MSc/PhD position on "On-farm edible enrichment studies to reduce injurious pecking in pullets and laying hens”
Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare, University of Guelph
Eggs have the lowest environmental impact of any animal protein. Therefore, protecting the health and welfare of birds kept for egg-laying has a high priority. One of the challenges for farmers keeping egg-laying hens is the occurrence of injurious pecking, where bird-to-bird pecking damages the integument of other birds, even in scenarios where birds have outdoor access. This project will examine the effectiveness of commercially available edible enrichment to enhance foraging and, thereby, reduce injurious pecking in pullets and laying hens in non-cage housing. The proposed field studies investigate birds' motivation to interact with edible enrichment, which location(s) is/are most feasible within the system, and quantify effects on injurious pecking/integument damage in pullets/laying hens, and production outcomes throughout lay. We are looking for highly motivated PhD (3-4 years) and MSc (1-2 years) students starting September 2023 (could be January 2024 for the right candidate).