Livestock Research
In 2014/2015 an outbreak of highly pathogenic Avian Influenza (AI) struck British Columbia. A total of 13 poultry farms were affected and approximately 240,000 birds died or were destroyed to control the outbreak.

In addition, the disease was detected in the U.S. where more than 48 million birds were lost and the outbreak was estimated to have cost US$3.3 billion and resulted in shortages and price increases for certain poultry products.

Wild waterfowl are known to be the reservoir for AI, and although wild bird AI surveillance programs were already in place in Canada and the U.S., it was limited to collecting and testing individual wild birds.

To improve the surveillance to include environmental monitoring, in 2015 the BC Ministry of Agriculture, BC Centre for Disease Control Public Health Laboratory, and University of British Columbia joined forces to develop a new approach - a genomics-based test that identifies and characterizes AI viruses (AIV) in wetland sediments.

This work, funded in part by Genome British Columbia (Genome BC) and led by Drs. Chelsea Himsworth, Jane Pritchard, William Hsiao, Natalie Prystajecky, and Agatha Jassem, successfully demonstrated that this novel approach worked, as AIV was detected in a significant proportion of sediment samples, compared to less than one percent rate of detection in the current Canadian national wild bird AI surveillance program.

Additionally, the outbreak virus was found in wetlands throughout the Fraser Valley, information that could have been used to mitigate the outbreak had this technology been available.

To further evaluate this novel surveillance approach, a new project, Genomic Analysis of Wetland Sediment as a Tool for Avian Influenza Surveillance and Prevention, represents a combined investment of over $2.5 million from funders and delivery partners including Genome BC, the BC Ministry of Agriculture, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC, and the Sustainable Poultry Farming Group.

This phase follows on from previous work and is looking at what steps are required to move the technology from a successful proof-of-concept initiative to implementation. This includes scientific validation of technology, as well as its incorporation into Provincial and National Wild Waterfowl AI Surveillance Programs. It is anticipated that this innovative approach will be adopted nationally and internationally for surveillance of AI and/or other diseases associated with wildlife.

"This investment allows Dr. Himsworth and the team to refine and validate the AI sediment surveillance with genomics technologies, methodology and field approach," says Dr. Catalina Lopez-Correa, chief scientific officer and vice president, sectors, at Genome BC. "Most importantly it allows for the identification of the optimal combination of AI surveillance techniques for maximum efficiency and efficacy."
Published in Health
Auburn University's College of Agriculture, in conjunction with other schools around the nation, will conduct a study to ensure that poultry litter does not pollute surface waters with excessive amounts of phosphorous.

The three-year study is being performed to combat the 1.8 million tons of waste produced annually in Alabama from its $15 billion poultry industry.

Phosphorous-rich poultry litter is a big concern in Alabama and other states where the litter is used to fertilize fields. If the nutrient leaks into waterways, it can cause toxic algae blooms which can lead to deficient oxygen levels and destruction of life in the water.

The study will look at the Sand Mountain region of North Alabama and a row-crop field in Wisconsin, two large agro-ecosystems that are currently having issues with managing their phosphorous levels. | For the full story, CLICK HERE.
Published in Environment
Dealing with the high cost of food in the North is a constant challenge for producers and consumers. Through innovation and new thinking, Choice North Farms in Hay River is hoping to make a difference by undertaking the PoultryPonics Dome Project, supported with over $80,000 of CanNor funding.

The announcement was made by Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament (Northwest Territories) on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for CanNor.

Choice North Farms is a private egg producing company in Hay River. Their pilot project will integrate vertical hydroponic units and poultry production in a small geodesic dome. This combination will reduce the amount of nutrients and energy required for production, while providing a good supply of quality local fresh produce and meat substitutes.

If the pilot project is successful, this innovative clean technology could be scaled and adapted in other Northern communities, promoting economic diversification, reducing the cost of living, and enhancing the quality of life in remote communities.

"The Government of Canada has long supported the development of the agriculture sector in the North. We are pleased to support innovative technologies that not only grow the economy of Hay River, but also have the potential to provide affordable food to Northern communities," McLeod said. 

CanNor has invested $80,497 in the project through its Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development (SINED) program, with Choice North Farms contributing $67,910, the Government of the Northwest Territories injecting $6,586 and the Aurora Research Institute providing an additional $6,000. Total funding for the project is $160,993.

"We are thrilled at North Choice Farms to be able to pilot this green technology, thanks to the support of CanNor. We are confident it will allow us to produce more food locally while reducing our carbon footprint and production cost. This is great for our business, for the agricultural sector in the NWT and for Northern consumers, " said Kevin Wallington, business development manager, Choice North Farms.


READ CP's related feature article: Chickens in the greenhouse
Published in Producers
USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation announce the completion of a funded research project at the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga., in which a researcher showed how infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) can spread from vaccinated flocks.

Dr. Maricarmen Garcia, at the University of Georgia, recently completed a research project that studied how well a recombinant ILT vaccine protected broilers when various doses of the vaccine were used.

She found that all dosage levels used protected against the clinical signs of the disease, but none of the dosage levels prevented the broilers from shedding the ILT challenge virus to other broilers. This study reinforces the observation that biosecurity is very important to control spread of ILT from vaccinated flocks.

The research summary can be found on the USPOULTRY website, www.uspoultry.org.
Published in Health
A new genetic link to the immune system in laying hens has been discovered that could result in laying hens being born resistant to many diseases.

Pioneering research of the full genome of over 1,600 layers has revealed a genetic link to natural antibodies (called: NAbs).

This research that was undertaken by Wageningen University in the Netherlands and Hendrix Genetics. It has huge potential to impact productivity, biosecurity, and sustainability. | READ MORE
Published in News
The results of a study recently published in the prestigious international journal Science Advances have enabled researchers to better understand the role of eggshells in embryo development and hatching.

The objective of the study, conducted by an international research team led by Marc McKee from McGill University in Canada and involving the participation of scientists from the University of Granada (UGR), was to analyse the nanostructure of chicken eggshells.

The findings could be used to produce healthier, more robust eggs by providing researchers with the means to genetically select laying hens with specific characteristics.

An eggshell is made up of both organic and inorganic matter that contains calcium carbonate. One of the important findings of the study was that the nanostructure was closely linked to the presence of osteopontin, a protein which is also found in bones.

Eggshell transformation process
Eggshells are strong enough to resist fractures during the incubation period. However, they gradually weaken as the hatching period approaches to make it easier for the chicks to break through the shell.

The eggshell weakens as its internal layer dissolves, releasing calcium which, in turn, is needed by the embryo for bone formation.

The study found that this process is made possible as a result of the changes that occur in the eggshell nanostructure during the incubation period.

Implications for food safety
Furthermore, the researchers were able to recreate similar nanostructures to those they discovered in the eggshells by using proteins, specifically by adding osteopontin to mineral crystals grown in the lab.

The team add that: “A better understanding of the role of proteins in the calcification process that strengthens the eggshell structure could have significant implications for food safety.”

According to the team, which includes Alejandro B. Rodríguez Navarro from the Department of Mineralogy and Petrology (UGR), approximately 10 per cent of all eggs break or crack before consumption, which increases the risk of food poisoning and infections such as Salmonella.

Understanding how the different mineral nanostructures contribute to strengthening the eggshell could allow scientists to genetically select laying hens based on specific traits, which would put healthier, more resistant eggs into circulation.

However, studying the internal structure of eggshells can be challenging because of the ease with which they break when under analysis. To overcome this obstacle, the team used a focused ion beam sectioning system that allowed them to accurately cut the samples out of the eggshells and study them using electron microscopy.

The full pager is avaliable here: https://canal.ugr.es/noticia/study-healthier-robust-eggs/
Published in Health
As it did for most livestock species, substantial genetic improvement in turkeys started in the 21st century. In the 1960s, hybridization of turkey varieties began, followed by the development of pedigree programs for large white turkeys in the 1970s.
Published in Genetics
Although research into the effects of LED lighting for poultry is ongoing, data often appears inconsistent. In addition, experts have focused less on behavioural and welfare aspects as compared to production.
Published in Welfare
Research has shown that the consumption of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids provides a myriad of health benefits, including lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and death.

Yet, few Americans are consuming enough of this vital nutrient to reap those benefits, a deficiency researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences hope to change by fortifying foods people frequently eat — eggs and chicken — with the heart healthy long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.

"With the incidence of obesity, heart disease and insulin resistance increasing toward epidemic proportions in the United States, people must make changes to improve their health," said Kevin Harvatine, associate professor of nutritional physiology in the Department of Animal Science.

"Production of nutritionally enriched eggs and poultry meat will help consumers meet health goals and help egg and poultry producers to increase the value of their products."

Harvatine and Robert Elkin, professor of avian nutritional biochemistry, have collaborated in this research area since 2011, conducting numerous studies at the Penn State Poultry Education and Research Center with both laying hens and broiler (meat-type) chickens. Elkin has expertise in poultry nutrition and a long history of work aimed at modifying egg cholesterol content, while Harvatine has expertise in lipid (fat) nutrition and metabolism in dairy cattle.

The researchers explained that alpha-linolenic acid is an 18-carbon omega-3 fatty acid found in flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans, nut oils and leafy vegetables. It is one of two essential fatty acids that the human body cannot produce on its own but is vital for cardiovascular, cognitive and immune system health. It also is touted for its anti-inflammatory properties.

The other essential fatty acid, linoleic acid, is an 18-carbon omega-6 fatty acid commonly found in corn, many vegetable oils, and a wide variety of snacks and fast foods. While omega-6 fatty acids can be beneficial, consuming too much — which many people do — is not good because it promotes inflammation, Elkin pointed out.

In addition, linoleic and linolenic acids compete for the same set of enzymes in the liver that convert them into longer-chain derivatives, which have opposing functions in the inflammatory process. As a result, when the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids favors the former, fewer heart-healthy long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are produced by the liver and transported to tissues such as the brain and retina, where they have other important physiological functions.

Harvatine said omega-3 needs vary, but, in general, healthy adults should set a target of about 250 milligrams per day of each of the two most important types: eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid — commonly referred to as EPA and DHA, respectively. For people with known heart disease, higher dietary intakes are recommended.

EPA and DHA contain a greater number of carbon atoms and unsaturated double bonds, and because their consumption is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, they are referred to as the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Foods rich in long-chain omega-3s include fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring; however, few people eat two to three servings each week per American Heart Association recommendations.

"Some people don't like fish, can't eat it due to allergies, or simply can't afford it," Harvatine said. "Whatever the reason, most don't meet the requirement. And, if every person on the planet ate the number of fish needed to achieve omega-3 targets, there would be no fish left — it is just not sustainable."

While over-the-counter supplements are available, the researchers believe it is better to reach omega-3 nutritional targets through food such as enriched poultry meat and eggs because, as Elkin noted, "it's perhaps a more effective way to reach a greater number of people who are concerned about health risks (methylmercury) associated with consumption of certain fish species, the sustainability and environmental effects of aquaculture, or simply prefer to not eat fish for a variety of reasons."

Eggs find their way onto American plates with frequency. According to the American Egg Board, per capita consumption of eggs is about 267 a year, which works out to about five eggs per person per week. In addition, Americans consumed approximately 91 pounds of chicken per person in 2017, according to the National Chicken Council.

Unlike typical nutritionally enhanced eggs found in grocery stores, Harvatine's and Elkin's goal is to create poultry products that are richer in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids but lower in omega-6 fatty acids. Although the chicken is able to convert the 18-carbon omega-3 fatty acid found in plants to the heart-healthy long-chain omega-3s, the process is very inefficient. Humans also have a very limited ability to convert linolenic acid to EPA and DHA.

In a recent study published in Lipids, Elkin and Harvatine hypothesized that reducing the dietary level of linoleic acid (the 18-carbon omega-6 fatty acid) would promote greater conversion in the liver of linolenic acid to EPA and DHA, while supplementing the hens' diets with a high-oleic acid soybean oil would simultaneously further enrich eggs with oleic acid without influencing egg EPA and DHA contents.

Oleic acid is the principal fatty acid found in olive oil, which is the main fat source in the Mediterranean diet, heralded as one of the healthiest diets for cardiovascular disease prevention.

The researchers found that, as compared to controls, supplemental dietary flaxseed oil resulted in an enrichment of egg yolks with EPA and DHA, but simultaneously supplementing the hens’ diet with both flaxseed oil and high-oleic soybean oil maximally reduced the yolk deposition of linolenic acid, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, and total omega-3 fatty acids by 37 per cent, 15 per cent, and 32 per cent respectively.

These results suggested that dietary oleic acid was not neutral with regard to the overall process by which dietary linolenic acid was absorbed, metabolized and deposited into egg yolk, either intact or in the form of longer chain/more unsaturated omega-3 fatty acid derivatives.

Based on their knowledge of fatty acid metabolism, as well as triglyceride positional analyses of the experimental oils, Elkin and Harvatine hypothesized that oleic acid may simply have out-competed linolenic acid for absorption from the intestine, which ultimately would result in less omega-3 fatty acid enrichment of egg yolks.

In addition to being the first study to report this, according to Elkin, the findings also have implications for human nutrition because the initial steps of intestinal fat digestion and absorption are similar in chickens and humans.

"It is possible that oils rich in oleic acid might hinder the body's ability to reap the full nutritional benefits of EPA and DHA if consumed along with fatty fish or omega-3 fatty acid supplements, such as fish oil capsules."

"This also could be occurring in people consuming a Mediterranean diet, in which oleic acid-rich olive oil is the principal source of fat, and moderate to low amounts of fish are eaten," he added.

Studies are underway to confirm this finding in laying hens with other oils that are rich in oleic acid, in order to demonstrate that it is an "oleic acid effect" and not an effect that is specific for high-oleic soybean oil only.

"The importance of this research to the (egg) industry is that we have learned of a potential new hindrance to enriching eggs with omega-3 fatty acids, and that information can be used when trying to develop the next generation of ‘designer’ eggs," Elkin said.

Undergraduate student Alexandra Kukorowski, a Schreyer Honors Scholar, contributed to the research.

The Pennsylvania Soybean Board and the Pennsylvania Poultry Industry Egg Research Check-Off Program supported this work.
Published in Researchers
Currently, more than 90 per cent of broiler chicken feeds contain enzyme supplements, which have a direct positive effect on animal performance. However, new generation enzyme supplements have been developed for specific use in the feed industry.

Yeast products are rich sources of mannan polysaccharides, ß1,3- and ß1,6-glucans and nucleotides, which can function as prebiotics and have been shown to stimulate the immune system and gastrointestinal tract development. This provides favorable conditions for beneficial intestinal bacteria and results in decreased attachment of pathogens such as Salmonella.

Dr. Bogdan Slominski from the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Manitoba aimed to develop a product that would contain a combination of a multi-carbohydrase preparation fortified with a yeast cell wall lytic activity with the yeast-derived product(s) as an effective and inexpensive alternative to antibiotic growth promoters.

The experiments
Slominski and his research team conducted a series of experiments to first optimize the depolymerisation of yeast cell wall polysaccharides using varying enzyme activities to explore the potential for the release of bioactive components from various yeast products.

They demonstrated that the use of a specific yeast cell lytic enzyme could significantly depolymerize yeast cell wall polysaccharides so they become water-soluble and, thus, more bioactive. Additionally, yeast cell lysis resulted in the release of a variety of nutrients, including nucleotides, known to play a role in immune system development.

In addition to investigating the effects of enzyme/yeast-based prebiotic supplements on growth performance of broiler chickens and turkeys under commercial field conditions, the researchers also produced different enzyme-pretreated yeast products as dietary enzyme/yeast-based prebiotic supplements. They performed feeding trials with Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens challenged poultry as well.

The findings
The enzyme/yeast-based prebiotic supplements the team developed significantly decreased the incidence of Salmonella shedding and reduced Salmonella cecal counts in broiler chickens and laying hens. In the laying hen, the enzyme/yeast-based prebiotic supplements also reduced Salmonella colonization/numbers in different internal organs.

The Clostridium perfringens challenge study with broiler chickens demonstrated that enzyme/yeast-based prebiotic supplements were as effective as antibiotics in birds post challenge recovery. Other findings of the feeding trials show that enzyme/yeast-based prebiotic supplements fed to broiler chickens suggests a shift in microbial population of the lower gut towards beneficial microbes and a more diversified microbial community, resulting in less susceptibility to pathogenic invasion.

In the broiler chicken study performed under field conditions, researchers observed improvements in body weight gain and feed conversion ratio for diets containing the enzyme/yeast-based prebiotic supplements. In addition, the team observed a significant effect of the enzyme/yeast-based prebiotic supplements on body weight gain and feed conversion ratio in turkeys. Dr. Slominski and his associates have clearly demonstrated the benefits of enzyme/yeast-based prebiotics supplements, which may serve as alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters.

The next steps
The researchers plan to develop yeast products with further enhanced biological activity. Additionally, they aim to investigate the configuration of yeast products required for the bioactive components to exert their activity in protecting the gut from pathogens.

This research is funded by CPRC/AAFC under the Poultry Science Cluster Program. This is in addition to funding from Canola Council of Canada and Canadian Bio-Systems.

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.

CPRC membership 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. 
Published in Nutrition and Feed
Five genes that affect sociality-related behaviour in chickens have been identified by researchers at Linköping University in Sweden.

Several of the genes have been previously linked to nervous system function or behaviour. The new study, which is published in Genetics, is the first that assigns these genes a role in sociality.

Sociality and social behaviour covers a wide range of behaviours. Dogs seeking human contact and honeybees using complex waggle dances to exchange information on where to find good food sources are two examples from the animal world. But what actually governs social behaviour?

“By identifying the genes responsible for the variation in such sociality we can understand how sociality is formed and how social behaviour is controlled at a genetic level. Why some people or animals are more gregarious by nature and others more independent is just one such example,” says Dominic Wright, senior lecturer at the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM), who has led the study.

To assess this, the researchers used a cross between wild and domestic chickens. The AVIAN research group at Linköping University is one of the few groups in the world with a breeding population of Red Junglefowl, the wild ancestor of the domestic fowl.

For 8,000 years, humans have selected the individuals that have desirable traits and bred them, a process known as domestication. As a result, today’s domestic fowl and the original wild fowl differ strongly in their social behaviour. For example, Red Junglefowl typically take longer to approach other birds, but spend more time with them when they do.

By crossing the domestic and the wild fowl for several generations, the researchers obtained chickens that exhibited a large range of social behaviour.

The researchers measured sociality by placing chickens in a novel environment (a large box) and observing how likely they were to seek contact with other chickens. A more social chicken approaches the others more rapidly and spends less time exploring the new surroundings. The same behaviour is also displayed by more anxious chickens.

The investigators also measured gene expression in one of several regions in the brain involved in the regulation of social behaviour, the hypothalamus. By correlating behaviour, gene expression and genetic variants, the researchers identified five genes that seem to control aspects of this behaviour.

“Although these genes had been implicated with behaviour or nervous system function previously, this is the first time they have been shown to control sociality also. We also found that several of the genes affect both sociality and anxiety in the chickens,” says Dominic Wright.

The research was supported by grants from the Carl Trygger Stiftelse, the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (FORMAS) and the European Research Council.
Published in Genetics
Chickens perform best when the barn has a certain temperature range. When temperatures get higher, the birds can experience heat stress, thus leading to fewer eggs or compromised growth. Luckily, there are some nutritional strategies a farmer can implement.

The damaging effects of heat stress on broilers and laying hens are reduced growth rates, decreased egg production and poor meat and egg quality. The burden exerted on the profitability of poultry farming will grow worldwide in the future as genetic selection for fast growth increases sensitivity to heat stress.

In addition, poultry markets of warm regions are forecasted to grow in the following decades. Strategies to alleviate the detrimental effects of heat stress on the productivity of poultry are, therefore, sound and should be based on several complementary approaches. Such approaches include housing conditions, management practices and nutritional strategies. This review focuses on the latter. | For the full story, CLICK HERE.
Published in Nutrition and Feed
USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation announce the completion of a funded research project at the University of Delaware in Newark, Del., in which researchers found that European infectious bronchitis vaccine does not protect against U.S. strains.

The research is part of the Association’s comprehensive research program encompassing all phases of poultry and egg production and processing.

Dr. Jack Gelb and colleagues recently completed a research project in which they examined the use of multiple strains of infectious bronchitis vaccines to induce protection against new infectious bronchitis variants.

They found that combinations of existing vaccines did not provide protection to the new strains. Inclusion of the European 4/91 vaccine also failed to provide significant protection against current variant strains of infectious bronchitis.

A complete report may be obtained by going to USPOULTRY’s website, www.uspoultry.org.
Published in Health
The National Breeders Roundtable brings together poultry breeder specialists and geneticists from the industry, universities and government to discuss the latest poultry breeding research developments and genetic trends.

The 67th annual National Breeders Roundtable agenda will include topics on Advanced Technologies for the Detection and Analysis of Breast Meat Affected by Novel Myopathies in Broilers; Genetic Engineering for Sustainable Food and Fiber Production - Separating the Myths from Reality; GMO/CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) in Research Populations; and more. Attendees will also have the opportunity to view the Food Evolution documentary.

Registration is now open for the National Breeders Roundtable. Sponsored by the Poultry Breeders of America and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, the conference will be held May 17 -18, at the Renaissance Airport Hotel in St. Louis, Mo.

To view the agenda, register and reserve hotel rooms, click here or visit www.uspoultry.org.
Published in News
A team of Spanish scientists report the environmental cost of egg production in a typical farm in Spain.

Egg production has increased in recent decades, and has reached a volume of 68 million tons worldwide. The main reason is that chicken eggs are not only a valuable source of protein, but also inexpensive.

Currently, about 7 million tons of eggs are produced each year in the European Union. Spain is one of the largest producers with 1,260 farms and an average of 67,700 chickens each. | READ MORE
Published in News
Iowa State University researchers have completed testing of a key component of a new concept for disposing of animal carcasses following a disease outbreak.

The research someday may help producers facing animal disease emergencies, such as in 2015 when avian influenza resulted in disposal of millions of chickens and turkeys in Iowa and other states.

Jacek Koziel, associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, said animal health emergencies occur around the globe each year due, not only to disease, but also to hurricanes, flooding, fire and blizzards. These incidents often require the disposal of numerous animal carcasses, usually accomplished via burial. In research published recently in the scientific journal Waste Management, Koziel and his team analyzed a method that could help livestock, poultry and egg producers deal more efficiently and safely with crises that lead to sudden increases in animal mortality.

Koziel and his team focused their research on improving on-farm burial, the method most commonly employed for large-scale carcass disposal due to its low cost and ability to quickly reduce the spread of airborne disease and foul odors. But emergency burial can contaminate nearby water resources with chemical and biological pollutants, and many locations in Iowa are considered unsuitable for such practices by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Buried carcasses also decay slowly, sometimes delaying use of burial sites for crop production and other uses for years, Koziel said.

To overcome these problems, the researchers studied a hybrid disposal concept conceived at the National Institute of Animal Science in South Korea following a massive outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in 2011.

The method combines burial with aerobic digestion, a method commonly used for treating sewage in which air is pumped through the content to speed decomposition.

The experiment also included burial trenches lined with flexible geomembranes like those used to prevent seepage from landfills and wastewater treatment ponds to protect water quality. The researchers then injected low levels of air into the bottom of the trench to accelerate carcass decomposition and treat the resulting liquid contaminants.

The experiment tested the performance of the aerobic component of the hybrid method in a lab using tanks containing whole chicken carcasses, water, and low levels of oxygen that occasionally dropped to zero as would be likely in emergency burial trenches.

Results of the study showed low levels of oxygen accelerated carcass decay significantly, reducing carcass mass by 95 per cent within 13 weeks, while similar tests without air produced no noticeable decay. The air and water used for the experimental method create an ideal environment for bacteria to break down the carcasses quickly, a “shark tank,” as Koziel described it.

Chemical contamination in the liquid waste met U.S. Environmental Protection Agency criteria for safe discharge to surface waters. The hybrid method also eliminated two common poultry pathogens, salmonella and staphylococcus. Aeration also reduced odorous gases sometimes associated with mass burial.

Koziel said the the encouraging laboratory results could pave the way for follow-up field studies that will include evaluation of alternative geomembrane liners, aeration system designs and components, and performance testing of the complete hybrid disposal system.

The research was supported by funding from the Korean Rural Development Administration.
Published in Bird Management
Elijah Kiarie has a strong interest in the gut health of livestock, especially poultry and swine. He’s also passionate about teaching, mentoring students and delivering research that is meaningful to farmers. That combination along with a connection to renowned University of Guelph swine researcher Dr. Kees de Lange, brought Kiarie to Guelph in January 2016 as McIntosh Family professor in poultry nutrition.
Published in Researchers
The recently updated Canadian code of practice for the care and handling of broilers includes new requirements regarding lighting. The code takes into consideration expertise from a committee of researchers and specialists, and also considers several studies out the University of Saskatchewan, conducted by poultry researchers Karen Schwean-Lardner and Henry Classen in collaboration with Aviagen. Schwean-Lardner presented her findings at a recent Poultry Industry Council broiler meeting.
Published in Broilers
With the use of antibiotics for growth and performance promotion phased out in Canadian poultry production, boosting support for overall health is critical. Indeed, overall health is closely related to gut health in chickens and turkeys – the better the gut health, the better the chances of avoiding necrotic enteritis and other diseases that can lead to poor performance and mortality.
Published in Nutrition and Feed
Nesting behaviour in laying hens is complex, and according to poultry scientists such as Dr. Michelle Hunniford of the department of animal biosciences at the University of Guelph in Ontario, there’s a lot left to discover.
Published in Layers
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