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Breeding better chickens website launched

Breeding better chickens website launched - 8 March 2013. Thinkstock

A BBSRC-funded research group working to improve the health of the world's huge population of broiler chickens has created a new website to share their work.

Scientists at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) and The University of Manchester designed  www.thechickenofthefuture.com to tell scientific and general audiences about their research to better understand the health and anatomy of the 30Bn broiler chickens that are bred for human consumption each year.

Having gone live on March 19 2013, the team plans to keep the site updated with their latest work and encourage feedback and interaction with readers. It is also planned to make the site a resource for information and images under a creative commons licence.

Dr Jonathan Codd, senior lecturer in integrative vertebrate biology at Manchester University, said: "The idea is to use it as a vehicle to get the results and reasons behind our research out to not just the scientific community but also the general public.

"We are going to use it to provide summaries of the research being conducted, who funded the work, publications will also be provided as well as copies of conference talks, press releases and details of media exposure."

Up to 30% of broiler chickens develop lameness or heart and lung problems, linked to the rapid growth rate of the chickens which has been selectively bred for.

John Hutchinson, professor of evolutionary biomechanics at RVC, said: "We haven't yet disseminated the site in an aggressive way, but feedback via social media and colleagues' comments has been good and 100% positive. It is hard to let the entire community know about the website so we're super keen to let the world know what we're doing, any way we can!

"We're excited to try to find new ways to interact with our huge and diverse target audience."

ENDS