Senior Thesis Chicken Project (help pick my topic!)

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Whittni, Jul 23, 2016.

  1. Whittni

    Whittni Overrun With Chickens

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    As some of you know, I'm getting very close to finishing my my bachelors in Agriculture (December 2017, a semester ahead of schedule). I finally have an opportunity to have some chickens on the university farm, but need a project proposal so I can apply for a grant to help purchase the flock and feed them.


    I'll be trying to get into a poultry science Masters program, so I need something impressive. I figure it'll be easier to get a grant if I focus on an endangered American Heritage Breed. I was wondering what kind of research you guys would like to read about!
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    1) Comparison of Dry, Wetted and Fermented versions of the same feed formulation.

    2) Impact of feedstuff milling on performance of confined dual purpose breed

    3) Effects of spouting grains before feeding to table-egg production flocks

    4) Use of light trap to concentrate night flying insects for brooder reared chicks / juveniles

    I am a professor of agriculture with personal interest in free-range poultry keeping and American Dominiques.
     
  3. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    The lack of poultry vets and vaccinations and wormer specifically for Chickens. With the rise in backyard flocks it should be easy to find the proper meds to give to a small flock and not only for the mass producing poultry farmers. I do not need $500 worth of vaccine for 10 hens.

    Just a thought?
     
  4. Whittni

    Whittni Overrun With Chickens

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    These all sound amazing! :D Number two is certainly do-able!


    Thanks so much for replying, I'd love to be your poultry vet, but vet school has very few scholarships...depending on how my GRE test goes, we shall see! I'd love to assist with vaccine availability to small flocks. The reason they require such large orders is due to production costs so you know.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    What do you think you will have money-wise for supplies? Will school provide pens? Do you have a breeder lined up to supply trial animals? If latter a no, then I suggest you contact the ALBC where they might be able to put you in contact with heritage poultry breeders.


    Challenge I run into when setting up such trials is getting animals of uniform quality at time other resources are ready. It is not something you do just a week or even a month before trial starts.
     
  6. Shezadandy

    Shezadandy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Developing a cost effective test to determine the sex of a chick without harming the occupant of the egg -- read somewhere that someone (wish I remembered more) worked on this and had success... which could help reduce/eliminate hatcheries disposing of day-old cockerels-- which is a very good thing, if it can be put into practice, but even better if backyard breeders could have access to such a thing.
     
  7. Whittni

    Whittni Overrun With Chickens

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    Well, today I was just offered a teaching assistantship so, I'll be pulling in $1000 or so a month. I don't think I'll have issues money wise in that aspect. I've looked at the ALBC website and someone on here said I should get birds from Papas Poultry?

    That sounds very advanced, it may be more of a post-graduate research project. Though, I support this kind of research--it is also realllly difficult to get get permission to manipulate or test embryos (Utah is an especially conservative state).
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    You will need to first determine project setup costs once problem to be tackled is decided. Birds will not be free even if given to you as their will be a shipping issue.

    If you are at federally funded school you will also need to develop and submit an Animal Care and Use Protocol unless your adviser already has one in place for a similar project. That usually takes a couple of months at least. Time is money.

    What will your dependent variables be? What is the smallest number of birds be needed to get significant differences?
     
  9. Whittni

    Whittni Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm thinking 50 birds total, so 25 on commercial mix vs 25 on an organic mash. The birds will be measured weekly to record weight and the number of eggs produced. I'll also take detailed notes on overalls feather quality and possibly add additional two roosters to each flock for better fertility rates. (Though with heiritage breeds, it may be necessary to start with smaller flocks)

    I believe my university has permits for some animal testing already. I imagine the project will cost $4000-$5000, but I still need to write an expected expense report.
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I am going to be critical.

    First you will have a repeat-ability issue when comparing what is likely to be an open formula commercial feed versus an organic formulation that may be easier to control but not necessarily reflect what industry uses the most of. Can you make both yourself from the same list of ingredients where one is based on organic foodstuffs only? That should help control for nutritional differences between diets that have little or nothing to do with how feedstuffs where produced.

    Just two flocks will get you into the classical pseudo-replication scenario. Why not multiple smaller flocks for each treatment where you can use means for each flock withing a treatment as a replicate? Then you can control for location / pen effects that might be stronger than treatment / formulation effects.

    Once you invoke feather quality I suspect you are talking about a trial that will likely go for a year. Very realistic but long. Risks are associated with longer trial duration.

    Fertility will be tough especially if breed used already has high fertility rate.

    I have to generate a new Animal Care Protocol every time a new experiment is PLANNED.
     

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