Effect of broiler slaughter weight on meat yield and quality
Broiler meat quality depends on the interaction of several factors, including genotype, slaughter age/body weight, pre-slaughter handling, and slaughter method. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of slaughter weight on meat yield and quality of broilers. The material consisted of 42 broilers, classified into three groups: lighter (<2500 g), medium (2500–3000 g) and heavier (>3000 g). The following meat yield parameters were measured: cold carcass weight, breast weight before and after deboning, breast skin and bone weights, thigh weight before and after deboning, thigh skin and bone weights, drumstick weight before and after deboning, and drumstick skin and bone weights. Meat pH (M. pectoralis major) and instrumental colour (breast and drumstick) were measured 24 h post-mortem. Meat quality classes (pale, soft and exudative and normal meat) were determined based on breast muscle L* value. Heavier broilers had higher (P<0.05) cold carcass weight, breast, thigh and drumstick weights both before and after deboning compared to medium and lighter broilers. In contrast, meat quality traits were not significantly (P>0.05) affected by slaughter weight. In conclusion, production of heavy broilers had a beneficial effect on meat quantity, while the effect of slaughter weight on meat quality was negligible.