Recommended Hauling Procedures for Broilers
Maintaining body temperature of birds while having appropriate ventilation is key at any point of life, but is especially difficult during transport to the processor. It is the responsibility of the farmer to ensure their birds are responsibly loaded for transport.
During warm, dry weather, broilers can overheat.
Ensuring that there is an appropriate amount of space per bird in each crate is crucial. The standard is 8 birds per crate, but if your birds are especially large, or in the event of extreme heat, you should consult the Production Manager to see if adjustments need to be made. 7 birds per crate may be necessary, but additional preparation will be needed to ensure an adequate amount of crates and trailer space is available for your birds during catch/transport.
During cold or wet weather, broilers are easily susceptible to hypothermia.
Tarping (or using a sheet of plywood) in front of the first row of crates on the trailer will help block the wind directly passing through the first few rows of birds. The first rows of birds have the most ventilation (as the trailer moves), and therefore have the greatest exposure to windchill effects, which intensifies quickly when moisture is present (even dew or fog can cause hypothermia during transport). Those birds stationed further back on the trailer are blocked by those birds stationed in front of them. Additionally, ensuring the birds behind the wheel well of the trailer are shielded from any water that may kick up from the tires, will help reduce the likelihood of hypothermia due to the birds getting wet.
Additionally, we recommend an additional layer of empty crates be placed on top of the loaded crates, and tarping the top of the trailer to prevent the birds from getting wet (from rain, snow, fog, or dew). The layer of empty crates are especially important when temperatures exceed 50*F, but it is wet. This creates a ceiling where heat can be trapped, but the hottest area directly below the tarp is empty to prevent birds from smothering. When the trailer is still, we recommend the sides of the exposed crates be open to ensure proper ventilation. If it is very cold (below 35* or below 50* with rain/moisture), we recommend lowering the sides of the tarp immediately before and during transport.