- Author: Margaret Gullette Lloyd
Recently hired UCCE poultry specialist, Richard Blatchford, is very interested in the integrated poultry systems that are occurring in our area. The following are two projects for which he is looking for interested producers. Please contact him (firstname.lastname@example.org) or me if you are interested.
1. Predation Monitoring
I am writing a grant proposal with a human-wildlife conflict specialist here at UCD. We want to try and address some of the predation challenges faced by pasture producers. This is a pilot study, and at this point we are just looking to monitor and identify animals that may be a predation threat. This would be a minimally invasive study, we would set up motion cameras, maybe do some print tracking, and someone would come and spot raptors. We would come out 4 x in a year (once each season) and monitor for about 2 weeks at each visit. Our ultimate hope is to get some funding after this and try out some ways to reduce predation based on the types of predators at each location. We are looking for producers who would like to participate.
2. Welfare Quality Assessments of hen physical condition
I have been conducting on farm assessments of hen physical condition at a variety of laying hen housing types, and am finding that housing does seem to have an effect on the physical condition of hens. Unfortunately, we don't have any data on pasture systems at this time. I have noticed from being on farms, that there is some variation across farms. I would like to capture that variation, and see how the physical condition of hens compares to other types of housing. For this study, I would come out three times over a flock cycle (at peak, mid, and end of lay) and assess the physical condition of the hens using the Welfare Quality Assessment protocol for poultry. I will catch the hens and assess them (number depending on the size of the flock), this would take half a day to a whole day at each visit. I would be happy to teach producers how to do the assessment if wanted, and help figure out ways to solve any issues that may come up.
As with any study done here at UCD, all farm identification information is kept completely confidential, and any records are coded for farms (Farm A, Farm B, etc.).