New poultry research centre opened at Nottingham Trent University

A new designated poultry research centre geared towards improving the nutrition, welfare and sustainability of birds has opened at Nottingham Trent University. 

The purpose-built single-storey facility – believed to be one of only a handful in Europe – has replaced a smaller unit housed in a Victorian farmyard and will investigate ways to use feed and nutrition as a tool to improve welfare. 

Comprising two pen rooms with biological sampling areas, a bespoke laboratory, feed manufacture room and storage sections, as well as office space, the site will also investigate ways to increase the environmental and economic sustainability of poultry production. 

Previous research conducted by the university identified how ‘super-dosing poultry diets’ with the enzyme phytase could result in huge savings to the poultry industry. 

Its researchers also discovered that chickens could be the unexpected beneficiaries of the growing biofuels industry – feeding on proteins retrieved from the fermenters used to brew bioethanol – while the team recently found that specially-bred wheat could help provide some of the key nutrients essential for healthy bones in poultry, reducing the need to supplement feed.

“We provide a vital platform for both industry technologists and scientists to explore the interplay between nutrition, welfare and sustainability of poultry production,” said Dr Emily Burton, the unit’s head.

“This important new facility, with its increased capacity, will allow us to enhance our research event further, for the benefit of global industry impact. We will be able to undertake more collaborations, such as with developing countries where our research could allow families to improve their efficiency of poultry rearing.”

The redesigned unit, which falls under the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences, forms part of the multimillion pound redevelopment of the Brackenhurst Campus.

Last month a report from agricultural insurance provider Lycetts showed that poultry was the most farmed livestock in Britain. 

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