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‘Real World’ Experience with New Poultry Depopulation Method

by 5m Editor
13 April 2007, at 8:49am

US - On April Fool’s Day, April 1, at 8:30 in the evening, University of Delaware Poultry Specialist George “Bud” Malone received a phone call. A turkey farm in West Virginia confirmed the H5N2 Avian Influenza (A.I.) strain on the farm. Could he please bring his equipment to foam the house for depopulation.

This was not an April Fool’s joke, but a chance for Malone and others to earn some “real world” experience with a new technology for depopulation — foaming a house.

Malone addressed the April meeting of the Poultry Management and Health Seminar at Kreider’s Restaurant here Monday.

At hand for depopulation were four houses — two with 10,000 birds, one with 3,000 birds and one with 2,000 birds. Through this experience, Malone said a lot of lessons have been learned for bringing this application to the real world.

Foaming of a poultry house is a relatively new idea, getting its beginnings at the University of Delaware in 2004. The foaming concept involves fire fighting-type foams, including high expansion, compressed air foam, Class A and other foams. Research discovered that the foam can be successfully used to depopulate birds.

The foam is placed in the houses by a couple of methods, including moveable foam generators, stationary foam generators and portable hose and nozzle lines.

These studies have shown that foams are comparable to the carbon dioxide (CO2) polyethylene tent procedure in time-to-death in small groups. The foam is faster as group size increases. Adding carbon dioxide to the foam does not enhance its efficacy. Based on corticosterone levels, the study also showed that the foams are no more stressful than depopulation with the polyethylene tent method.

Malone said there was no evidence of drowning in any of the foamed birds. Foam caused an airway occlusion. The foam acts by physically induced hypoxia (shortage of oxygen).

The foam method for depopulation was recently approved by USDA.

The first challenge Malone encountered was since the call came on a Sunday, he was unable to get permission to pull the foam generator, owned by the Delaware Department of Agriculture, out of state. Fortunately, the manufacturing company owner who developed a foam generator had an available unit and agreed to travel with Malone to the farm.

Source: Lancaster Farming

5m Editor