Broiler chickens in Brazil are generally reared from 1 to 42 days when they are exposed to procedures such as fasting, harvesting, crating and transport to slaughter. Maintaining homeostasis is of great importance for broiler survival under harsh environment especially prior to slaughter. Heat loss varies in the distinct parts of the body during the growth period, and it is related to the air temperature of the environment and to the amount of feather covering. This research aimed to study the surface temperature distribution using infrared thermographic image processing to characterize 42 day old broiler chicken surface temperature prior to slaughter. Broilers were reared for 42 days and prior to harvest and transport to slaughter the infrared surface temperature was recorded along the day. Data from the thermograms taken in feather and featherless regions were compared during the 42nd day of growth. High correlation between featherless regions and air temperature was found showing that these areas respond fast to changes in the rearing environment. Two functions were developed for predicting both surface temperature for featherless and feather covered areas of the broiler body parts.
thermal comfort; heat loss; thermoregulation; infrared thermography