Red Lea Chickens supporting education and research

Mr Tugrul Durali, Senior Broiler Manager for Red Lea Chickens, who is also a Poultry CRC supported PhD candidate, guided 18 fourth year students on a field trip to Red Lea farms. The students, studying Animal and Veterinary Bioscience at The University of Sydney, were accompanied by their supervisor Dr. Jeff Downing. The field trip focused on the mechanics of broiler production.

The first of the two farms, both situated in the Silverdale area to the west of Sydney, introduced the students to a flock of five day-old broilers. Management of the four semi-computer controlled sheds (heaters, fans and shutters) each containing 34,000 birds was discussed in detail with farm owner Mr Joe Vella.

Students quizzed Tugrul on topics such as Biosecurity measures, the clean-out and disinfection process, air quality, temperature and humidity requirements for broilers, and brooding management. “The importance of feeder/drinker management was also discussed, along with flock health management, including vaccination programs and control measures for SalmonellaCampylobacter and Coccidiosis” said Tugrul. “The effects of breeder flocks and hatchery on day-old chick quality were other important subjects we talked about”.

The second farm site contained four conventional and four tunnel ventilated sheds. Birds here were 35-37 days old. “We have Corn Fed Chicken production on this farm, and Red Lea is the only Corn Fed Chicken producer in NSW” added Tugrul. Here Tugrul and farm owner Mr Peter Apap explained the computer system in tunnel ventilated sheds. “Students were impressed with the brand new tunnel ventilated sheds, and this helps them understand some of the technology and R&D behind chicken production” said Tugrul. The group then talked more about nutrition, air quality and litter management with older broilers. Nutrition specification and requirements for different age birds was another hot topic discussed at this site.

The students, as part of their ongoing assessment, were required to provide a summary of the farm operations and management. “The unit the students are taking in ‘Intensive Animal Industries’ covers both Pig and Poultry Production” Dr Downing said. “There was a good deal of questions directed to Tugrul and the producers, and the students came away with a good understanding of industry and commercial broiler production which was evidenced by the level of detail in some of the subsequent reports submitted”. Tugrul concurred, “it was a really interested group, and students asked a lot of good questions. It was a pleasure to be part of this visit for me and our contractor broiler growers and, as a partner of Poultry CRC, Red Lea Chickens always open for any contribution that we can make to education and research, or the promotion of our industry”. I always believe this sort of experience open students’ eyes and can have a big impact on their career decisions later on; at least it did to me when I was young”.

Students meet five day old broiler chicks
Students with broilers

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