22 May 1998


uCHICKENS could help solve brittle bone disease – osteoporosis – in women. Researchers at Edinburghs Roslin Institute are looking at why laying hens, and not necessarily the most prolific layers, suffer from the disease. The scientists stress that as productivity makes little difference to whether a hen suffers, genetics might play a part. The MAFF-funded project aims to find out how the disease affects hens, identify potential short-term fixes and look at why some hens are more susceptible than others.

uALL pig and poultry units, feed mills and processing factories run by Grampian Country Food Group are to be assessed for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points. This will identify where hazards could occur and will look at controlling these points to minimise risk, being proactive rather than reactive, said company quality assurance manager Sheila Gray.

uSCIENTISTS at Edinburghs Roslin Institute are trying to understand what it is like to be a hen. The Institutes cognition programme is studying how chickens perceive their environment; would they rather be hot or cold, in a battery unit or free range? But researchers warn that it may be difficult to standardise perceptions, as, like humans, hens vary in likes and dislikes.

uAMMONIA may cause malaise such as headaches and nausea in pigs, according to scientists at Silsoe Research Institute. They found that pigs became averse to being exposed to ammonia after 40 minutes, at levels which are often recorded in commercial piggeries. New work is to look at the effect of ammonia on point-of-lay hens.

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