Researcher in focus
Since 2010 I have been working in poultry research at the Experimental Poultry Centre (EPC) in Belgium. At the EPC, we focus primarily on finding practical solutions for farmers. We have our own semi-commercial facilities for 30.000 laying hens (in 12 compartments) and 42.000 broilers (in 16 compartments). In 2014 the federal government asked the EPC and ILVO (Flemish Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries research) to investigate and solve welfare problems related to hens kept in aviaries. We had no idea of the severity of keel bone problems in commercial farms, wo we monitored keel bone deformities in 50 aviaries in Belgium when the hens were sixty weeks of age (ILVO) and in 14 aviaries at 19, 25, 35, 60, 75 weeks of age and in the slaughterhouse. The high prevalence of keel bone deformities found in this project resulted in increased awareness for the Belgian industry and government and keel bone damage was established as a major threat to welfare.
– Current work with Keel Bone Damage –
We are currently searching for management solutions at the farmer level. In our next laying hen production cycle (September 2018), we want to see if a combination of adapted lightning schemes during the pullet phase and providing split feeding in the laying phase (with a difference in calcium content) will reduce the occurrence of keel bone deformities. This research will be conducted at the EPC. I’m active in the KBD Cost action as replacement leader of SG5 (Dissemination and Exploitation). I’m also co-organizing a meeting for stakeholders in Zagreb in March 2018. The goal of the meeting is to create output materials for producers and the laying hen industry, providing them with solutions to reduce keel bone problems.
Outside of work… I like travelling, mountain biking, being a foodie and discovering the world again with my 2 year old son.