More than 30 poultry executives from 23 different countries attended the most recent Aviagen production management school in Edinburgh, focusing on breeder management.

This was the fourth such training session the poultry genetics company has run, emulating the Aviagen school that has been running in the USA for half a century.

“Setting up a European school has been done in response to customer demand, as well as internal recognition of the need for more formal training,” explained regional director Alan Thomson, who has been a driving force behind the concept.

But rather than imitating the month-long block approach in the USA, the European model is broken down into three distinct week-long modules covering breeding, hatching and broiler management.

The courses are also held in different cities, to ensure customers from around Europe, the Middle East and Asia get a chance to attend. All courses, which carry a £1,300 price tag, have been oversubscribed.

The most recent “breeder module” used an experimental format, with the participants split into six smaller groups. They then spent the week analysing a failing (but hypothetical) breeder company, Gallus Alba.

With the help of school tutors, they analysed the physical performance and financial failings of the business, and then devised strategies for recovery, which were presented, Dragon’s Den-style, to a panel at the end of the week.

The winning team, which included UK delegates Clare Hook from PD Hook and Matthew Godfrey from Faccenda, saw physical changes to reduce mortality as a key part of turning the company around.

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