Catching is the first step in the pre-slaughter chain for broiler chickens. The process may be detrimental for animal welfare due to the associated handling. The aim of this pilot study was to compare two different methods to manually catch broilers: Catching the broilers by two legs and carrying them inverted (LEGS) or catching the broilers under the abdomen and carrying them in an upright position (UPRIGHT). Wing and leg fractures upon arrival at the abattoir, animal density in the drawers, birds on their back, broilers dead-on-arrival and time to fill the transport modules were investigated. The results showed that mean crating time was shorter in the UPRIGHT method (p = 0.007). There was a tendency for more wing fractures in broilers caught by the LEGS (p = 0.06). The animal density in the drawers was lower and with a smaller range in the UPRIGHT method (p = 0.022). The results indicate that catching the broilers under the abdomen in an upright position may improve broiler welfare in terms of fewer wing fractures, more consistent stocking density in drawers and potentially reduced loading time.
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