In the absence of subsidy, the EU poultry sector relies on highly efficient production systems, with successful companies often using sophisticated technologies. This is reflected in the integrated structure of most poultry companies and the number of graduates and postgraduates employed by them.
Many companies have responded to the pressure on financial margins by setting up operations world wide. There continues to be a good demand for suitably trained graduate and postgraduate level entrants into the sector.
The skills and knowledge delivered by the Applied Poultry Science programme are highly relevant to companies using intensive methods of production and those responding to retailer demand for extensive systems. This enables both new entrants and existing employees wishing to build on their expertise and aspirations, to enhance their career opportunities within the poultry sector.
The Applied Poultry Science course is offered on a part-time distance learning basis.
It is designed to suit those in continuing employment or with other commitments. Participants come from a wide range of backgrounds, including nutritionists, breeders, vets and other poultry sector workers, all of whom wish to develop their career and businesses.
Specific course objectives are to provide graduates with:
- A sound knowledge of the underlying science of poultry production.
- A good understanding of the issues underpinning poultry production systems.
- A wide range of specialist skills appropriate to poultry science professionals.
- The ability to critically evaluate developments in poultry science, including nutritional, genetic,
- Welfare, quality assurance and environmental issues.
- The ability to produce professional level recommendations and reports.
- Research skills.
The MSc Applied Poultry Science degree is awarded by the University of Glasgow.
The programme is a mix of technical, scientific, environmental and management skills development modules. It is taught largely by staff from the SRUC Avian Science Research Centre who are involved in poultry research studies on a daily basis and who aim to provide up to the minute, highly relevant knowledge transfer into the Applied Poultry Science programme.
The Avian Science Research Centre has a full range of facilities for those wishing to study or carry out research with SRUC ranging from a hatchery to a processing plant and a good range of different poultry production systems.
Poultry Production Systems
This module studies the poultry meat and poultry egg industry in terms of its structure and sectors including intensive and non-intensive systems. It includes global export and import markets for the major poultry meat and egg products and evaluates their quality assurance systems. It will examine the requirements for optimal performance within the various systems and investigate factors affecting performance.
Poultry Nutrition and Growth
Poultry nutrition and growth examines the principles of poultry nutrition, particularly the importance of different nutrients in terms of growth and production and how they are processed in the avian body. It includes a study of the major anatomical and physiological systems in poultry and describes the role of nutrition in poultry health in different production environments, with particular regard to nutrient deficiencies. The partitioning of energy and nutrients into the growth and development of the whole body and different components of the body will also be examined, as will methods of describing different growth patterns.
Incubation and Hatchery Practice
This module develops knowledge and an understanding of the science and technology that underpins the production of day-old stock. Students study embryo-genesis in poultry and how this is exploited by the poultry sector to maximise the production of viable hatchlings. At the conclusion of the module students will be able to critically evaluate poultry hatchery practices, where appropriate, from an international prospective.
Housing and the Environment
Large scale poultry production seeks to manage the birds’ environment to optimise the competing demands of welfare, productivity, quality and environmental protection in an economically viable way. Recognising the impacts of different housing alternatives, the relationship to environmental emissions, and the sustainability of systems are therefore essential skills for those engaged in the industry that this module addresses. The approach will initially be one of directed study in order that the full range of issues are covered; but later in the module, students will be asked to do a case study on a real poultry enterprise with the coursework being centred on the completion of the IPPC application form for an intensive poultry enterprise. Even though some students may not be familiar with large scale poultry enterprises, the structured approach required to carry out the IPPC assessment process, and the wealth of information available in the relevant technical document will give a sound basis for understanding the range of housing and environmental issues involved.
Poultry Behaviour and Welfare
This module explains the general principles of poultry behaviour and welfare and studies sensory perception, motivation and learning in poultry. It evaluates the behavioural and physiological indicators that are used to assess welfare in given circumstances. It examines current practice with respect to welfare and current welfare legislation.
Poultry Health and Hygiene
A range of different infectious and non-infectious diseases will be covered in depth, mostly affecting chickens and turkeys but with specific sessions on diseases of game birds and diseases of pigeons. The importance of notifiable diseases such as Newcastle Disease and highly pathogenic avian influenza will be emphasised, and the significance of other potentially zoonotic organisms such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, Chlamydophila Psittaci and West Nile Virus will be discussed.
Advanced Poultry Nutrition
Advanced poultry nutrition builds on the poultry nutrition and growth module and examines theoretical and practical poultry nutrition in greater depth. It links current nutritional theories, (eg. amino acid balance and requirements or the anti-nutrient and toxic properties of feedstuffs) with methods of alleviation. These are integrated with classical nutrition-balance studies and proximate analyses, exposing students to all aspects of a nutritional study. It also involves a detailed study of nutrition with respect to bird growth and health and the environmental constraints imposed on the system.
This module aims to develop statistical skills to aid the technical, scientific and management decisions. It explores a range of statistical processes from the collection of data and its interpretation to the production of information charts, diagrams and tables and the analysis of data looking at differences, significance and trends.
With the labour market becoming more competitive there is a real need for today's graduates to develop skills beyond academic knowledge in order to thrive. This module introduces various management skills which include communication, teamworking, leadership, time management, decision-making, empowerment and motivation. It aims therefore to improve the student’s knowledge and ability to manage. A range of practical methods and approaches will be used to enable the students to better organise and motivate themselves and others.
The study weekends and short study tour are an integral part of teaching delivery and students are strongly recommended to attend these if they are to succeed in this course.