Research Highlights

To date, Canadian Poultry Research Council (CPRC) has co-funded over 60 research projects in addition to the 19 projects under the current cluster.

Below are a few highlights of the research results thus far in the priority areas identified in the National Research Strategy.

Economic Viability

Rearing antibiotic free birds results in an increased risk of pathogen contamination with an increased risk in the development of necrotic enteritis, which is known to be caused by Clostridium perfringens bacterium. Professor Martine Boulianne, the Poultry Research Chair, from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Montreal conducted a large scale commercial study in which the incidence of development of necrotic enteritis was monitored in broiler flocks raised free of antibiotics. This on-farm broiler trial showed that cost increased 10 cents per kilogram of chicken produced for antibiotic free birds compared to conventionally raised chickens.

(Source: Canadian Poultry Magazine, May 2017)


Dr. Carl Lessard, an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada researcher located at University of Saskatchewan and Curator of the Canadian Animal Genetic Resources program, is conducting research on conservation and regeneration of chicken and turkey breeds using adult gonadal tissue. CPRC has funded a series of projects to examine the potential for cryopreservation of poultry genetic material and this project carries that research program forward.

(Source: Canadian Poultry Magazine, March 2015)

Food Safety

Probiotics are live organisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host through improvements to the intestinal microbial balance. In poultry production, interest in probiotics stems from their use as alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters and also as a strategy for control of intestinal colonization with enteric microbes that cause food-borne illness in humans, e.g. Salmonella. Dr. Shayan Sharif and his research team from the University of Guelph have developed a defined probiotic formulation containing several Lactobacilli with the ability to enhance immune responses and reduce Salmonella burden in chickens. The long-term objective of this research is to develop cost-effective probiotic formulations for chickens that can enhance production, reduce colonization of food-borne pathogens and enhance immune competence.

(Source: Canadian Poultry Magazine, February-March 2016)

Animal Health Products

CPRC has recently funded a project that will investigate an innate immune-based method of disease protection as an alternative strategy to antimicrobial use. Professor Susantha Gomis, from the University of Saskatchewan has studied the effects of a pattern characteristic of bacterial DNA, known as CPG-motifs to induce or activate the innate immunity. Research has shown that synthetically generated CPG-motifs or ‘CpG-ODN’ as an immune system stimulant is capable of protecting neonatal chickens against specific bacterial infections. Dr. Gomis’s current research will develop an effective method of intra-nasal delivery of CpG-ODN at hatch. The research approach will be to initially develop a CpG-ODN delivery prototype for intranasal delivery of the CpG-ODN to neonatal chicks followed by field efficacy and safety trials.

(Source: Canadian Poultry Magazine, October 2016)

Poultry Health

Reproduction in broilers breeders is impeded unless their growth is constrained, however, dominant birds tend to eat more and become overweight while subordinate birds remain below target weight and poor flock weight uniformity may result in low reproductive success. A Precision Broiler Breeder Feeding System (PBBFS) has been developed by Dr. Martin Zuidhof from the University of Alberta. The PBBFS is a feed restriction system that allocates feed to individual birds based on their body weight in real time. Validation studies show that implementation of the PBBFS is capable of meeting birds target body weight profiles and obtaining increased flock uniformity, producing flocks that will respond uniformly to photostimulation, a management strategy used to initiate reproduction.

(Source: Canadian Poultry Magazine, April 2017)

Poultry Welfare

Dr. Suresh Neethirajan, University of Guelph, is developing rapid diagnostic tools for use at the point of care, such as within the poultry barn, to identify disease outbreaks without the delay required for laboratory analysis. This technology would improve poultry welfare by decreasing the time to treatment and decreasing infection spread within a flock.

(Source: Canadian Poultry Magazine, July 2017)


Dr. Bill Van Heyst and his team from the University of Guelph’s School of Engineering conducted a study to determine some of the impacts poultry production has on our environment. The study investigated the indoor concentrations and emissions to the atmosphere of a variety of air contaminants from different poultry production systems. Measurements included air emissions from poultry housing and litter storage facilities, ammonia emissions from land application of litter and an assessment of nitrogen loss via emissions from deadstock composting. The overall objective of this project was to provide a sound scientific knowledge base regarding actual agricultural air emissions from the poultry sector.

(Source: Canadian Poultry Magazine, October 2015)

Functional and Innovative Products

Vaccines are used with great success to protect poultry from a range of diseases, many are not without their drawbacks. Vaccines based on live virus, for example, can sometimes cause symptoms of the disease they are designed to prevent. Killed vaccines are generally safer, but are often less effective. Dr. Eva Nagy’s team at the University of Guelph is developing vaccine delivery systems that exploit a virus’ natural ability to deliver genetic information into biological cells. Specifically, the researchers are working with a strain of fowl adenovirus (FAdV-9; a strain that does not cause disease in poultry). Dr. Nagy’s team and the University have been busy refining the technology and working with Avimex Animal Health to bring it to commercial application.

(Source: Canadian Poultry Magazine, May 2014)

Poultry Feedstuffs

Yeast-based products can help chickens mount a faster, stronger immune response to disease challenge and may offset the need for traditional antimicrobials used in poultry production. That’s the finding of a new study coming out of the University of Manitoba. Dr. Bogdan Slominski is head of a long-standing research program at the University looking at the animal health effects of novel feed ingredients and enzyme technologies. In the current study, he and his team analyzed corn/wheat distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and a number of yeast-based products and tested several for their ability to promote the health of broiler chickens.

(Source: Canadian Poultry Magazine, October 2014)