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Investigating cost-effective management strategies for neonatal mortality in broiler breeding stock

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  • Full or part time
    Prof D Pfeiffer
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

The threat of antimicrobial resistance has led to increasing pressure to minimise antibiotic use in poultry production. However, production of broiler breeders without antibiotics can result in marked mortality increases during the first week of rearing. In a pilot project between the RVC and Cobb, a range of interrelated factors from source flock through to placement on farm were shown to influence first week mortality (FWM).
This studentship will aim to identify risk hotspots in the whole broiler breeder supply chain in order to develop risk management tools for FWM. This will comprise firstly an analysis of routine production data and a cohort study to identify exposures with the strongest associations with FWM. A risk-scoring algorithm will then be developed and refined to characterise batches of chicks in terms of FWM risk using multi-criteria decision analysis methods. Risk management strategies that could feasibly be incorporated into the broiler breeder production chain will be trialled, and finally an economic analysis will inform decision-making regarding the implementation of future interventions.


This four-year iCASE studentship is funded jointly by the BBSRC London Interdisciplinary PhD Programme and Cobb Europe Ltd. It covers UK/EU tuition fees and an annual tax-free stipend of ca. £16,057(exact amount confirmed each year).
Applications will be considered from candidates who hold/or expect to gain a first or upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) an MSci or Masters degree from a range of disciplines such as medicine, veterinary medicine, biological sciences, animal sciences, social sciences, statistics and economics. Candidates with a lower second class degree supplemented by a Masters qualification (in a relevant subject) will also be considered.

For more information regarding the project, please contact Prof Dirk Pfeiffer - [email protected]
For more information about the programme, eligibility or the application process please contact the programme administrator.

Funding Notes

UK/EU tuition fees and an annual tax-free stipend of ca. £16,057(exact amount confirmed each year).

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