Water restriction practices in broiler breeder hens: effect on egg albumen composition
This honours project aims to determine the effects of maternal water restriction on egg development by investigating key proteins in the albumen of fertile chicken eggs which are vital for the survival and growth of the chicken embryo.
In broiler breeder production systems, feed and water restriction are common management practices implemented to maintain the reproductive performance of the birds.
While the physiological and subsequent transgenerational effects of feed restriction (considered a chronic stress) in the hens has received attention, the transgenerational effects of water restriction remains largely unexplored in poultry.
Evidence in other oviparous species suggests that maternal water restriction alters progeny behaviour, egg quality and microbial composition in-ovo, which we hypothesise may also be occurring in poultry, resulting in negative effects on egg development.
This project incorporates two current challenges to maintain sustainable poultry production; the potential to review and increase water efficiency, and, alternative strategies for intestinal microbial modulation as sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics is discontinued.
Study animal and veterinary bioscience
My research interests relate to gastrointestinal physiology and its application to provide a better understanding of gastrointestinal function and development of animals as a means to enhance life-long productivity.
I also have interests in maternal programming, particularly around nutrition and stress in breeder hens and its effect on progeny growth and performance.
If you have a particular interest in this area, you are welcome to contact me to discuss other project ideas.