Workshop Gallus Futurus


ISA is in the process of starting up a large research project – Gallus Futurus – to develop the chicken of the future. To define what the chicken of the future should be like, ISA and the Hendrix Genetics Research and Technology Centre (RTC) organised a workshop with internal and external experts. And we have some very clear conclusions.

Market trends determine what type of chicken will be required.. Consumer demands change (e.g. animal welfare, food safety) and the production environment changes too, e.g. higher feed prices, new housing and production systems.
The present ISA breeding program has shown to deliver, but we also need to know how to adapt the breeding program to breed the chicken of the future?
ISA is preparing the project ‘Gallus Futurus’, an Industrial Partnership program sponsored by ISA (Hendrix Genetics) and STW Technology Foundation of the Netherlands.

On 19 September we organised a workshop to identify what will be the most important trends affecting the egg layer industry in the next 20 years: .
a “trend watching” workshop. Besides 8 ISA participants we invited experienced external professionals for the workshop. The group had a mix of backgrounds: form research: Wageningen University (Peter Groot Koerkamp and Thea Fiks-van Niekerk), Louis Bolk Institute (Monique Bestman); from industry: Vencomatic poultry equipment (Cor van de Ven), Kwetters egg packers (Jan van Esch), Het Anker, layer hatchery (Jan Vroegindeweij), Tom Barron Ltd. layer distribution (Stephen Turner).

The group identified 21 industry trends of which four were dominant: Increase of welfare friendly systems, longer production cycles (with and without moulting), increasing demand for food safety and human health, increasing competition on availability of feed.
The group then identified specific characteristics of the bird that should make it fit these market trends: Behaviour traits (easy to manage birds, less aggressive, no floor eggs, no smothering, no pecking, etc.) Physiological traits (disease resistance, liveability, feed efficiency, ability to handle low quality feed,
heat resistance, etc.) Anatomical traits (feather cover, bluntness of beak) and Production traits (consumer traits, manageable for egg size, early weight gain, shell quality (color, breaking strength), internal egg quality, persistence of production).

This first workshop helped us to get very clear indicators for our future breeding direction. Bird behavior and efficiency through extension of the production cycle will be key issues. The first picture of “Gallus Futurus” is there!

ISA thanks all participants for their contributions.