Poultry abattoir refers to the slaughter of poultry such as chickens, ducks, and turkeys for human consumption. These modern-day slaughterhouses equip machinery to increase productivity.
Animals that enter an abattoir are first unloaded in crates and sorted. Once the fowl are sorted, they are hung by their feet in shackles, which convey the product through the process in a timely manner.
It is required by law that animals that are slaughtered be such humanely. This creates the need for stunning. Poultry are stunned by a few different processes. One popular stunning process draws the upside-down birds through a bath of electrified water. This method is often considered more desirable as well as more humane, because the length of the bath and the speed at which the animal passes through are customizable, lowering the risk of fractured bones or haemorrhaging. In an alternative method, metal slopes are used. This process involves live wired coming in contact with the head of the bird at a rate of 500 volts.
Birds are bled out by a process called exsanguinations. Either the jugular vein is severed by a human worker, or a mechanical killer does this task. With proper stunning, the blood flow will be consistent, which is most desirable. Birds then flow through a bleeding tunnel, which collects approximately 50% of the blood.
Birds must be cleaned of all feathers once they are bled out. Scalding is a process which runs the carcasses through high-temperature water to loosen feathers and opens pores. Scalding tanks feature high-pressure sprays and random bursts to maximize loosening of the feathers. The timing of the scalding process is vital to ensure that there is no burning, tearing, or breaking of the skin. Poultry is then plucked by plucking machines that beat on the birds with revolving rubber drums and beaters, which knock out the loosened feathers. Once this process is completes, workers remove the more stubborn feathers by hand. Ducks often require an additional process involving hot wax to remove their persistent feathers. The final preparations include the removal of the bird's feet, either by hand or by machine. Once this cut is made, the bird drops down into the clean area of the abattoir, where the finalization of the meat and its inspections occur.
The birds are re-hung by their hind quarters and flow down another line of processes in the final stretch of the slaughtering task. The heads are removed first, followed by venting, which is a process of opening up the carcass to allow access to the intestines, taking great care to avoid faecal contamination. Once the bowels are emptied, the viscera are inspected to ensure no contamination occurred. The heart, liver, and gizzards are then removed for cleaning. Finally, the inside of the cavity is suctioned out to remove any lung tissue that remains and the neck is removed at the shoulder.
The bird is finally sent for final cleaning and packaging. The product drops into a chilled spin-style washer and are chlorinated. After washing, the birds are drained by hanging by the hind ends and then are commonly sent to be frozen.