Hendrix Genetics, a leading company in the fields of animal genetics, is one of 20 partners working together as part of The ChickenStress European Training Network (ETN). This project has launched at World Animal Day, and will help attain the best possible welfare standards for chickens. ETN has received a €3.9 million European subsidy.
Over the course of four years, 14 international studies, under the supervision of world experts in their fields, will be conducted to learn more about factors that contribute to stress response and resilience in poultry in various environments. A number of factors will be examined, including the impact of their housing system and feed program.
Dr. Tom Smulders from Newcastle University, who is leading the project, explained: “We will study how stress affects the brain and use this knowledge to identify best practice. We don’t know, for example, how the environment in which they are reared affects how well they adapt to the free-range systems they will be housed in in adulthood. These are the kind of welfare questions we want to answer with this project.”
Each study will involve a PhD student. By working together with a range of partners and experts, this ambitious project will maximize health and welfare of the birds throughout the industry.