How to Improve Chicken Meat Quality in Slaughter Process

How to Improve Chicken Meat Quality in Slaughter Process

With more than 200 active poultry slaughterhouses in Iran and the growing market need for high quality products as well as the development of export markets, we decided to briefly present some factors in slaughter process at different stages which affect the quality of chicken meat:

1. Chicken handling and hooking

In order to maintain the appearance, the thigh of the chicken should be held with three index, middle and sixty fingers, taking it out of the basket and hang at a 90-degree angle to the hook. To facilitate this process, it is recommended to use good quality conveyor belts and separate the unloading and hooking sections.

2. Shock process control

Each chicken should wait for the shock for maximum of 30 seconds (to calm the bird) then enters a shocker with a standard design.

3. Scalder

“Scalder” and “Chiller” are considered the most important stages for chicken meat quality. To show the importance of this stage, we should mention the difference in the storage time of warm chicken in Iran and Europe (3 days in Iran and 6 days in Europe) and its various methods:

A) Hard scald method: Chickens are placed in the scalder at 57 °C for 2 to 3 minutes then enter the defeathering. This method destroys the protective layer of the skin and the chicken rots more quickly. (A common method in Iran slaughterhouses)

B) Soft scald method: It is one the best methods and is done at temperature between 51°C and 55°C for 2 minutes. The protective layer of the skin remains and rotting time of the carcass is maximized. Chicken gets out from the scald with yellow skin. For this method you must use high quality scalder and defeathering equipment.

It’s recommended to use the Alberk’s two-pieces scalders to eliminate unpleasant odor and increase the quality of chicken.

4. Defeathering

Clearly this stage plays an important role in the chicken appearance. If low quality machines are used, many physical injuries, including injuries to the carcass, fractures in wings and thighs will occur.

5. Evisceration

Evisceration using automatic machines includes:

Cutting and separating the vent

Abdominal incision

Internal organs removal

Extracting crops

Cutting or breaking the necks

Secondary removal with a vacuum machine (To maximize carcass quality)

Washing inside and outside the carcass

6. Chiller

A) Water chillers are common in developing countries.


Low manufacturing cost

Low running costs

Low cooling time

Increase chicken weight and high profitability (prevent water from evaporating)


Residual water inside the carcass and increasing rotting rate

Distribute and transmit possible contamination to all chickens and increase the microbial load of carcasses

Increasing labor

B) Air chillers are common in Canada and Europe.


Maximum water outflow inside the carcass and slow down the rate of rotting

Prevent the spread and transmission of possible contamination to all chickens and reduce the microbial load of carcasses

Decrease in labor force


High manufacturing cost

High running costs

More land required

Long cooling time (twice as water chillers)

Decreasing chicken weight and low profitability (due to water loss)

C) Combined system (water and air) that are very common in Asian countries, USA, Iran and Brazil with various designs. Due to the ability to control and change speed, product quality fit for the final market and the profitability of the slaughterhouse, we believe is the most suitable system to run in Iran.

In this article, we briefly reviewed the factors affecting the quality of chicken carcass during the slaughter process, in future articles we will discuss the important factors before slaughter.