Animal Bytes

Incisive updates on topical themes and current research within the field of UK animal science
  • Using agricultural co-products in poultry diets to reduce the global warming potential of poultry production

    Using agricultural co-products in poultry diets to reduce the global warming potential of poultry production

    posted March 27th, 2014

    Take-home message: Partially replacing soya in poultry diets with processed animal protein or dried distillers grains with solubles has the potential to reduce the global warming potential of poultry products. Adding agricultural co-products to poultry diets has the potential to...

  • Dynamic stretching improves equine athlete performance

    Dynamic stretching improves equine athlete performance

    posted March 10th, 2014

    Take-home message: Dynamic stretching has the potential to improve performance and support rehabilitation in horses. Scientists from Writtle College, in Essex, found that stretching improves stride length, carpal angle and tarsal range of motion. However, the effects were not sustained...

  • Using EID to reduce anthelmintic resistance in hill sheep farms

    Using EID to reduce anthelmintic resistance in hill sheep farms

    posted February 22nd, 2014

    Take-home message: Targeted selective treatment for lambs is a workable approach to reducing the risk of anthelmintic resistance in hill sheep farming Mandatory electronic identification (EID) of sheep in the European Union is often seen as a burden on farmers,...

  • The effects on reproduction by feeding gilts after mating

    The effects on reproduction by feeding gilts after mating

    posted October 29th, 2013

    Take-home message: Feeding gilts ad lib. post mating has no effect on litter size at birth, but it does increase gilt infertility Ad lib. feeding after insemination does not affect litter size at birth in gilts, according to investigations on...

  • When to shear ewe lambs to ensure performance

    When to shear ewe lambs to ensure performance

    posted October 22nd, 2013

    Take-home message: Shearing ewe lambs in the autumn or winter increases lamb birth and weaning weight. Shearing ewe lambs prior to joining the flock or during the winter increases lamb birth weight and weaning weight, according to a study carried...

  • Breeding for better broiler chicken welfare

    Breeding for better broiler chicken welfare

    posted October 15th, 2013 in

    Take-home message: The conflict between good welfare and productivity can be reduced by ensuring future breeding programmes give more emphasis to welfare in conjunction with production traits, and making use of genetic variation in existing commercial breeds. Commercial broiler breeds...

  • Keep boars cool to help reduce semen abnormalities

    posted October 8th, 2013

    Take Home Message: Keep working boars cool during the summer months Breed, age and month of the year all have a role to play in boar semen abnormalities. Boar semen quality is known to change throughout the year, with the...

  • Discovering horse preference for feed

    posted September 24th, 2013

    Take Home Message: Horses preferred to consume steamed hay, compared to dry or soaked hay, when offered free-choice in a stable environment. Horses will always choose steamed hay, once tasted, over other forms of hay, according to the results of...

  • Optimising gilt performance through insemination

    posted September 3rd, 2013

    Take-home Message: Inseminate gilts on their third observed oestrus to optimise lifetime performance.  Inseminating gilts on their third observed oestrus could be key to optimising lifetime performance. 

A trial carried out by scientists in Northern Ireland found that gilts on...

  • Selenium-enriched fertiliser as a means to increasing milk selenium content

    posted August 27th, 2013 in ,

    Take-home Message: Enriching forage and cereals with selenium by fertilisation increases milk and milk-product selenium content.  Selenium-enriched forages and cereals significantly improved the selenium content of milk and milk products, according to scientists at Belgium’s University of Liege. Selenium (Se)...

  • Home-grown peas and faba beans: an acceptable alternative protein source

    posted August 20th, 2013

    Take-home Message: Replacing soya bean meal in pig rations with peas and faba beans had no adverse effect on carcass quality.  Pig producers looking to reduce their reliance on imported soya bean meal could replace it with peas and fava beans...

  • Environmental impact of replacing soya bean meal with processed animal protein in broiler diets

    posted August 13th, 2013 in , ,

    Take-home Message: Replacing soya bean meal with processed animal protein could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from broiler production by 23%.  Replacing soya bean meal (SBM) in broiler diets with processed animal protein (PAP) could potentially reduce greenhouse gas emission from...

  • Wild deer as vectors of anthelmintic resistant gastrointestinal nematodes between cattle and sheep farms

    posted August 6th, 2013 in ,

    Take-home Message: Wild deer do have the potential to transmit anthelmintic resistant gastrointestinal nematodes to cattle and sheep.  Wild deer could potentially transmit anthelmintic resistant gastrointestinal (GI) nematodes to cattle and sheep, according to scientists in Scotland and Bristol who...

  • Housing design can have a significant effect on horse behaviour

    posted July 30th, 2013 in

    Take-home message: Housing that enables contact between horses reduces stereotypic behaviour, faecal stress hormone concentration and improves ease of handling.  ‘Social’ housing is good for horse welfare, according to scientists who compared horse behaviour and welfare in four different housing...

  • Being aware of the occupational risks of livestock-associated MRSA

    posted July 23rd, 2013 in

    Take-home Message: Farm workers, abattoir workers and veterinarians should be aware of the potential occupational risks associated with livestock-associated MRSA.  Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium that can infect humans and its resistance to antibiotics makes it difficult to...

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