March 8, 2017, Barron, WI – A low-pathogenic bird flu strain has been detected in a Jennie-O Turkey Store operation in Barron, Wis., marking the second bird flu case in a U.S. commercial operation this week.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture posted notice of the Barron County case to the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health's website March 7. Hormel Foods, which owns Wilmar-based Jennie-O, confirmed the H5N2 strain was detected March 4 at its Barron operation. The USDA report said 84,000 birds are at the farm. READ MORE
Over one hundred years ago the wild turkey was a familiar sight in North America. Unregulated hunting and habitat loss decimated their population in Ontario but that has since changed. In 1986, approximately 4,400 wild turkeys were re-introduced, and according to Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs figures from 2007, that population has reached over 70,000 and continues to grow.

July 10, 2016 - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has set up a quarantine zone after low-path H5N2 avian influenza was detected in southern Ontario.

The CFIA says a quarantine zone covering a three-kilometre radius has been placed near St. 

The agency says bird flu hasn't been detected anywhere else in the quarantine zone, but officials say they're monitoring for any spread of the disease.  Currently 23 premises are quarantined, however only one commercial/regulated broiler chicken farm is in within the quarantine zone besides the AI positive duck flock. The other quarantined premises are small and/or unregulated flocks.   Trace out to three other high risk contact flocks (from the positive farm) has been completed and those flocks have tested negative.   

The Feather Board Command Centre have asked Ontario poultry industry stakeholders to use heightened biosecurity measures if it is necessary to enter into this area. Heightened biosecurity measures include (but are not limited to):

• wearing boots, protection suits, hats and gloves/hand washing;

• ensuring that all deliveries/loading should be the last on the route; and

• washing and disinfecting the truck’s undercarriage and steps before proceeding with any other delivery/loading.

Should you become aware of health concerns in a flock(s), please advise the farmer to contact a veterinarian, as well as their Board or call 1-877-SOS-BYRD. 


Board of Directors Changes
CPRC held its Annual General Meeting in March followed by a meeting of the board of directors. Two new directors joined the board replacing long-time directors who had decided to step down. Roelof Meijer, an eight-year board member representing Turkey Farmers of Canada (TFC) and chair for the past three years, was replaced by Brian Ricker from Ontario.  Cheryl Firby, the Canadian Hatching Egg Producers (CHEP) board member has been replaced by Murray Klassen from Manitoba.

Tim Keet (Chicken Farmers of Canada) was elected chair with Helen Anne Hudson (Egg Farmers of Canada) elected vice-chair. Erica Charlton (Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council) was elected as a member of the executive committee along with the chair and vice-chair.

Poultry Science Cluster
The Poultry Science Cluster, co-funded between industry, provincial governments and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has completed year three of its five-year research plan.  The cluster, the second that CPRC has administered, is a $5.6 million program with $4 million from AAFC and the balance from industry and provincial governments.  Seventeen research projects in four categories make up the cluster, details of which can be found at www.cp-rc.ca/poultry-science-cluster-2/.

The Poultry Science Cluster runs from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2018 and some research projects are being completed. Two projects were scheduled to be completed by March 31, 2016, and are winding up with final analysis and reporting underway. Ten projects are scheduled to be complete by the end of March 2017 with the final five projects being completed by the end of the cluster in March 2018.

Poultry Research Strategy Update
CPRC has begun a process to update the 2012 document National Research Strategy for Canada’s Poultry Sector, which formed the basis for much of the research structure of the Poultry Science Cluster. While much of the strategy remains relevant many of the research priorities identified have evolved and new issues have become important to the poultry industry. Two new priority areas, climate change impacts and precision agriculture, were added to this year’s CPRC call for Letters of Intent.

The strategy update is designed to validate and/or amend priorities from the 2012 document and to identify new priority areas since 2012. Issues that may be on the horizon but have not yet become poultry research initiatives will also be identified. The update will seek input from producers through the national and provincial representative organizations, scientific community including university and government, and other industry stakeholder organizations representing a broad range of value-chain members. Consultations will include surveys and webinars to gather information as well as to seek feedback on the updated strategy as it is developed. Target completion of the research strategy is early in 2017 so it can be used as the basis for a new application if a third science cluster program is included in the next federal-provincial agreement upon the expiry of the current Growing Forward 2 initiative.

New CPRC Website
The April CPRC Update announced that CPRC has a new website. Changing a website is a lot more than having someone do a new design. All of the material on the website has to be reviewed and decisions made on what should stay, what should go and new material that should be added. An important part of the CPRC website is the research summaries that are posted on all CPRC co-funded projects. A review of those summaries indicated that there were several formats being used, particularly during the last several years, and some project summaries had been missed. A format was adopted, very similar to one of those that had been used, and CPRC has reviewed all summaries, and edited them as necessary, to ensure consistency in presentation.

CPRC, its board of directors and member organizations are committed to supporting and enhancing Canada’s poultry sector through research and related activities. For more details on these or any other CPRC activities, please contact The Canadian Poultry Research Council, 350 Sparks Street, Suite 1007, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 7S8, phone: (613) 566-5916, fax: (613) 241-5999, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit us at www.cp-rc.ca.


The membership of the CPRC consists of Chicken Farmers of Canada, Canadian Hatching Egg Producers, Turkey Farmers of Canada, Egg Farmers of Canada and the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors’ Council. CPRC’s mission is to address its members’ needs through dynamic leadership in the creation and implementation of programs for poultry research in Canada, which may also include societal concerns.






CPRC adjusted its funding program for the 2016 call for Letters of Intent (LOI) to fit better into the annual funding timeframe.  Government funding organizations generally look for industry financial support to show that the proposed research is an industry priority.  Some funders, such as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), require industry funding approval prior to application. Others will accept an application prior to industry funding commitments but will not provide final approval until industry support is confirmed.  CPRC moved its call for 2016 LOIs to mid-December with a submission date in early February so that it can complete its review process and issue funding decisions by the end of June.

CPRC uses a two-step review and approval process. The first step is an internal review by the CPRC Board of Directors and its support staff to determine the level of support for a research proposal by the member organizations. The review assesses the proposal’s importance to industry and how well it aligns with priorities identified in the 2012 National Research Strategy for Canada’s Poultry Sector as well as new priorities identified by CPRC and its member organizations (e.g.: climate change, precision agriculture).  A short list of projects is developed to move on to the next part of the process.

The second step is to complete peer reviews conducted by research scientists of the short-listed projects, which looks more at technical aspects of the project and the validity of the research (e.g.: duplication of prior research, methodology).  The peer reviews provide valuable input to CPRC’s final decisions on the projects that will be funded.  The final funding decision will be made at CPRC’s June Board of Directors meeting.  CPRC received 28 LOIs in the 2016 call.

The 2015 CPRC Scholarship was awarded to Sasha van der Klein, a PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Martin Zuidhof, University of Alberta. Sasha completed her M. Sc. at the University of Wageningen in 2015 in the areas of immunology, genetics and nutrition. She published one and co-authored another paper following from her thesis in genetics, about the relationship between production traits and immunology in laying hens.

Sasha’s research at the University of Alberta will look at broiler breeder management strategies. Her objective will be to better understand the long term effects of broiler breeder rearing strategies on production and the effects on offspring performance. The focus will be on lighting and body weight management. She will also conduct research on understanding the mechanisms of transgenerational effects of nutrition. In her studies she will use the Precision Broiler Breeder Feeding System, developed by Dr. Zuidhof, which can control individual bird feed intake using real-time body weight measurements to make feed allocation decisions.

CPRC has redesigned its website (www.cp-rc.ca) to take advantage of developments in website design and management.  The redesigned website was activated in March and includes the same content as the previous website but packaged in a more concise format. It is also designed for use on a cell phone.  Please check out the new website and let us know what you think ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

CPRC, its Board of Directors and member organizations are committed to supporting and enhancing Canada’s poultry sector through research and related activities.  For more details on these or any other CPRC activities, please contact The Canadian Poultry Research Council, 350 Sparks Street, Suite 1007, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 7S8, phone: (613) 566-5916, fax: (613) 241-5999, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit us at www.cp-rc.ca.

The membership of the CPRC consists of Chicken Farmers of Canada, Canadian Hatching Egg Producers, Turkey Farmers of Canada, Egg Farmers of Canada and the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors’ Council. CPRC’s mission is to address its members’ needs through dynamic leadership in the creation and implementation of programs for poultry research in Canada, which may also include societal concerns.





January 15, 2016 - Highly pathogenic H7N8 avian influenza (HPAI) was confimed in a commercial gturkey flock in Dubois County, Indiana today by the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.  This is a different strain of HPAI than the strain that caused the 2015 outbreak.

Samples from the turkey flock, which experienced increased mortality, were tested at the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University, which is a part of USDA's National Animal Health Laboratory Network, and confirmed by USDA this morning. APHIS is working closely with the Indiana State Board of Animal Health on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the affected premises and depopulation of birds on the premises has already begun.

As part of existing avian influenza response plans, Federal and State partners are working jointly on additional surveillance and testing in the nearby area.



May 11, 2015 - University of Illinois economists take an in-depth look at the 2014/2015 avian influenza outbreak (U.S. data only).  READ MORE 

April 13, 2015 - On Friday April 10 the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced that it has expanded the quarantine zone around a tukey farm confirmed to have H5N2 avian influenza (the index farm) from a five km radius to 10 km.  As a result, an additional twenty poultry farms in Ontario are now under quarantine in Oxford County.

 This is in addition to the eight farms placed under quarantine by the CFIA last week, bringing the total number of farms under quarantine to 29.

The CFIA says all the farms are in an avian influenza `"control zone'' which has been established to control the movement of animal products and equipment in order to minimize the spread of disease.

Dr. Abed Harchaoui, a senior staff veterinarian at the CFIA, says the additional farms have been placed under quarantine as a precaution.

"This move is an effective balance between strong disease control methods and the ability to resume trade,'' he said. "The agency is monitoring these additional premises closely for any sign of disease.''

Harchaoui said the avian influenza control zone will be in place until the CFIA is confident the disease is no longer circulating in the area.

As a proactive and precautionary measure, member Boards of the Feather Board Command Centre are continuing to postpone district and other meetings of poultry farmers in Ontario and next week's poultry show in London has been cancelled


April 13, 2015 - A simple and effective portable tool to predict avian flu outbreaks on farms
has been created by University of Guelph researchers.
U of G researchers devised a real-time way to analyze chickens and other farm birds for avian flu. The tool uses a small blood sample and relies on a simple chemical colour change to see not only whether a chicken has avian flu but also what viral strain is involved.
Current tests require samples to be sent to a lab, where it can take eight hours to a couple of days to yield results. That's too long, said Prof. Suresh Neethirajan, School of Engineering.
"Treatment, especially when dealing with humans who have been infected,needs to start as soon as possible," he said. "This test only needs two to three minutes to incubate, and then you get the
results immediately. Not only that, but it is more cost-effective. Conventional techniques are time-consuming and labour-intensive, and requirespecial facilities and expensive laboratory instruments."
A study about the device will appear in an upcoming issue of the scientific journal Sensors, published by Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI).
Last week, Canadian officials placed eight farms in southern Ontario under quarantine after an avian influenza outbreak caused the sudden deaths of thousands of birds over several days.
Preliminary testing on the strain was conducted at U of G's Animal Health Lab.
An outbreak of avian flu also took place in Canada in January and December of 2014.
Neethirajan and post-doctoral researcher Longyan Chen wanted to create a test that could be used by anyone, even a non-scientist. 
"That is why we designed it so that the final colour changes based on what type of influenza it is, and it can differentiate between a human strain and a bird strain," said Neethirajan.
"It's critical to get out front of any outbreaks. There are many strains, and we need to know the source of the flu. The identification of the strain determines what treatment options we should use."
The device uses gold nanoparticles (microscopic particles) and glowing quantum dots. The researchers developed a novel approach for rapid and sensitive detection of surface proteins of viruses from blood samples of turkeys.
The new nanobiosensor can detect the strains of H5N1 and H1N1. The most recent outbreak was from H5N2, which is similar to H5N1, Neethirajan said. With some architecture modifications, the developed biosensing technique has the potential to detect the H5N2 strain as well, he said.
The subtype H1N1 is human adapted while most H5 are avian oriented, Neethirajan added.
"We're creating a rapid animal health diagnostic tool that needs less volume of blood, less chemicals and less time. We will be able to determine, almost immediately, the difference between virus sub-strains from human and avian influenza."

April 10, 2015 - The 2015 London Poultry Show has been cancelled due to concerns over avian influenza.  The decision was announced late today by the Poultry Industry Council and the Western Fair District.  More information available here.  

April 6, 2015 - Preliminary testing by the Animal Health Lab at University of Guelph has confirmed the presence of a highly pathogenic H5 avian influenza in a commercial turkey flock west of Woodstock in Oxford County.

On behalf of the four feather boards, the Feather Board Command Centre is issuing a heightened biosecurity  advisory to all commercial producers and small flock growers in a 10 km area around the farm.

The farm has been quarantined. Further tests are being carried out by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The FBCC is providing advice to the farmer and working closely with  the provincial and federal government in the response to this serious infectious disease.  

Be very diligent in observing your flocks. Monitor mortalities and track feed and water consumption. Take an active role in protecting your birds by employing strict heightened biosecurity measures on your property.

You are urged to heighten biosecurity measures; please refer to biosecurity material that has been provided to you. Please alert any visitors to your farm that you have heightened your biosecurity because of this situation and keep a logbook of movement in relation to your farm. Minimize visits to other poultry production sites, avoid exchanging equipment with other poultry production sites or ensure that it is washed and disinfected. Ensure all personnel in contact with birds wear boots, protective suits, head coverings and gloves/handwashing. Ensure adequate control of vermin and wild birds.

Birds with outdoor access should not share areas with wild ducks, geese, or shorebirds. Make sure free-range areas do not have attractions for wild waterfowl, such as a pond or open feeders, which may become contaminated with wild waterfowl droppings. Be prepared to cover your entire yard with netting or to enclose your birds under roofed cover if necessary.

Should you suspect any signs of health concerns in your flock, please contact your veterinarian as well as your Board or call 1-877-SOS-BYRD. For more information see OMAFRA news release from March 12. 



Foot pad dermatitis is a condition characterized by lesions on the foot pad of turkeys, which, when severe, lead to the erosion of the skin layers and cause pain when weight is put on the foot.  Scoring scales used at the processing plant to determine the severity of the lesions can be used as an indication of welfare of a flock, due to the pain associated with this condition, making it a management aspect which should be monitored very closely.  Additionally, the pain caused by foot pad dermatitis leads to decreased mobility which may cause a decrease in eating and drinking, as it is too painful to walk to the feed and water lines.  Many factors, including management and nutrition, may contribute to the development and severity of foot pad dermatitis and can be manipulated to reduce the incidence of foot pad dermatitis in a flock.  It is important to be aware of all factors contributing to foot pad dermatitis and manage the barn to ensure these risk factors are being minimized before any lesions appear on the foot pad of the bird.

The moisture of the litter used for bedding in a turkey barn is the most important contributor to foot pad dermatitis in turkey flocks.  This is because increased litter moisture facilitates the softening of the foot pad, making it more susceptible to bacterial invasion.  This bacterial invasion leads to the production of a lesion on the foot pad.  In general, other factors involved in the development of foot pad dermatitis are simply related to the way in which they contribute to increased litter moisture.  This includes the litter material being used.  Understanding the ability of that material to hold water and keep it away from the foot pad of the turkey, thereby decreasing the moisture of the litter in contact with the foot pad, is important as making the decision on litter material and depth is an important aspect of barn management.  The litter material may also induce the development of a lesion based on the physical properties of the material, as an abrasive material may cause irritation to the foot pad.  

The barn environment is influenced by a variety of management factors including humidity, ventilation, and temperature.  Ensuring the humidity is low enough to reduce the litter moisture helps prevent the development of foot pad dermatitis in the turkeys, while still keeping the humidity high enough to prevent the barn from become dusty.  Managing ventilation in such a way that relative humidity levels are maintained between 50 and 70 per cent is a key component of managing to reduce the incidence of foot pad dermatitis in the flock.  This is particularly difficult in the winter, as adding heat is expensive which may cause a producer to decrease ventilation rates to save on heating costs.  Lowering the ventilation in the winter allows for the buildup of moisture within the barn and promotes wet litter, making the flock more susceptible to the development of foot pad dermatitis.  A too high ventilation rate can also have negative effects as this will increase the heating cost to unnecessarily high levels during the winter months. Higher stocking density will put more pressure on litter management due to increased excreta output per square metre. Finding the balance in ventilation that allows for a sufficient quantity of fresh air and removal of moisture from the barn, while keeping heating costs as low as possible, is required to manage the barn and the flock to their potential.  

The management of the water lines in the barn can contribute to the development of foot pad dermatitis in a turkey flock by contributing to increased litter moisture.  Regularly checking water lines for leaks, ensuring they are set to the correct pressure, and maintaining water sanitation in the barn helps to minimize water spillage.  Additionally, ensuring the water lines are at the right height such that the turkeys are not stretching or bending down to drink decreases the amount of water being wasted during drinking and contributes to keeping the litter dry.

Bird health plays a very important role in the development of foot pad dermatitis.  Disease challenges, such as coccidiosis and enteritis, are associated with malabsorption in the gut, leading to loose excreta and increased litter moisture.  Watery, foamy droppings are often the first indication of a disease challenge. Enteric diseases lead to a decrease in feed and water intake, which results in marginal intake of nutrients critical to health, including energy, amino acids, vitamins and trace minerals. Unless quickly addressed, litter conditions will deteriorate and birds will develop dirty feathering and lethargy.  The combination of these factors results in impaired immune response, increasing the turkey’s susceptibility to foot pad dermatitis. Closely monitoring flock health and mortality for the duration of the growing period is very important and should be done in consultation with your flock veterinarian.

Components of the ingredients provided in the feed can contribute to foot pad dermatitis.  Ingredients containing difficult to digest carbohydrates, such as soybean meal, corn distillers grains with solubles, barley and wheat, are associated with sticky droppings due to their ability to retain water in the excreta.  These sticky droppings are concerning as they increase the contact time of the foot pad with the excreta, as well as increasing the water contained in the excreta.  This challenge can be overcome with enzyme supplementation in the diet.  Another nutritional component is the quality and balance of protein being supplied in the diet.  A diet that is poorly balanced in terms of protein leads to increased excretion of water into the litter, contributing to an increase in litter moisture.  The presence of mycotoxins in the feed can also contribute to the development of foot pad dermatitis. The Fusarium mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (vomitoxin), has been shown to disrupt the intestinal mucosa structure, leading to impaired nutrient absorption and contributing to the development of malabsorption and increased excreta moisture. The risk from mycotoxins can be mitigated by stringent screening of feedstuffs and nutritional support to minimize their negative effects. Another dietary factor is sodium intake from both feed and water as it impacts electrolyte balance. Sodium intake in excess of nutritional requirements can contribute to the development of foot pad dermatitis through increased excreta moisture. Maintaining moderate, but adequate, levels of sodium in the diet, with adjustment for the contribution from drinking water, is a necessary step in foot pad dermatitis prevention.  Proper nutrition and feed formulation can address many of the factors involved with foot pad health in turkeys. Developing a nutritional strategy to prevent the development of foot pad dermatitis in your flock should be done in consultation with your flock nutritionist.

The effect of litter material, ventilation and humidity, water line management, bird health, and nutrition on foot pad dermatitis needs to be well understood by producers to minimize the risk of this disease developing within their flock of turkeys.  Understanding how these factors work both independently, as well as the way they interact, to induce and increase severity of foot pad dermatitis in a turkey flock gives producers the opportunity to manage their barns to reduce the risk factors present to the turkeys, from day-old poults through to market age.  Barn and flock management that focuses on the reduction of foot pad dermatitis risk factors, particularly by monitoring litter moisture, will contribute significantly to producing a high performing, healthy flock of turkeys.




November 12, 2014 - A University of Adelaide-led project has developed a new test that can distinguish between birds that have been vaccinated against the H5N1 strain of avian influenza virus or “bird flu” with those that have been naturally infected.

This is a significant step in the fight against this often fatal strain of avian influenza which is widespread in the poultry populations of South East Asia, particularly Indonesia and Vietnam.

It causes global concern because of its possible transmission to humans and the threat of a pandemic if it mutates to a form that can be easily passed from bird to human then human to human. The research has been published in PLOS ONE.

“Avian flu is on the top list of notifiable diseases of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) because of its high economic cost and risk to human health,” says project leader Dr Farhid Hemmatzadeh, Senior Lecturer in Virology in the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences at the Roseworthy campus.

“Outbreaks in birds are largely being controlled by vaccination and this is limiting human exposure to this virus.

“But the inability of distinguishing between vaccinated and naturally infected birds has been a major challenge. It has prevented tracking the virus which can still circulate in vaccinated birds and may mutate to new strains under what’s called vaccination pressure.

“These birds that have been vaccinated but still have live naturally infected H5N1 virus in their systems are the main source of emerging strains of the virus - and these new strains may be even more dangerous to birds or humans.

“With this new, more sensitive, test we can identify these vaccinated birds with live virus and prevent the escape of any mutant strains. This is essential if we want to prevent pandemics developing from this virus and eventually eradicate this disease.”

The researchers, including the University of Melbourne, CSIRO and Indonesian organisations, are carrying out large surveillance programs in poultry farms across Indonesia. The research is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).

The bird vaccine is made from avian influenza virus which has been killed but still promotes the production of antibodies in the bird protecting it against the live virus. The antibodies prevent the replication of the virus in the bird, but in some cases the virus mutates in a vaccinated bird and can still replicate even with the existing high level of antibodies to the vaccines.

The new DIVA test (differentiation of infected from vaccinated animals) uses a particular viral protein called Matrix protein 2 that reacts differently with blood serum from vaccinated or infected animals. Since the first outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza virus in 2004, the development of a reliable DIVA test has been global priority.


The road from research discovery to commercial application is sometimes long. In the October 2010 issue of the CPRC update, we introduced you to new vaccine technology being developed by Dr. Eva Nagy and her team at the University of Guelph. Since that time, these researchers and the University have been busy refining the technology and working with Avimex Animal Health to bring it to commercial application.

While vaccines are used with great success to protect poultry from a range of diseases, many are not without their drawbacks. Vaccines based on live virus, for example, can sometimes cause symptoms of the disease they are designed to prevent. Killed vaccines are generally safer, but are often less effective. As more is learned about pathogens and the host’s immune responses to them, new vaccine types are emerging that overcome the shortcomings of their predecessors and incorporate features that improve their effectiveness and utility. For example, scientists have identified specific viral proteins that elicit a protective immune response. Inoculating birds with these immunogenic proteins, or “antigens”, eliminates the need for, and associated risks of, using intact virus. The challenge is to find an effective way to deliver these antigens to the body.

The technology, in brief
Dr. Nagy’s team is meeting that challenge by exploiting a virus’ natural ability to deliver genetic information into biological cells. Specifically, the researchers are working with a strain of fowl adenovirus (FAdV-9; a strain that does not cause disease in poultry). Adenovirus particles are extremely small and, compared to a cell, are quite simple. They consist only of a set of genetic instructions (DNA) and a coat of protein that protects the DNA. Adenoviruses do not have the chemical machinery necessary to reproduce themselves. As part of their lifecycle, these viruses attach to a host cell and introduce genetic instructions that trick the cell into producing new virus particles. Nagy’s team engineered FAdV-9 to instead instruct the cell to make specific antigens. These antigens are, in turn, presented to the immune system to elicit the appropriate immune response.

The FAdV-9 system is very powerful and flexible. Using the same biological platform, a wide array of antigens can be produced. Antigens can be co-introduced with proteins that enhance the bird’s immune response. Multivalent vaccines can be produced that simultaneously protect poultry from more than one disease. Additionally, these vaccines can be engineered to allow distinction between birds that were vaccinated and those that were naturally infected by intact virus. Formally known as “Differentiation of naturally Infected from Vaccinated Animals” (DIVA), this feature will be an important component of many commercially viable vaccination strategies in the future.

Commercial application
The key to bringing scientific discoveries to commercial application is to connect research expertise with companies that can take the technology to the marketplace. In Dr. Nagy’s case, this connection was made with the help of the Catalyst Centre (CC), the University of Guelph’s technology transfer and industrial liaison office. The CC works with faculty, staff and students “to protect intellectual property and maximize potential economic, social and environmental benefits.” CC staff connected Dr. Nagy with Avimex and helped navigate issues around intellectual property and technology licensing. Avimex, based in Mexico (there are no Canadian vaccine manufacturers), produces poultry vaccines and pharmaceuticals for poultry and other agricultural species for markets in more than 25 countries. Having done its own due diligence, Avimex is confident that Dr. Nagy’s technology platform will be a success and is working on registration and scaling up production.

Congratulations to Dr. Nagy’s team on their ingenuity and perseverance, and to the Catalyst Centre and Avimex for helping these researchers navigate the long road from idea to marketplace.

Funding for Dr. Nagy’s preliminary work was provided by CPRC in partnership with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Ongoing research was part of the 2010-2013 Poultry Science Cluster, which was funded in large part by AAFC Canada as part of Growing Forward, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. CPRC and a number of industry and government organizations also provided funding for the Cluster.

For more details on any CPRC activities, please contact The Canadian Poultry Research Council, 350 Sparks Street, Suite 1007, Ottawa, Ontario K1R 7S8, phone: (613) 566-5916, fax: (613) 241-5999, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit us at www.cp-rc.ca.

The membership of the CPRC consists of Chicken Farmers of Canada, Canadian Hatching Egg Producers, Turkey Farmers of Canada, Egg Farmers of Canada and the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors’ Council. CPRC’s mission is to address its members’ needs through dynamic leadership in the creation and implementation of programs for poultry research in Canada, which may also include societal concerns.

En novembre dernier, le professeur du département de science animale et avicole, Dr Henry L. Classen, a présenté les conclusions de son équipe lors du Rendez-vous avicole de l’AQINAC, à Drummondville. Assisté par l’étudiante à la maîtrise Jocelyn Fournier, il a enquêté sur le comportement et le rendement de volatiles ayant subi ou pas le traitement de dégriffage.

En raison de l’évolution dans la production de dindon, plusieurs questions importantes demeuraient sans réponses. Les doigts étant essentiels à l’équilibre et la mobilité, comment les doigts raccourcis affectent-ils les dindons avec des poitrines considérablement plus volumineuses qu’il y a 30 ans? Maintenant que les ciseaux chirurgicaux et la cautérisation avec lame chaude ont été remplacés par le traitement des griffes par microondes de Nova-Tech Engineering, les dindons souffrent-ils moins du dégriffage?

La recherche s’est basée sur l’hypothèse que le dégriffage diminue les égratignures sur les carcasses, sans provoquer d’effets négatifs sur le bien-être des oiseaux ou leur productivité. L’impact du dégriffage a été mesuré sur la production (croissance, efficacité alimentaire et dommage à la carcasse) et le bien-être des oiseaux (longueur et variabilité des doigts, guérison des doigts, cote de démarche/posture et comportement). Hank Classen croit qu’il était nécessaire d’évaluer le bien-être animal autrement qu’en mesurant les dommages à la carcasse ou les taux de condamnation. Le dégriffage par microondes réduirait les infections bactériennes, mais la coupe pourrait-elle être trop grande?

Les expériences ont été menées sur des groupes de 32 dindes Hybrid Converter par parquet, de zéro à 15 semaines, et des groupes de 17 dindons Hybrid Converter par parquet, âgés de zéro à 20 semaines.

Deux traitements ont été comparés : aucun dégriffage et le dégriffage par microondes. Les oiseaux ont été élevés jusqu’à des âges plus avancés qu’habituellement au Canada, mais comparables aux pratiques ailleurs dans le monde.

Chez les dindes, après 15 semaines, il n’y avait aucune différence significative de poids entre celles traitées et non traitées. Par contre, après 20 semaines, les dindons qui n’avaient pas été dégriffés pesaient environ un demi-kilo de plus que ceux qui avaient été dégriffés.  

En examinant le gain de poids tout au long de la croissance, on constate que les dindons traités et non traités suivent la même courbe pour les premiers 70 jours. Plus ils deviennent gros cependant, plus la différence s’accentue. « Ceci nous porte à croire que les dindons traités étaient en quelque sorte réticents à se rendre à la mangeoire », a indiqué Hank Classen.

Chez les dindes et les dindons, les oiseaux dégriffés ont consommé moins d’aliments de zéro à sept jours. D’après le Dr Classen, on peut en déduire qu’ils ont été affectés par le dégriffage.

Les dindons dégriffés se sont aussi moins nourris dans la période de 126 à 140 jours, confirmant l’hypothèse d’une réticence à s’alimenter qui freine l’atteinte du potentiel génétique.

Toutefois, comme la recherche antérieure l’a aussi démontré, le taux de conversion alimentaire n’a pas été affecté par le dégriffage. La mortalité a été plus élevée chez les oiseaux dégriffés, mais dans le cadre des expériences, la différence n’était pas significative statistiquement.

Il y a plutôt lieu de s’inquiéter d’une autre observation : le grand nombre de dindons dégriffés souffrant de rotation tibiale, une condition qu’on retrouve habituellement chez des oiseaux qui ont subi des dommages physiques à leurs jambes en raison d’une exposition à une surface glissante. Les chercheurs croient que l’absence de griffes sur une litière de paille pourrait être en cause.

La trouvaille la plus importante est liée aux égratignures. Chez les dindes, celles dégriffées affichaient une importante réduction d’égratignure des carcasses. Parmi les dindons, les groupes dégriffés et non dégriffés affichaient peu d’égratignures de carcasse. « à 20 semaines, ces dindons pèsent plus de 20 kilogrammes. Ce sont de gros oiseaux. Il est possible que ce soit leur grande taille qui réduise le potentiel d’égratignures », a suggéré Hank Classen.

Il s’avère que les oiseaux dégriffés avaient des doigts en moyenne 8 per cent plus courts. La repousse des doigts était très variable. Un examen de plus près a démontré qu’à 14 jours, la guérison était terminée. Dans trois échantillons sur quatre, des colonies de bactéries ont été trouvées, ce qui révèle que le traitement par microondes n’offre pas une barrière complète à l’entrée des bactéries. Dans l’ensemble, le traitement s’est avéré constant et efficace.

Les chercheurs ont été surpris de constater que lorsqu’encouragés à marcher, les dindes et les dindons ont démontré une bonne mobilité, en dépit de leur forte taille vers la fin du cycle. Cependant, pendant leur première semaine de vie, le niveau d’activité des oiseaux dégriffés était réduit. « Les effets du dégriffage étaient pratiquement partis rendu à la fin de la première semaine, rapporte Hank Classen. Ces effets étaient sensiblement moindres chez les dindes que chez les dindons, mais on en déduit qu’il y a probablement une sensation d’inconfort ou de douleur (chez les deux sexes). »

Puisque les doigts contiennent des nerfs capables d’émettre des signaux de douleur, la coupe des griffes par microondes provoque certainement de la douleur, explique Hank Classen. « Il n’y a aucun doute à l’effet que ces oiseaux ont besoin d’un peu plus d’attention après le traitement. »

Même si la recherche a été menée sur de petits lots dans des installations expérimentales, les conclusions sont pertinentes pour les éleveurs commerciaux.      

Sur la base de leurs expériences, les chercheurs ne recommandent pas de dégriffer les dindons, surtout ceux qui sont élevés pour les plus gros calibres. Ils ont constaté de la douleur après le dégriffage, des gains de poids inférieurs en âge avancé et un plus grand nombre de rotations tibiales. Et surtout, les dindons qui n’avaient pas été dégriffés ne présentaient pas d’égratignures sur leurs carcasses. « Nous devons nous préoccuper des questions de bien-être, affirme Hank Classen. Pour les dindons suivis dans ces expériences, le dégriffage a plusieurs aspects négatifs et aucun aspect positif. » 

Cette recherche a été commanditée par le Conseil de recherches avicoles du Canada, Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada et Lilydale.
Page 1 of 3

Subscription Centre

New Subscription
Already a Subscriber
Customer Service
View Digital Magazine Renew

Most Popular

Latest Events

Ontario Poultry Breeders
Sat Oct 21, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Poultry Welfare Auditor Course (PAACO)
Tue Oct 31, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Harvest Gala 2017
Thu Nov 02, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Poultry Innovations Conference and Banquet
Wed Nov 08, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Eastern Ontario Poultry Conference
Wed Nov 29, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM