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Providing specialist training across the entire agrifood supply chain

University of Nottingham
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Poultry Health


Who is this course for?

This course is for veterinary surgeons, technical staff and managers from the poultry industry who wish to learn more about the nature, diagnosis and control of infectious diseases of poultry. The course is also suitable for non-specialist graduates who wish to gain a thorough knowledge of the poultry sector while working towards the postgraduate awards in Agrifood. The course will reflect developments in poultry health and the changing areas of veterinary and technical expertise within it.

This course is a continuation of the Pirbright Institute’s renowned Poultry Health Course which ran for many years at Compton, and is now run jointly by University of Nottingham and Pirbright via the AgriFood ATP.

This course is be studied either via face-to-face teaching, or via the distance-learning option.

Full details are available on the dedicated Poultry Health Course microsite.

Residential Course 2016: Accommodation and Transport

Delegates may wish to stay at the following hotels for the residential course:

For Pirbright (Week 1):

For Sutton Bonington (Week 2):

We will arrange transport from Woking to Pirbright each day, and from Kegworth to Sutton Bonington each day. We will also arrange minibus transport from Pirbright to Sutton Bonington on the Sunday evening of the mid-course weekend for those who wish to use it. For those wanting to use our arranged transport from Pirbright to Sutton Bonington, the last night for your booking in your Woking hotel should therefore be Saturday 9th April, and the first night of your booking at Kegworth should be Sunday 10th April.

For international delegates, the nearest airports to Pirbright are Heathrow and Gatwick, and the nearest airports to Sutton Bonington are East Midlands and Birmingham International. Note that due to the different locations of Week 1 and Week 2, delegates may wish to fly into one airport and out from the another for convenience.

Delegates will need to arrange their own transport to and from any airports.


Key Facts File

Qualification: Poultry Health (Short Course)
Type/Duration: Module - 10 days residential, or online over 9 months - The module can be taken as a stand-alone training course and can also contribute towards the Postgraduate Awards  in Agrifood on successful completion of the examination.

The residential version runs in Spring each year, and the online version will run from September until June of the following year. Students on both study paths can choose to sit an examination in summer each year at the University of Nottingham Sutton Bonington Campus. Students who are not resident in the UK can request to sit the examination overseas at a number of British Council offices.

For the 2016 residential course, 4-8th April will be held at Pirbright and 11-15th April will be held at Sutton Bonington campus (see addresses below).
Entry Requirements: Graduate level or suitable experience within the animal production industry.
Credits: 20 credits.
Cost: The registration options are as follows:
(a) The full course with accredited examination (£2,200).
(b) The full course without examination (£1,700).
(c) Per day - residential version only (£400) - Download the programme (right) for a full list of the topics taught on each day.

All registration fees include lunch and beverages (residential accommodation and evening meals are additional), however up to 100% of thefunding for the tuition fee could be made available to you through the AgriFood Advanced Training Partnership. 
Campus: For the residential version:
Week 1: The Pirbright Institute, Pirbright Laboratory, Ash Road, Pirbright, Surrey, GU24 0NF
Week 2: Sutton Bonington Campus, University of Nottingham, Leicestershire, LE12 6SX

  • Course Information
  • Skills and Career
  • Course Lecturers

Areas covered will include:

Major and emerging viral pathogens of poultry: Adenoviruses, astroviruses, avian influenza virus, avian rhinotracheitis virus, avian leukosis virus, chick anaemia virus, circoviruses, encephalomyelitis virus, fowl pox virus, infectious bronchitis virus, infectious bursal disease virus, infectious laryngotracheitis virus, Marek’s disease virus, Newcastle disease virus, reovirus.

Major bacterial, protozoan and fungal pathogens of poultry: Campylobacter, Clostridium, Eimeria, E. coli, Histomonas, Mycoplasma, Salmonella, protozoan and fungal infections.

Poultry production: Structure and organisation of the poultry industry, principles of production, health and other issues relating to the production of broilers, egg-laying flocks, turkeys, ducks and game birds, feed issues.

Biosecurity and field investigations: Principles and practice of biosecurity, methods and analysis of field investigations, notifiable disease control.

Laboratory approaches to disease control in poultry: Laboratory diagnosis by virus isolation, serological methods, and molecular approaches including PCR.

Medication and vaccination: Poultry pharmaceuticals, vaccine production, vaccine administration, autogenous vaccines, the poultry immune system, and breeding for resistance to disease.

Practical day (residential version only): Hosted by the University of Nottingham and Minster Veterinary Practice, this day will include gross post mortem examination and sample collection, demonstrations of virus isolation, electron microscopy and serological testing, discussion on tissue submission quality, analysis interpretation and reporting of results, basics of avian microbiology, isolation and identification of common bacterial poultry pathogens.

The skills and knowledge delivered in this programme are highly relevant to technical staff, veterinarians and managers employed in the poultry sector who wish to build on their expertise and enhance their career opportunities within the industry. It is also suitable for non-specialist graduates or new entrants who wish to gain a thorough knowledge of the poultry sector while working towards the postgraduate awards in Agrifood.

On successful completion of this module delegates will be able to:

  1. Evaluate the risks and impact of outbreaks of zoonotic and foodborne diseases in live birds and poultry products.
  2. Appraise the main methods currently used to contain and/or control major and emerging poultry diseases and implications, with reference to vaccination, chemotherapy and biosecurity.
  3. Assess the impact of molecular and cellular biology on veterinary diagnostics in the poultry sector.

The course is delivered by expert lecturers from the United Kingdom and Europe. Lecturers include academics engaged in active research into poultry health and disease, and expert poultry veterinarians:

  • Susan Baigent (The Pirbright Institute)
  • Paul Barrow (University of Nottingham)
  • Damer Blake (Royal Veterinary College)
  • Janet Bradbury (University of Liverpool)
  • Ian Brown (Animal and Plant Health Agency)
  • Peter Cargill (Wyatt Poultry Veterinary Services)
  • Vanessa Ceeraz (Animal and Plant Health Agency)
  • Michael Clark (Minster Veterinary Practice)
  • Jane Cook (Huntingdon)
  • Mark Fife (The Pirbright Institute)
  • Kannan Ganapathy (University of Liverpool)
  • Grant Hayes (Slatehall Veterinary Practice)
  • Mike Jones (University of Nottingham)
  • Richard Jones (University of Liverpool)
  • Paul McMullin (Poultry Health Services)
  • Venugopal Nair (The Pirbright Institute)
  • David Parsons (Veterinary Consultant)
  • Adrian Smith (University of Oxford)
  • Victoria Smyth (Agri-Food Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland)
  • Mark Stevens (Roslin Institute)
  • Barry Thorp (St. Davids Poultry Team)
  • Tim Wallis (Ridgeway Biologicals)
  • Keith Warner (Minster Veterinary Practice)
  • Paul Wigley (University of Liverpool)

Occassionally the final list of speakers may vary slightly from the list shown above.


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