By Ruby Putt
What seemed like only a few years ago that I was on the receiving end of the “Poultry Education Day” for schools, or more affectionately known as the “Chook Open Day” by the locals.
On the 10th of November 2023, The University of Sydney held the egg-citing open day once again whereby students across all parts of NSW local and further way were invited into the world of poultry. On this day, the Poultry Research Foundation (PRF) was able to showcase what goes into one of the largest contributors to the Australian food basket, consumable poultry products they may interact with daily.
We expressed the importance of poultry research and introduced them to the PRF with introductions and opportunities for open discussions with members of our team, fellow postgraduate students Carria Xie and Jojo Wang as well as postdoctoral scientist, Dr Shemil Macelline under the skilful guidance of other senior students and research staff. Although initially nervous, all of us agreed by the end of the day that it was a very enriching experience, for ourselves and the students. The feedback from the school students and their teachers was very positive.
Across all sessions, students were genuinely engaged in our topics and activities around poultry. The students were able to estimate and weigh fresh eggs and physical bird models which replicated an 18-week-old laying hen and a broiler chicken. They ordered egg puzzles that illustrated the formation of chicken embryos over the 21-day incubation cycle. These activities were made to be light-hearted and fun, however, many students took them very seriously with a hint of competitiveness. But with all the fun aside throughout the sessions, questions from students demonstrated that having deep interest and passion in what we do as growing researchers in poultry science is not only exciting but infectious to the next generation of agricultural students who will be interested in poultry production and science.
As many of us already know, the poultry industry is a fantastic collaborative body for knowledge and is a key plank of Australia’s food security in the future. So it was great to see similar excitement growing amongst students as the future poultry researchers. We were thrilled to be able to showcase some of the foundational knowledge of poultry nutrition and other aspects of poultry research. We are hopeful that we have motivated a new generation of poultry researchers, just as I was attracted to do a PhD in poultry science.
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