College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Animal & Avian Sciences

Dr. Tom Porter Awarded a $500K grant from National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Dr. Tom Porter has been awarded a five hundred thousand dollar grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture for his grant proposal titled "Mitigation of heat stress in broiler chickens through early-life thermal conditioning."
Heat stress in chickens can occur in the summer, when temperatures often exceed 95°F in the regions of the United States where most broiler chickens are raised. Notable effects of heat stress on broiler production include increased death of chickens in the flock and reduced feed intake and growth by the birds that survive. In addition to the financial costs, heat stress in commercial poultry operations represents a serious issue of animal well-being. Thermal conditioning using temporarily elevated brooding temperatures during early development imparts long-term resistance to heat stress in broiler chickens, so that they can survive and grow at higher temperatures during a heat wave. However, the underlying mechanisms of early-life thermal conditioning are unknown. In this project, Dr. Porter and his colleagues in the Department of Animal and Avian Sciences and at North Carolina State University will perform a comprehensive physiological analysis of the effects of heat stress, with and without prior thermal conditioning, across multiple tissues that are likely to play a role in the bird’s metabolic and stress responses to heat stress. This project will provide new information on body temperature regulation required to develop future strategies for improving the well-being of poultry, while sustaining or improving broiler meat production during summer heat waves.
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