Foam good alternative for euthanizing birds
Foaming of a poultry house to euthanize large flocks
in a short time is a relatively new idea, getting its beginnings at the
University of Delaware in 2004. Recently it could be tested in a commercial size
Early April University of Delaware Poultry Specialist George Malone was
asked to euthanize a flock of turkeys at a farm in West Virginia. The turkeys
were confirmed the H5N2 Avian Influenza (AI) strain on the farm. Could he please
bring his equipment to foam the house for depopulation.
At hand for
depopulation were four houses â€” 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
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 euthanize birds.
is placed in the houses by a couple of methods, including moveable foam
generators, stationary foam generators and portable hose and nozzle
These studies have shown that foams are comparable to the
carbon dioxide 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.
corticosterone levels, the study also showed that the foams are no more
stressful than killing the birds with the polyethylene tent
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).
With foam, consistency is
critical to get the needed height to cover the birds and ensure death. Also if
the foam bubbles are too big or too small, it will not work.
benefits of this system are that the animals are more humanely euthanized with a
quicker kill time and increased worker protection. The farm can move more
quickly into composting of the birds.
The foam method for
depopulation was recently approved by US Department of Agriculture.
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