Depopulation of Caged Layer Hens with a Compressed Air Foam System. Academic Article uri icon


  • During the 2014-2015 US highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak, 50.4 million commercial layers and turkeys were affected, resulting in economic losses of $3.3 billion. Rapid depopulation of infected poultry is vital to contain and eradicate reportable diseases like HPAI. The hypothesis of the experiment was that a compressed air foam (CAF) system may be used as an alternative to carbon dioxide (CO) inhalation for depopulating caged layer hens. The objective of this study was to evaluate corticosterone (CORT) and time to cessation of movement (COM) of hens subjected to CAF, CO inhalation, and negative control (NEG) treatments. In Experiment 1, two independent trials were conducted using young and spent hens. Experiment 1 consisted of five treatments: NEG, CO added to a chamber, a CO pre-charged chamber, CAF in cages, and CAF in a chamber. In Experiment 2, only spent hens were randomly assigned to three treatments: CAF in cages, CO added to a chamber, and aspirated foam. Serum CORT levels of young hens were not significantly different among the CAF in cages, CAF in a chamber, NEG control, and CO inhalation treatments. However, spent hens subjected to the CAF in a chamber had significantly higher CORT levels than birds in the rest of the treatments. Times to COM of spent hens subjected to CAF in cages and aspirated foam were significantly greater than of birds exposed to the CO in a chamber treatment. These data suggest that applying CAF in cages is a viable alternative for layer hen depopulation during a reportable disease outbreak.

published proceedings

  • Animals (Basel)

altmetric score

  • 2

author list (cited authors)

  • Gurung, S., Hoffman, J., Stringfellow, K., Abi-Ghanem, D., Zhao, D., Caldwell, D., ... Farnell, M.

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • Gurung, Shailesh||Hoffman, John||Stringfellow, Kendre||Abi-Ghanem, Daad||Zhao, Dan||Caldwell, David||Lee, Jason||Styles, Darrel||Berghman, Luc||Byrd, James||Farnell, Yuhua||Archer, Gregory||Farnell, Morgan

publication date

  • January 2018