Carbon Dioxide and Nitrogen Infused Compressed Air Foam for Depopulation of Caged Laying Hens. Academic Article uri icon


  • Depopulation of infected poultry flocks is a key strategy to control and contain reportable diseases. Water-based foam, carbon dioxide inhalation, and ventilation shutdown are depopulation methods available to the poultry industry. Unfortunately, these methods have limited usage in caged layer hen operations. Personnel safety and welfare of birds are equally important factors to consider during emergency depopulation procedures. We have previously reported that compressed air foam (CAF) is an alternative method for depopulation of caged layer hens. We hypothesized that infusion of gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO₂) and nitrogen (N₂), into the CAF would reduce physiological stress and shorten time to cessation of movement. The study had six treatments, namely a negative control, CO₂ inhalation, N₂ inhalation, CAF with air (CAF Air), CAF with 50% CO₂ (CAF CO₂), and CAF with 100% N₂ (CAF N₂). Four spent hens were randomly assigned to one of these treatments on each of the eight replication days. A total of 192 spent hens were used in this study. Serum corticosterone and serotonin levels were measured and compared between treatments. Time to cessation of movement of spent hens was determined using accelerometers. The addition of CO₂ in CAF significantly reduced the foam quality while the addition of N₂ did not. The corticosterone and serotonin levels of spent hens subjected to foam (CAF, CAF CO₂, CAF N₂) and gas inhalation (CO₂, N₂) treatments did not differ significantly. The time to cessation of movement of spent hens in the CAF N₂ treatment was significantly shorter than CAF and CAF CO₂ treatments but longer than the gas inhalation treatments. These data suggest that the addition of N₂ is advantageous in terms of shortening time to death and improved foam quality as compared to the CAF CO₂ treatment.

published proceedings

  • Animals (Basel)

altmetric score

  • 30.1

author list (cited authors)

  • Gurung, S., White, D., Archer, G., Styles, D., Zhao, D., Farnell, Y., Byrd, J., & Farnell, M.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Gurung, Shailesh||White, Dima||Archer, Gregory||Styles, Darrel||Zhao, Dan||Farnell, Yuhua||Byrd, James||Farnell, Morgan

publication date

  • January 2018