THE Michigan State University College of Agriculture & Natural Resources (CANR) recently opened its new Laying Hen Poultry Research facility. The facility -- the only one of its kind in the country -- features more than 17,500 sq. ft. of space and houses nearly 7,000 birds.
"This is a very exciting day for our students, faculty and staff," Janice Swanson, chair of the university's department of animal science, said on the facility's opening.
The facility will be the base for research projects involving poultry housing, said Darrin Karcher, poultry outreach specialist who will oversee the facility. The first study will help the industry address the issue of how much space a bird needs by examining the new system of enriched colony cages.
"This facility has the potential to attract researchers, provide student employment and allow new opportunities within the industry," Karcher said. "Students will have real-life experiences with alternative hen housing."
"The opening of the facility gives (Michigan State) the opportunity to formalize partnerships with colleges and universities across the country," Doug Buhler, interim CANR dean, said. "It will also help us attract some of the best laying hen researchers in the country.
"We look forward to enhancing our relationship with the industry through the work done at this facility," Buhler added, noting that 83% of funding for the facility came from the egg-laying industry.
"Research is essential to determining the most efficacious type of housing to replace current laying hen housing in Michigan and around the country," Karcher said. "A facility like this is just the beginning. We have established the brick and mortar so that the real work can begin."