Discipline: Veterinary Medicine
Forty five (45) market weight Ross strain chickens were used to demonstrate the effect of feed withdrawal on live weight loss, carcass characteristics and meat quality. The 45 chickens were randomly divided into 3 groups (group 1: 0- h fasting, group 2: 12-h fasting and group 3: 24- h fasting). Chickens from each group were slaughtered based on the fasting periods assigned to them. The carcass, digestive tract (full and empty) and liver weight were recorded. Meat pH was measured at 45 min, 3 h, 6 h and 24 h postmortem while the water holding capacity was measured after 24 h postmortem. Live weight loss of 0.1 kg in the first 12 hand an increase of 0.14 kg were observed when feed withdrawal was extended for another 12 h. Total shrinkage of 71.43% had occurred during the first 12 h while 28.57% total shrinkage would occur during the next hour of fasting. Dressing percentage were higher in fasted chickens compared to chickens not fasted before slaughter (P<0 .05). The estimated body weight loss of fasted chickens in the study is 0.008333 kg for the first 12 hand 0.003333 kg for every hour beyond 12 h. Result of the study showed that chickens should not be fasted for more than 12 h. Fasting for more than 12 h will have a higher live weight loss which translates to an increase in financial loss of the producer. However, when chickens were not fasted, carcass yield showed a lower yield as compared to chickens fasted for 12 h which translates to monetary loss for the buyer in terms of carcass yield. There were no significant differences with the %of liver weight and meat pH among the groups.