial there was a total of 600 birds, with 50 birds tagged at live haul as having various levels of wing damage. In the second trial there was a total of 300 birds, with 15 tagged at live haul. The birds were then stunned and bled and evaluated immediately post-bleed, Jennings noted.

Wings were defined as damaged or not damaged at each timepoint. Damaged wings were then subcategorized as having bruising, torn skin, bone dislocation, or broken bones. Following picking, damage was further categorized as clean (no blood present) or with blood.

Wing damage increased from 7% at live haul to 22% post-bleed and further increased to 36% post-pick. Within the damaged wings, bruising was higher post-bleed (21%) and post-pick (15%) than at live haul (7%), according to the research.

After picking, dislocations (7%), broken bones (3%), and torn skin (10%) were higher than dislocations, broken bones, and torn skin at live haul (0.1%, 0%, and 0.1%, respectively) and post-bleed (0.8%, 0%, and 0%, respectively).

Of all damaged wings post-pick, 17% were clean, indicating that all damage occurred following blood loss.

These data indicate that additional attention is required between live haul and post-pick to reduce the occurrence of wing damage both for animal welfare and final product quality improvements, Jennings concluded.

© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.