Autumn 2007 - 29th Poultry Science Symposium

1st October

Report on 29th Poultry Science SymposiumBiology of Breeding Poultry
Surgeons Hall, Edinburgh July 23-25, 2007

About 105 delegates registered for the 29th Poultry Science Symposium that was generously supported by 12 sponsors.  Included in the number were 25 from WPSA Working Group 6, Reproduction (the old IFRG) and the Symposium heralded a few days of untypical sunshine in a very wet summer.
The first day commenced with a talk by Jim McKay on the role of genetic selection in poultry improvement and this was followed by Ken Laughlin on progress in the management of breeding birds, both from Aviagen. This was followed by two talks on the current state of quantitative genetics of breeding poultry by Piter Bijma (Wageningen), the application of transgenic technologies and possibilities of for sex determination respectively by Helen Sang and Mike Clinton (Roslin Institute). Brief presentations on the 13 Submitted Abstracts, chaired by WPSA President Tom Acomovic, rounded off the afternoon with poster viewing and a wine reception.
Day two has packed with people and talks. The current state of avian endocrinology was reviewed in three presentations by Ian Dunn (Roslin), Phil Knight (Reading) and John Kirby (Arkansas). There followed an outline of mating behaviour and fertility (Duncan, Guelph), the exiting new area of sperm competition and fertilisation success (Pizzari, Oxford) and semen quality and storage (Wishart, Abertay). The session on incubation and hatching examined broodiness (Sharp, Roslin), incubation (French, BUT) and chick quality (Bruggeman, Leuvan), and the last period of the day was devoted to the environment - photoperiod (Lewis, KwaZulu –Natal), environmental enrichment (Estevez, Maryland). Finishing the session was a fascinating summary of biological knowledge on the minor poultry species by Charles Deeming (Lincoln).
The Symposium Dinner was held in the magnificent Playfair-designed main hall of the college and was rounded off by a guest presentation of Burn’s Holy Willie’s Prayer by Ian Duncan:

Image: Burn’s Holy Willie’s Prayer by Ian Duncan

Wednesday morning consisted of nutrition papers: feed restriction (Hocking, Roslin), protein (Fisher and Gous), minor nutrients (Kidd, Mississippi) and practical nutrition (Renema, Edmonton). The last session summarised vaccination (Cserp, Intervet), immune protection of the hatchling (Butter, IAH) and managing disease challenges (Collett, Georgia).
In closing the meeting, the Symposium Chairman, Paul Hocking, thanked the speakers and chairmen respectively for keeping to time and especially for the uniformly interesting presentations. He remarked that in spite of massive changes in the poultry research budgets of countries throughout the world, there was still a robust interdisciplinary research effort in areas of technology that will impact the poultry industry in the future. The symposium summarised significant scientific advances in knowledge during the latter half of the 20th century that accompanied the development of the modern poultry industry and the proceedings will represent both an important record and a signpost to the future.

P.M Hocking

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