Engormix/Poultry Industry/Technical articles

Comparison of different crate material types for transit on meat quality and blood metabolites of broilers during the summer season

Published on: 12/7/2022
Author/s : Myunghwan Yu, Elijah Ogola Oketch, Jun Seon Hong, Haeeun Park, Jung Min Heo / Department of Animal Science and Biotechnology, Chungnam National University, Korea.

Background & Objectives

Transportation is one of the major issues that affect animal welfare in production. Transport stress induces undesirable changes in meat quality resulting in metabolic and physiological responses in animals. Transport stress is known to cause reductions in meat quality, and subsequently lead to economic losses. Fixed iron crates are commonly used for the transportation of broilers from the farm to the abattoir in South Korea. In this case, incidences of poor meat quality including bruises or broken wings when the broilers are hit to the iron crates during the process of put into the crates could occur. Plastic crates which are detachable are therefore recommended and are largely used in Europe. However, a couple of studies have been conducted to evaluate the effects of the different crate types that could be used for transit on productive parameters such as meat quality. With this in mind, the objective of this study was to investigate the effect between plastic and iron crates in transit on meat quality and blood metabolites of broilers.

Materials & Methods

A total of 160 35-day-old commercial broiler chickens (average body weight 1,877 g) were picked at random after 4 hours of feed withdrawal before catching. The birds were placed in different types of crates as follows: an iron crate (1 m × 0.78 m × 0.26 m); a plastic crate (0.82 m × 0.57 m × 0.29 m). 4 replicates per crate type were used. The birds were placed in crates based on optimal crating density suggested by the Korean transportation standards of an average 173 cm2/kg. The transportation distance was 20 km for 40 minutes at an average speed of 30-50 km/h during the early morning. Upon reaching the slaughtering facility, two birds from each replicate were picked to investigate breast meat quality and blood metabolites (cortisol, lactate and glucose). Data were analyzed by using the independence samples t-test module in SPSS (version 26). Means of replicate were used as the experimental unit for statistical analysis. Differences between means were considered statistically significant at P<0.05.


Broilers transported in plastic crates had (P<0.05) reduced glucose and lactate contents compared with those in iron crates. There were no changes (P>0.05) in pH, water holding capacity (WHC), cooking loss, shear force, lightness (L*), redness (a*), yellowness (b*), cortisol among all treatments in breast meat.


Our results suggested that the broilers with plastic crates in transport had significantly lower glucose and lactate contents in the Summer Season. However, the different material types did not alter breast meat quality and cortisol content in the blood in the current study.


Key words: blood metabolites, broiler, crate, meat quality, transportation.


Presented at the 2022 Korean Society of Poultry Science Conference. 

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